Bette emerges from the bedroom, after having grabbed a long nap all afternoon. Dick wasn’t home when she got back from the Watchtower, not that she checked the spare bedroom where he had chosen to spend last night. She checks her comm to see if Bruce has an assignment for her yet, and hears movement in the kitchen. She clings to the numb feeling she’d had before talking to Kyle that morning, hoping it will get her through this awkward encounter. Then with a mask of nonchalance, she comes into the kitchen, opens the fridge, and grabs herself a V8.
“Sleep well?” she asks the man sitting at the small kitchen table, stirring his cereal into his milk dully.
Dick looks up at her when she comes in, his breath catching slightly, and nods. “Yeah, fine. I slept fine.” In truth, he doesn’t remember sleeping much. He’d spent most of the night thinking about where to go, what to do, what he could do at this point. It didn’t feel like he had a lot of options. At some point he had passed out from sheer exhaustion, only waking up twice from noises outside. Whatever sleep he got, it wasn’t restful. He stirs his cereal some more and looks back down to his bowl. “How about you?”
“I slept well,” she replies, leaning against the counter and drinking her juice, not joining him at the table. That much was true; she slept quite soundly, for the four hours she had slept. “Thanks.”
He nods and eats in silence, not sure of what to say or if he should even try saying anything. He might make this worse. “I talked to the Captain today. She…said she wanted me to get well. They’re putting me on a two-week unpaid suspension, but she knows I don’t have to worry about that, so…..” He lets the sentence trail off and goes back to his cereal.
Bette lowers her can of juice, “Well, that’s good news, Dick. So, you won’t have to retest for work, and by the time you’re back, the new medicine will hopefully be working for you. I’m happy for you…”
“Thanks… Thanks.” He finishes his cereal awkwardly, suddenly aware of every eating habit he has. He wants to ask her how she’s doing, if she’ll be OK, to apologize again, to do…something that might make this all less horrible, but nothing comes to him. Instead, he pushes at his empty bowl and just stares.
Normally, his leg would be bouncing with this level of unreleased tension building inside him, but he’s strangely still. It’s the first stage of the new medication, he realizes, this unnatural stillness. It will pass. “I think I’m gonna go to Japan. There was a sensei who taught Bruce and then me… I think he might be able to help now.”
“That’s good. I mean, that you know someone who can help. I…I wish you didn’t have to go to the other side of the world to get that help, but at least…you can get it at all.” Damn it, did that sound supportive enough? What was she even DOING here if she couldn’t be at least supportive? “What are you going to tell Bruce?”