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Restlessness (Sequel to Pointless Yet Comforting)
damien listening guitar
Title: Restlessness
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)
Author: rogoblue
Summary: It’s still the thoughtpocalypse and Adelle senses there’s a problem with the status quo and seeks to understand and solve it. Sequel to Pointless Yet Comforting. Link to part one is below. Link to part two is below the dedication.
Spoilers: Season 1 a tiny bit and 2 a little bit through episode 12. Set probably right around the time of Epitaph 2 events (whatever they might be).
Words: 2,750
Disclaimers: The toys are Joss Whedon’s. The idea is mine.
Dedication: To otahyoni who wrote— “I want to know more! I want to know what they're doing and what Dominic's been up to and where Topher is on the sanity scale and why Priya and Dominic are all tight and and and - all of it! I want to know this world you've created!” To this, all I can say is—I think I’ve covered everything.

I know something is wrong. He isn’t talking about it, but that isn’t unusual. He doesn’t talk much these days. When he joined us, I admit I imagined leisurely conversations in bed, especially in the morning. My duties in assisting Topher with his efforts to mimic Echo’s spinal fluid chemistry using ones and zeros are light in the extreme. In this secure location, in this time of waiting for Topher to use the equipment and facilities we’d painstakingly put together over the years, guard duty is his only true responsibility, although he certainly views his work outs as sacrosanct.

This morning, I decide to take action. “Laurence,” I say, unable to think of him as Lionel. Fortunately, he doesn’t demand I use his proper name. Wondering if an oblique approach might serve, I table my question of “What’s wrong?” in favor of another. “How did you manage to charm Priya?” He turns his head toward me. I turn my entire body toward him. Stroking his cheek, I shift closer, so we’re sharing the same pillow. “You complimented her cooking at dinner yesterday and she blushed like a schoolgirl. And that’s only the latest example. Do I have competition?” He shakes his head. Taciturn can be taken too far. “Prove it,” I whisper. Instead of Laurence Dominic’s trademark smirk or sly half smile, I get a sad one. I barely resist asking, “What’s wrong?” Barely. “I’m waiting,” I say, kissing him on the nose, a gesture he detests.

His kiss is rough, hard, angry, borderline violent. I’m not adverse to such tactics, but I surely didn’t expect them. “I don’t have anything to prove to you,” he snarls.

“Of course not,” I say, wondering whether we’re talking about Priya, me or something else entirely. “I’m merely curious.” Kissing him lightly on the mouth, I whisper, “I’m starved for conversation not involving neuroscience or nonsense verse.”

“I’m sorry,” he mumbles, looking impossibly boyish, if I ignore the haunted eyes. He sits up abruptly, reaching down to the floor for the shirt he wore yesterday. Movements lacking his usual controlled grace, he pulls it over his head.

I sense him somehow slipping from me and I panic. Rising from bed on my side, I walk around and climb onto his lap before he can don the rest of his clothes. “Don’t be sorry,” I whisper, trying to decide whether to caress the base of his throat to distract him. “Talk to me.”

“I should go back,” he says with an intensity I’ve not heard from him in weeks. “To … to LA. I made a difference there. Here I …” He sighs. “I don’t.”

Sensing I shouldn’t say this didn’t stop me. I’ve held my tongue for far too long, particularly with this man. “You make a difference to me.”

“Adelle, I’m going nuts here. I have nothing meaningful to do. I have all this … this … energy and no outlet for it.” Frowning at my large smile, he mutters, “Other than sex and working out.”

“Ah, yes, sex,” I say, harkening back to our reunion several months ago. “That pointless pastime you disdained for so long.”

“I’ve been thinking,” he says. “Even if my old group has moved on, I could form a new one. There’re always people looking for a place to fit in, a way to feel safer.” He reclines, taking me with him. “You could come with me.”

“Before I could ever agree to anything approaching that level of commitment, you have to tell me about Priya.” He kisses me. I smile down at him from my exceedingly comfortable position sprawled across his chest. “About you and Priya.”

“All right,” he mutters, combing my hair with his fingers. “But only because you grew your hair long again.” I wait. He takes a long slow breath, the expansion and contraction of his lungs lifting and lowering me. “There’s not much to tell,” he says.

“Then it won’t take long, will it?”

He stares at the ceiling as if the story is written on it. “It was a few years ago. A little more than four, I think. She came to me with a list of incendiaries and incendiary accessories. We procured them for her. That’s it.”

“Those may well be the basic facts, Laurence, but they shed little light as to why Priya treats you as she does, or you her for that matter.”

“At the time, my team was predominantly men and boys who thought themselves all grown up,” he says, putting his arms around me. “Tossing a woman as pretty as Priya into that mix could’ve gotten ugly in a hurry.”

“Unless, of course, it is clear she’s with the alpha male?” I venture.

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“So you slept with her,” I say, pretending this revelation doesn’t sting.

“Sort of.”

“How does one sort of sleep with someone else?” I ask.

“Literally. Sleeping, I mean. But in the same bed.”

I pick my jaw up from his chest, grateful it had not far to fall. “Oh,” I manage. “Just sleeping, then.”

“Sleeping, talking, playing chess, eating ice cream. It was … nice.”

“You had ice cream?” I say, thinking about the rarity of such things at the moment.

He shrugs. “We’d helped out some people who had cousins with a farm someplace. They sent their son back with a couple of coolers jammed with ice cream, cheese and those freezer pack things.”

“I find it difficult to believe that ice cream didn’t segue into sex.” I say. Laurence looks away and mumbles something under his breath. “What was that?” I ask.

“The ice cream led to a deep massage which led to a nap—something I never did—and there’s not a heterosexual man alive who gets woken up like I did who’s going to say, ‘No,’ to Priya.”

I stroke the base of his throat, whispering, “Like what?” His eyes drift closed and I smile. Maintaining the stimulation, I ask, “Like what, Laurence?”

“Let’s just say the ice cream also inspired a … Adelle, stop that … an oral fixation.”

“I see,” I murmur directly into his ear. “And after your fall from celibacy?”

“It was just the once,” he whispers. “She felt bad about Anthony, even though they weren’t speaking to each other at the time and holding a woman you’ve just … satisfied while she cries over the guy she claims to despise doesn’t exactly inspire round two.”

I consider his words. Nodding, I say, “The two of you relaxed together. Had a bit of a break from your lives. Dare I say, had fun?”

“That’s a fair assessment,” he says.

“You became friends.”

“I guess.”

Something discordant nags at me. “So why did she call you Dominic when we came to see you a few months ago?”

“I was answering to pretty much any name I’d ever used when she’d last seen me. Made things simpler in some ways, more complicated in others.” Rolling over, pinning me beneath him, he asks, “Will you run away to LA with me now?”

I cannot describe what the return of the smartass means to me, even if he’s only going to pay me a brief visit. I loathe risking his rapid departure. “What did you mean when you said you had nothing to prove to me?” I ask.


“I am not, nor have I ever been, a fool, Laurence.”

Lifting himself off of me, Laurence yanks on his pants. “Good for you,” he mutters.

“You know what’s good for me,” I murmur, staring up at him, on my back, naked and exposed. “You always have, I think.” His eyes travel the length of my body, unhurriedly, lingering at various points. “Why are you angry with me, Laurence?” I ask. “Is it The Attic?”

Breaths coming faster, he says, “It should be, but it’s not.”

“Come back?” I ask, patting the bed next to me. I smile when his sits down at the far edge. “What is it then?”

“You,” he growls. “You, damn it! You being all soft and warm and fucking irresistible. I should be doing more. Using my training to try and make things better. Not staying here, walking the perimeter and thinking about you. Mostly thinking about you. Thinking about you is driving me insane. Being with you is … is … too damn compelling. I need to leave before I wake up and realize I can’t.”

“Then why did you ask me to come with you?” I ask.

“Because I’m an idiot,” he says, punching a pillow with incredible force. “Because I want you even though I can’t respect myself when I’m with you, because I feel so damn weak. Because I’m afraid I’m … shit, I can’t believe I’m telling you this. You’ll just use it against me.”

Intuitively not arguing, I ask, “Use what against you?”

“I’m starting to need you, Adelle. Neither of us can afford that.”

“I am most decidedly in favor of it,” I declare, sitting up, shifting next to him, putting my arms around his neck. “Because I already need you.” I’m fully prepared to wait out his stunned silence, but I find I can’t. “I needed you before we met at your command post months ago. I needed you when you were in The Attic and I couldn’t find the strength of will to face you and admit it. When I walked the halls of a House that was crumbling around me, I would turn to my side and expect you to be there with an idea, a plan, a goddamn solution for me. I drank to forget you weren’t there. You cannot out duel me for supremacy on the battlefield of weakness, Laurence. Don’t even bother to try.” My patience holds this time. Thank God.

“How close is Topher to generating a block?” he asks.

“I have no idea,” I admit, grateful for the subject shift. “Some days Topher’s lucid and seemingly on the cusp of a major technological breakthrough. Others, he drifts in the past and makes bad puns. I find it disconcerting when he refers to me as mommy.”

“Is that on a lucid day or one of the others?”

“To think I had been missing the sarcasm,” I say, dropping a quick kiss onto his cheek. “Why did you ask about the block?”

“There will be a lot going on once he perfects it. Planning, implementation, follow up.” He rests his forehead against mine. “It would be something to fucking do, Adelle. Something worth doing.”

Understanding dawns. “You’re bored,” I say. “We are in the middle of the end of days and you can’t think of anything to do that might just possibly get you killed. Only in the male mind can that be construed as a failure of some sort.”

“Bored isn’t the right word,” he says, expression taking on a stubborn aspect.

“Just because it sounds childish doesn’t mean it isn’t true,” I say. Leaning close, I lower my voice to the merest whisper. “You’re already a hero, Laurence. You can rest on your laurels a bit. You don’t have to prove it to yourself or anyone else every day.”

“A hero? Me?”

I tug at his shirt. He takes the hint and removes it. “You pulled together a thousand plus civilians into a cohesive defensive organization, allowing many many more to live in greater safety. That qualifies as heroic.”

“We only held a small part of the city,” he mutters.

“Stably for years.” Stroking his chest, enjoying the feel of his skin under my fingers and his hands on my back, I wonder if I’m addressing the correct issue. “No one else held any of the rest of it for more than a few months, other than those who enslaved the inhabitants.” Feeling my way with care, I ask, “If you felt so strongly about what you were doing, why did you throw in your lot with us?”

“Because what I was doing wasn’t enough,” he whispers. “It was only a small part of the city. If Topher can pull this off, we might be able to get big chunks of the country back. Maybe even do some good beyond the borders.”

“So why go back to LA at this stage?”

“You talked me around a damn circle. I hate when you do that.”

I smile. “You haven’t answered my question. I hate when you do that.”

“I can’t stand sitting around waiting for Topher.” He lowers his head to kiss my shoulder. “Before, maybe, when he was insufferably arrogant but more or less sane, but now I feel like I’m waiting for something that may never arrive. And if we’re still here a year from now, I won’t be the only one kicking myself in the ass. Tony is chomping at the bit. He hides it pretty well from Priya, but he’s going to explode if we can’t do anything more than spar. He almost dismembered Paul when they kickboxed last time.”

“Tony gave you this?” I ask, gently tracing the periphery of a large, ugly green and purple bruise on his left side.

“And the slice on the shoulder and the really colorful new addition on the back of my thigh. Yeah.”

“I see.” At that moment, I realize he’d seen these symptoms in the men under his command and recognizes them for what they are—some sort of idleness induced testosterone buildup.

“And if Paul doesn’t get some space to breathe, he’s going to eat a bullet one of these days. He’s having nightmares about the doll who was his neighbor again—the girl who offed Hearn.”

“What do you suggest, Laurence?”

“We should blow something up.”

I find his lack of hesitation in making that suggestion oddly endearing. What on earth does that say about me? “Well, then,” I say, shifting my weight, tugging him down on top of me, cursing the fact that he’d put his pants back on. “After we’re through here, which will be some time, I’m afraid, I suggest we have a look at a map and select a few potential targets.” He’s smiling and I feel as though a weight has been lifted. I kiss him quick and hard, nipping at his bottom lip in punctuation. “Do you think you can subsist on sabotage and sex for a time, Laurence?”

“For a time,” he says, staring into my eyes. “Maybe even a long time.”

“Excellent,” I say, rewarding him with another, longer, more sensual kiss. “You don’t mind if sex comes first?”

“As it should be.” He blatantly stares at my breasts as he pulls away slightly to remove his pants.

“Before and after, I should think.” I smile at his effort not to. “Sabotage sandwiched between sex.”

He laughs. To my eloquently raised eyebrow, he says, “That’s not really something to strive for,” he says. “Considering the time it takes to plan and execute an act of sabotage, that’s way less sex than we have now.” He pouts, a shockingly excellent and effective pout. Who knew he had it in him?

“I’m not signing on for that, Adelle.”

“Well, I didn’t mean once only,” I said, wondering as his pout transformed into a most delightful smile.

“Yeah,” he said. “Maybe not the first time out, because we have to get back into the swing of things after this lay off. But the goal has to be before, during and after.”

“Sex during sabotage?” I ask.

“Every saboteur worth anything has a calling card,” he said.

“Stained sheets?” I nearly moan as he gets serious about caressing me.

“We’ll think of something appropriate,” he says. “Back in the day it’d have been your lingerie.”

We kiss for a time before I ask, “You’ll stay?”

“I’ll stay.”

I offer my body, heart and soul in approval of his decision.

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I'm so glad you wrote this. I love everyone's different take on the post-Epitaph One world, and I'm thrilled you fleshed yours out.

“What do you suggest, Laurence?”

“We should blow something up.”

That cracked me up. Love that he doesn't have to think about it at all. :)

Thank you!

You are welcome! Like I wrote before, when someone asks questions, they often stick in my head and I wonder what the answers are. So ... I guess ... thanks for asking! I was just happy I managed to find Adelle's voice again. That part is difficult for me, but this story, I think, needed to be told with her voice.

You and Adelle are one. She liked that he didn't have to think about it either.

As always, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

LOL! People are getting bored and need to cause destruction.

I don't blame them though. I could see myself getting bored too. :)

When you're used to motion and being busy, it's hard to adjust to not moving/having stuff to do. I would think.

Needing to cause destruction is a way to fight back against what's happening in the world--one bad guy building at a time.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

(Deleted comment)
Thank you for taking the time to cheer for our side!

Ah, and I love this one too! I really like the way you handled the idea of a past relationship between him and Priya. I also really like the idea of him going stir-crazy just sitting around, trying to protect this one little house where nothing happens except Topher and Adelle working on something that he can't really help with, it seems like something that would happen with him.

Dom (despite the controlled aspects of Laurence Dominic's persona) strikes me as a doer rather than a settle in to wait sort of person. The whole "action hero" aspect to his life in the attic seemed to bear this out.

I couldn't really see Dom saying "No" to Priya. I don't know if he'd ever have made the first move (probably not) but rising to the challenge (no pun intended, I swear) of her opening salvo--yes.

So glad you liked it!

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