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Defying Gravity

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There's a new girl in Clockworks.

Lenny hates this place, it's dull as hell and the drugs make her numb. But there's a few bright spots. Mail day, when people get care packages she can scope out and steal from later, and movie night, when everyone's distracted and she can sneak away and get herself off in peace, and fresh meat day, when the newbies arrive.

Most of the newbies aren't that interesting. The people who get dumped here are fuck-ups like her, drug addicts and lost causes. The nurses like to knock em out for a while until they learn who's boss, a real show of dominance. Lenny'd like it better if they pounded their chests and screamed.

But sometimes there's entertainment. A big breakdown with lots of tears and screaming, or someone extra super nuts raving about the bugs in their head. And then-- There's today's arrival.

The new girl is definitely nuts. Lenny already got the gossip off the orderlies. A drug addict, schizophrenic, suicidal. Still got a big ol bruise across her throat from trying to hang herself. But she walked in all calm, like she wants this. Like it's a good idea and it's gonna save her.

She's definitely crazy if she thinks that. This place never saved anyone. But no one listens to Lenny when she tells them.

The new girl is cute, in a fucked-up way. Big, haunted blue eyes and shaggy short hair. Tall and thin but-- Not rich-girl skinny. She looks like she could live rough, and if she's a junkie she probably has. Not too curvy but pretty breasts and nice hindquarters.

Yeah, Lenny could definitely eat a slice of that pie.

But no one’s gonna get so much as a nibble, not until the nurses are done with her. Pretty soon she’s been stuck in a wheelchair and tucked into a corner so she can drool in peace. They dress her in red, like Lenny, so everyone knows she's trouble.

Lenny keeps a close eye on her, warns off the predators with a glare. She doesn’t want anyone getting any funny ideas, not with this one.

Eventually the nurses ease up on the sedatives and the new girl starts looking around, trying to figure out what truck just ran her over. She tries to get out of the wheelchair even though she's still way too stoned, and if she keeps going she's definitely gonna fall.

"Hey, hey," Lenny says, reaching out.

New girl stops, confused. She turns her head and she's surprised to find Lenny sitting next to her. As if Lenny hasn't been sitting next to her for two weeks straight. Lenny loathes the nurses. New girl wants to be here, they didn't have to put her down like that.

New girl blinks at her with those hazy baby blues. Lenny's heart pings a little. She tells her heart to shut up.

New girl keeps staring at her, half out of her seat. Lenny sighs and pushes her back. New girl stares at Lenny's hand.

"They really fucked you up," Lenny says. "What'd they give you, horse tranquilizers?"

New girl blinks again, rubs at her face. "Um. Hey?"

"You know where you are?" Lenny asks.

New girl visibly thinks about that. She looks at Lenny, looks around at the Day Room. Sees the nurses, the orderlies, the other patients. She turns back to Lenny and nods, and looks sad.

"I'm Lenny. Tell me your name." Lenny already knows it, but--

"David," new girl says. It wakes her up a little more, saying it. "Um, how long--"

"Doesn't matter," Lenny tells her. "There's no time in this place. Pretty funny when they named it Clockworks."

"No time?" New girl echoes, worried. She looks around again, wary, tensing. Still drugged to the gills and she's jumpy. Junkie paranoia?

"Hey, you're safe," Lenny assures her. "Stick with me and no one's gonna mess with you."

New girl stares at her for a long moment. "Thanks," she says, shyly.

She flashes a wobbly smile and Lenny's heart pings again, stronger this time. Damn it.

§

A few more weeks, and David's down to her new normal and integrating into the Clockworks routine. They have to let her be coherent enough to engage with her therapy sessions, even if they're just as pointless as everything else.

David takes her therapy sessions very seriously. She's had a lot of therapy, apparently, and it's important to her. Lenny doesn't really get that. She generally ignores what Doctor Kissinger says, since it's bullshit.

"It can really help if you let it," David insists.

"Then why'd you end up here?" Lenny asks. She knows she shouldn't but she can't take David's bizarre optimism sometimes. Not that she wants her to be a bitter cynic like Lenny, but--

David gets a furtive look. Now that's interesting.

"C'mon," Lenny urges. "Aren't you here because you--" She mimes hanging herself.

"Yeah, but--" David stops, looks around them. "You know my-- Diagnosis."

"You see things, right?" Lenny asks.

David nods. "There's voices and-- Sometimes things happen and--" She stops, struggling. "That's why--" She swallows, pleads silently for Lenny to understand without her having to say any more.

"Okay," Lenny soothes. She doesn't like seeing David upset. "Hey, if it helps, it helps."

David breathes out, relieved. She musters that smile that makes Lenny want to give her the whole damn world. Not that Lenny's got anything to give, except the shit she steals. Which reminds her--

"Today's mail day," Lenny says. "Wanna have some fun?"

§

They hide their ill-gotten gains under their clothes and sneak through the halls, giggling under their breath. They go to David's room because her sister paid for the solo upgrade, so they've got a little privacy there.

Lenny never takes too much, she's not that big of an asshole. But she doesn't get care packages so this is the only way she gets anything.

"It's like Halloween," David giggles, delighted.

"Trick or treat," Lenny grins.

They spread out the candy and divvy it up. David has a massive sweet tooth, and Lenny loves seeing her happy, so she gives David most of the candy.

"Lenny," David protests, trying to give some back.

Lenny lightly bops her on the nose, and David covers it with her hand, trying not to laugh. They're supposed to be asleep but this is much more fun.

"Lenny," David says again, softer. Even in the low light, David's eyes are striking, and they're fixed on her.

Lenny's never been able to resist temptation. She kisses David and she tastes so, so sweet.

David breathes against her mouth, shocked but-- Wanting. "Lenny," she breathes, full of emotion.

Lenny takes a deep, hungry breath, and pushes David down onto the bed. A few pieces of candy bounce to the floor. David stills, listening, and then-- Looks up at Lenny. All that blue is a sliver around wide, wanting black.

"We shouldn't," David whispers, but there's nothing about her that believes it.

Lenny leans over her and kisses David again, again. David reaches for her, hesitates, reaches. Hesitates.

"Lenny, I--" David starts.

"You got someone on the outside?" Lenny asks, knowing.

David looks guilty. "I did. But-- We had a big fight, before I--" She swallows, pulls away. "I'm sorry, I--" She pulls in on herself, that delicate happiness vanishing. She sniffs, and her face crumples briefly.

"It's okay, baby," Lenny soothes, hiding her disappointment.

"I don't feel good," David whispers.

"You wanna sleep?" Lenny asks. "I'll hide our stuff, okay? And you can sleep."

David gives a sad nod. She haltingly helps Lenny gather up their candy, but she's barely managing not to break into tears. She seems almost-- Afraid.

Lenny's just a junkie. Just because she's stuck in a mental hospital, it doesn't mean she knows shit about what David's got. But she thinks her staying would make it worse.

She gives David one last look and then quietly sneaks back into the hall.

§

A loud crash shakes the room and wakes Lenny up. She climbs out of bed and finds a commotion out in the hall, nurses and orderlies and curious patients all converging around-- David's room.

Oh no.

Lenny hears David screaming and she pushes through, but by the time she gets there it's too late. David's been knocked out and jacketed, and they're hauling her out. Lenny gets a glimpse of the room. Last night it was perfectly neat and now it's-- Wrecked. Bent metal, broken wood, clothes strewn everywhere like they were caught in a tornado.

What the fuck. David did that?

The orderlies clear everyone away from the room. Lenny heads after David, but they won't let her into the infirmary. She makes a scene because she knows David needs her and they drag her away and dump her in the day room. Lenny's tempted to keep yelling but she doesn't want to end up in solitary again, pumped full of drugs for days. If she's there she can't help David at all.

Not that it matters. David's the one stuck in solitary, drooling on herself. Lenny hates this place, she hates it she hates it.

Eventually they let David out, but she's drugged stupid again. Lenny sits with her anyway, wipes the drool from her face, complains to her about how shitty everything is. Lenny bares her teeth at the orderlies and nurses, warning them to back off. It probably doesn't help but it’s all she's got.

David misses the next mail day. She's there, but she's too fucked to notice. She even gets a package from that sister of hers. Lenny opens it for her, shows her what she got. Some books, some bullshit happy family photos, some candy. Twizzlers.

Lenny eats the Twizzlers one by one, right in front of David, very slowly. If she wants any she'll stop drooling and wake up. But Lenny finishes the package on her own.

§

David's new normal is a little higher this time, but at least she's not a zombie anymore. The extra Haldol slows her down, makes her shaky, but Lenny doesn't care.

"You don't remember trashing your room?" Lenny asks, now that David's actually capable of answering.

David shakes her head. "I have-- Bad dreams. Hallucinations. Sometimes I-- Wake up and-- I don't remember doing anything but--" She gives an unhappy smile. "That's why Philly-- We were always fighting about something but--"

"Okay," Lenny soothes, not wanting David to break down again.

Lenny tries to keep things easy for a while. No talk about exes, no sneaking around at night. David has extra sessions with Doctor Kissinger. Her sister visits, and that makes David feel better and worse.

David opens up, admits to Lenny that she sees things, people who aren't there, shadows in the corner of her eyes. That she's always hearing things, strange voices, people talking to her when their lips aren't moving. David knows the hallucinations aren't real and she tries to ignore them but-- Nothing makes them stop. Not even when she's so fucked that she's barely breathing.

Lenny's the one who breaks down after that, crying alone in the bathroom with the sink running. She shouldn't have fallen in love in a mental hospital. She shouldn't have fallen in love at all. She always knew it would hurt and it's so much worse than she ever--

She was gonna let herself rot but David's never gonna get better here. All they're doing is locking her up with her demons. Lenny has no idea how to fix this but she has to try.

§

Despite Lenny's intentions, David's bouts of madness just become part of the Clockworks routine. When things have been good for a while, Lenny will notice the orderlies eyeing David, waiting for her to fly off the rails again. But routine isn't a bad thing. Once the nurses have a handle on what to expect, they're not so heavy handed.

So when things are good, they're real good. David smiles and laughs again. On movie nights, they stay and watch and holds hands, and it's the sappiest goddamn thing but Lenny loves it.

The nurses usually don't like it when patients get snuggly, but being with Lenny keeps David calm. They don't even make a fuss when Lenny starts staying in David's room at night.

They make out a lot, but they don’t have sex. Not that Lenny would object at all but— What David needs most is just— To be with her. Holding each other close, and soft kisses. And when David’s calm and safe in her arms, everything feels right.

And then one night, when Lenny's happily being the big spoon, she wakes up knowing that something is very wrong. And she opens her eyes.

They're floating. The whole bed is floating five feet off the ground.

"Holy shit," Lenny breathes. She gives David a shake. "Wake up, baby, c'mon, wake the fuck up."

David stirs. Her eyes flutter open and she smiles sleepily when she sees Lenny. Then she realizes Lenny's upset. She looks around and--

"Not real," David whispers, stiff with terror. "Not real not real."

"Baby," Lenny says, trying to be soothing even though she's freaking out. "Baby, I promise this is real."

David shakes her head, frantic. The furniture starts to tremble, like there's an earthquake. Things start floating up into the air, whirling around them.

"Not again," David whimpers.

And then the bed falls. They crash to the floor, bouncing off the mattress. Lenny gets the breath knocked out of her, and by the time she gets her wits back the orderlies have already grabbed David and dragged her off.

Lenny looks around the room. It's wrecked, bent metal, broken wood, clothes strewn everywhere like they were caught in a tornado. She's seen all this before.

Holy shit. David's not crazy. She's got super powers.

§

The nurses have to know something, they can't be that stupid. And yet--

If they knew, they wouldn't give David back. They'd ship her off to Area 51 and she'd be dissected or some shit. Lenny's not gonna let David get dissected.

So maybe they suspect, but they don't wanna end up in a padded room, too. So no matter what they see, they're just gonna play along. And she bets that Philly, and maybe even Amy-- They didn't want to believe their own eyes either. Because then they'd be just as crazy as David.

Lenny's not afraid. They can call her crazy all they want. What are they gonna do, lock her up in a mental hospital and drug her?

As usual, David's still drooling when they give her back to Lenny. It's hard to be patient when all Lenny wants to do is shake David and tell her that she has the power to bust both of them outta here. As soon as David's coherent again, Lenny pulls her aside so they can talk in private.

"Lenny?" David asks, uncertain.

"We gotta talk," Lenny says. "About the other night."

David immediately looks ashamed. "Lenny, I'm so sorry, I-- I didn't want you to see me like that."

"Like what?" Lenny asks, curious what David thinks happened.

"You know," David says, ducking her head. Her shoulders slump. "Maybe-- You shouldn't sleep with me anymore. If I-- Hurt you--"

"No, baby," Lenny says. "You didn't hurt me, I'm fine."

David doesn't look like she believes her. "I destroyed our room."

Lenny's heart pings. David thinks of it as their room, not hers. Lenny takes David's hand, clasps it. "Things just got a little shook up," she soothes. "But-- How do you think it happened? All the times it's happened?"

David shrugs. She stares at their clasped hands. "I never-- I mean, I'm usually-- I'm hallucinating. But I must be--" She shakes her head. "Violent and--"

"The hallucinations," Lenny says, pressing on. "Do you see-- Things floating around? Moving on their own?"

David stares at her, wide-eyed.

"You're not hallucinating," Lenny says, certain. "I saw it, too. And I bet other people saw it but they were too afraid of being called crazy, too. But I don't give a shit what people think. I know what I saw, and I saw-- What you saw."

"No," David says, shaking her head. "That's-- It's impossible."

"You think I'd lie to you?"

David hesitates. "No, of course not, I just-- Things don't just-- Float, that's-- It's crazy." There's an edge of desperation in her voice.

"Then I'm crazy, too," Lenny says. "And we're sharing the same hallucination."

"That's impossible," David says, strained.

"Maybe everybody else is wrong," Lenny says. She doesn't understand why David's fighting this so much.

"Lenny, I'm insane," David insists. "I'm-- I see things, I hear things, I-- I have fits and I can't remember-- I hurt people. I can't control myself, that's why I-- That's why I'm here."

"You're here cause you hung yourself," Lenny insists.

"I tried to kill myself becuse I can't make it stop," David says. She's all tensed up and she pulls her hand away. "Why are you doing this? I know what I am."

"No, you don't. You're not crazy. I'm not crazy. We shouldn't be in this place. It's not a hospital, it's a prison, it's a fucking dumpster and we don't belong here."

"I'm sick," David says, certain. "I'm schizophrenic. I can't-- The only way I'll get better is if I accept what I am."

"Is that what Kissinger says?" Lenny says, and now she's angry. "He's such an asshole."

"Doctor Poole said it, too," David says, and then-- Her face crumples with shame. "I owe it to him."

"Why the hell would you owe some shrink anything?" Lenny asks, annoyed.

"Because I hurt him," David says, tears in her eyes. "He was helping me and I stole from him and I hurt him so bad he was in a coma. And I don't even remember--" She sobs and turns away. "Please, Lenny. This is where I belong."

§

It's a set back. Lenny accepts that. And worse, it's the first real fight that she and David have had, so bad Lenny thinks it might even be the end of them.

David avoids her for days. Lenny sleeps alone in her shared room and thinks too much about the same things, over and over.

She knows what she saw. David has fucking powers. But it's obviously-- More complicated than that. Maybe-- She's got powers and she's sick.

But if that's true-- Then that's why Lenny's gotta get David out of this place. The drugs don't help, the therapy sure doesn't help. Lenny thinks about David drooling in solitary for days while her hallucinations torment her and it makes her furious.

If David's sick, then Lenny's gotta figure out what kind of sick she is.

She goes to the hospital library. She's been there before but only when she wanted some alone time, to eat pilfered candy or get off. Now she pokes around the shelves until she finds one of those diagnostic manuals they use to label people.

Reading it gives her a headache. There's a lot she doesn't understand and she hates feeling stupid. She's not dumb, she's just-- Been too busy surviving to do all this book shit. But she slogs through it for David.

Turns out she was right and all these doctors don't know shit. They're just guessing, and she's not surprised how easy it is for them to guess wrong.

Lenny knows David better than Kissinger or that Poole guy or any doctor David ever had. She knows David has powers and her hallucinations are real. Or at least some of them are.

Lenny makes a list of all the things David says are wrong with her, the things that make her sick. And then she starts figuring out the truth.

It's kind of obvious once she starts paying attention. When David cools down enough to talk to her again, Lenny tests a theory. She waits until David's turned away and then thinks a question instead of asking it, and David casually answers it right back.

Not auditory hallucinations. David can read minds.

It's fucking wild. Shit like this should not be real. And what's really weird is that David should know this. She should have figured it out on her own, but she didn't.

And maybe that's because of the symptoms Lenny can't explain. David's 'fits,' her amnesia and confusion. Sometimes she just gets afraid for no reason. And she gets crazy nightmares, even without anything floating.

Lenny reads through that manual twice and she can't find anything that fits. After all that work, just another dead end.

Maybe David really is too sick for the real world. Or maybe-- She's just broken, like Lenny's just broken. Most everyone here is just broken. The only way they're ever gonna leave is in a body bag. Maybe that's fine.

"Lenny?" David asks, worried.

Lenny looks up. Smiles for her, or tries to. "Hey."

David sits down. She's in a good period, so her drugs are low. Her eyes are as clear as they ever get. "Um. Are you okay?"

"Nah," Lenny answers, honestly. "Life's shit."

"Oh," David says, and looks guilty. She's probably thinking it's her fault that Lenny's sad, because they never really patched things up after that fight. They sit together in the day room, they share meals in the cafeteria, but there's still a distance between them. They don't hold hands. They don't share a bed.

That distance feels impossible to cross.

"You've seemed-- Really down," David continues. "I'm worried about you."

Lenny gives a bitter laugh. "Nothing to worry about here."

David doesn't look like she believes her. She looks down at her hands, and then meets Lenny's eyes. "I miss you."

That softens Lenny a little. "I miss you, too," she admits.

The corner of David's mouth twitches up, but she doesn't smile. "I know you were just-- Trying to help. But you can't-- Feed my delusions. It makes them worse. I have to ignore them if I want to get better."

"Do you think you can?" Lenny asks. "Get better?"

"I want to," David says. "That's why I'm here."

Lenny wants to call her out for that. Challenge her to admit that nothing here is actually helping her, that this is just a prison she walked herself into because she's afraid she'll hurt someone again. But Lenny knows saying that won't help either of them.

"I want you to get better, too," she says, honestly. "If this place helps you-- Then it helps. Okay?"

David slumps, relieved. "Thank you." And she offers her hand.

Lenny takes it.

That night, when Lenny's being the big spoon again and David's fast asleep, Lenny cries softly against David's shoulder.

§

The next time Lenny wakes up and the bed is floating, she stays calm.

David is asleep. Lenny looks around the room. The furniture is asleep, too. Everything's fine, except for the way their bed is defying gravity.

Instead of waking David up, Lenny holds her and gently soothes her. Gradually the bed lowers itself to the floor. David stirs a little, but only to reach for Lenny. She smiles in her sleep.

And that's it. No whirlwind, no smashed furniture, no orderlies busting in with drugs, no days in solitary, no drooling. Lenny holds her breath for a few days, just in case she was just putting off some kind of inevitable explosion, but David's fine.

She's fine. Even the nurses are confused.

David's oblivious, but Lenny feels a thrill of hope. She makes a new plan, not trying to figure out what's wrong with David, but-- How to manage her symptoms. All that work from before suddenly becomes useful.

As time passes, Lenny learns that there are things she can manage and things she can't. Obviously she can't stop David from hearing people's thoughts, but if another patient's upset and making thoughts that upset David, Lenny finds a way to get the nurses or orderlies to sort out the patient, and that helps David. She can't stop David from having nightmares, but she can soothe her without waking her up, and that keeps the furniture intact.

David starts doing better. Kissinger notices it. Even David notices it.

"I don't know what it is," David admits, over breakfast. "I just feel-- Better."

Lenny just smiles and pulls her in for a kiss.

§

And then, for some reason, Lenny starts having nightmares. Strange, disturbing nightmares that she can't quite remember but leave her shaken, sleepless. Her exhaustion trips her up, makes her slow to manage David. And then she sleeps right through one of David’s floating fits and she wakes up bruised and breathless as the orderlies burst in.

There's a sense of relief afterwards, from the nurses. David was getting better and they didn't like that. They want her to stay predictably sick. They're smug, like they knew this would happen all along.

Lenny hates them even more.

When David gets back, she's devastated.

"This is what always happens," David admits that night, in the safety of darkness and Lenny's embrace. "I get better for a while and then-- I get worse again."

"It's not your fault," Lenny says, and she knows it's not. It's Lenny's fault for screwing up. If she'd just woken up in time--

"This is what I am," David says, her voice thick with grief. "It's all I'll ever be. Lenny, I'm so sorry. I wish you'd never--"

"Shut up," Lenny says, grieving, too. "I don't care. I love you. I don't care."

David sobs against the pillow. Lenny holds her and cries, too.

"I can't hurt you again," David says, softly, just when Lenny's about to fall asleep.

"You never hurt me," Lenny promises, and she tightens her grip on David as her eyes slide shut.

§

In the morning, Lenny wakes up alone. She's immediately frantic with worry, ungrounded knowledge in her gut, and rushes out.

Everything's calm, except-- The windows on the nurse's station are broken, covered with sheets of plastic.

Lenny marches up to the nurse on duty. "Where's David?" she demands.

The nurse blinks calmly at her. "David?"

"Yeah, David," Lenny says, teeth bared. "Where the fuck is she? Solitary?" Fear curls in Lenny's gut. "Did she hurt herself?"

"I'm sorry, we don't have any patients by that name," the nurse lies.

"What the fuck is your problem?" Lenny snarls. She yanks off the plastic and barges in.

"Security!" the nurse yells, backing away.

Lenny grabs the ledger where the nurses dutifully mark off every dose for every patient. "See?" she says, turning to the previous day. "David--"

And she stops. David's name isn't there. She flips back and back and there's Lenny Busker but no David Haller. "What the fuck?"

And then security grabs her and drags her away.

Lenny surfaces again a few days later and wipes the drool off her face. She's back in the day room.

She looks around for David but she's not there. She goes to David's room and-- There's a new patient there, a man. He screams at her to go away.

"I'm not crazy," Lenny mutters, her back against the wall. "Not crazy, not crazy."

There is no way she hallucinated David Haller. Lenny's just a junkie, she's not crazy. She's not crazy.

But David's gone and there's no sign she was ever here.

Lenny feels like she's losing her mind. And then she goes to the library and finds the diagnosis book and there's the notes she scribbled in the margins, as she tried to figure out what was David's crazy and what was--

Her powers.

Oh no. The broken glass. Her powers.

Shit. David must have-- She must have done something last night, something stupid. She used her powers and broke the glass and-- Whatever she did, the nurses couldn't ignore it anymore. They sent her off to be dissected.

Lenny throws the book against the wall and screams. She starts trashing the place, beyond furious, beyond heartbroken. "David!" she howls as the orderlies haul her away again.

When Lenny gets out, the nurse's station is fixed, like it was never broken.

Lenny is done with this place. She is done. She sets her sights on Kissinger and on faking her way out of this hellhole as fast as possible.

§

It still takes months, but it's easier than she expected. She figured out the right things to say, told Kissinger what he wanted to hear, and then-- She's out the door and on the street.

She tracks down Amy Haller's address and goes there. She pounds on the door until it opens.

"Uh, yes?" answers a man.

"Amy Haller," Lenny demands. "She live here?"

The man hesitates, then turns. "Amy?" he calls.

A woman walks up. She looks at Lenny warily. "Yes?"

"David," Lenny says.

Amy and the man both go still. "Um. David who?" Amy lies, badly.

"Don't fuck with me," Lenny warns. "I'm Lenny Busker and David's my girl. Tell me where they took her."

Amy's eyes go wide. She steps aside and gestures for Lenny to come in.

§

"I'm sorry we never met," Amy says. "David talked about you a lot. She loved you very much."

"Don't talk like she's dead," Lenny warns. "I know she's alive."

Amy sighs. "I'm afraid it's-- Complicated. David's-- You're right, she was taken."

"And you just let them dissect her?" Lenny says, outraged.

"No, no," Amy says. "The people who took her-- They helped her. They are helping her. It's just--" She hesitates again.

"I want to see her," Lenny demands. "You know where she is, right? Take me there."

"It's not my decision," Amy says. "But I can-- Make a call."

"I'll wait," Lenny says, and raises her eyebrows impatiently.

Amy and the man -- Amy's husband Ben -- exchange looks.

"Can I get you some coffee?" Ben asks.

Amy goes upstairs to make the call. She's gone for a while, and Lenny passes the time by glaring threateningly at Ben. Finally Amy comes back.

"Someone will be by to pick us up tomorrow," Amy says. "Would you-- Like to stay the night?"

§

Whatever government agency kidnapped David, they sure like their secrecy. Lenny and Amy are both blindfolded for the long ride to wherever they're going. A few hours later they arrive at some fancy building in the middle of nowhere. People are milling around, curious about their arrival. And then walking out of the crowd--

It's David.

Lenny runs up to her and hugs her tight.

"Asshole," Lenny sobs.

David laughs.

"I'm sorry," David tells her, when they're settled. "It's been-- Things have been really hard."

"You disappeared," Lenny says, angrily. "What the fuck happened?"

David takes a bracing breath. "I tried to kill myself again."

Lenny curses. "I knew it. You used your powers?"

To Lenny's surprise, David doesn't deny it. "Yes. It was-- You were right. I did know there was-- Something strange about me, but--" She swallows. "That night I was-- Desperate. I was-- I wasn't thinking clearly, I just--" She pauses, struggling.

Lenny holds out her hand, and David takes it. Gives her a small, grateful smile.

"I did something stupid," David admits. "I don't even know how, I just-- Let something loose and-- All the glass broke. I got to the pills. I didn't even know what I was taking, I just-- And then-- Something-- Forced them out. The pills. And that made me more upset and-- And then--" She shakes her head. "I don't really remember what happened next. But I woke up here. They said-- I have powers and-- That's how they found me."

"What is this place?" Lenny asks.

"A home for-- Mutants like me," David says. "I'm a mutant, apparently." She flashes a wobbly smile. "And they thought that was why I was-- Schizophrenic but-- Then they found something else." Her grip tightens. "Someone— Living inside me. Another mutant." She shakes her head. "I know it sounds crazy."

"It sounds really crazy," Lenny agrees.

"They tried to get him out of me," David continues. "But he didn't want to go. And then once he was finally--" She stops, sighs. "It turns out-- Even after all that, I'm still-- Sick. The-- Trauma. Being-- Possessed my whole life." She swallows again. "So I have to stay here."

Lenny looks David right in the eyes. "Are they helping you?"

"Yes," David says, honest, relieved. "Melanie and Ptonomy, and Cary-- They're not like-- Kissinger. The others. You'll like them, if--" She hesitates. Then she realizes-- "How did you get out?"

"I didn't want to be there if you weren't," Lenny says, plainly.

"That's not how mental hospitals work," David says, wryly.

"Where you go, I go," Lenny declares. "So tell these assholes I'm staying." Then she hesitates. "If you, uh--"

"Of course I want you to stay," David says. "Lenny, I missed you so much." Tears well in her eyes.

"Fuck, baby," Lenny sighs, and hugs her. "I missed you, too."

§

Summerland, that's what it's called. A fancy name for another kind of hospital. There's a lot of mutants here, with all kinds of wild powers. Lenny's not sure how she's gonna fit into all this, but they can figure that out later.

David's right. Melanie, Ptonomy, Cary-- Lenny talks to them and decides they're okay. And David is actually happy here. No drooling, no solitary, no dissecting. Even if she has to stay here, it's not a prison.

They spend the day together with Amy, and then she's taken home. And then Lenny and David are alone.

David has her own room again, which means— They have their own room. They lie in bed together, just holding each other, like they always did. Lenny missed this so much.

"I'm sorry I didn't believe you," David sighs.

Lenny just kisses her.

David's so much healthier now. There's a spark in her eyes that the drugs always smothered. There's a flush to her cheeks. Apparently the guy living inside her was sucking her dry like some kinda parasite, and now she's healing, getting strong.

They've been making out for a while when Lenny realizes their bed is floating.

"Oh, shit," Lenny says, alarmed. "Are you still doing that?"

"Sorry," David says. "I can stop?"

"Don't," Lenny says. She looks around the room. Everything's fine, except for the way their bed is defying gravity. Lenny turns back to David and looks into those baby blue eyes, and her heart pings.

"I love you," Lenny says, putting everything into it. Wanting David to know that she loves all of her, all the madness and floating beds and mutant powers. All of her.

"I love you," David says, showing all her love in her eyes. Their bed floats a little higher.