Thanks to everyone who read and RawSonM and narwhayley for reviewing.
Mick jerked awake, sucking in his breath sharply. There was no fire, though, no smoke, just Prophet's living room and the faint strains of violin music coming from the speakers. He took a deep breath as the image of falling ash faded from his mind, a little relieved that Prophet wasn't at the opposite end of the couch anymore. For someone who didn't miss much, Prophet was very good about pretending he hadn't seen a thing, but all the same Mick was glad that his startle-awake hadn't been witnessed.
Mick took another deep breath, trying to relax, and then his nose twitched. There was definitely no smoke; that was pizza. Apparently Prophet had decided that it was dinnertime when he'd woken up. Then again…Mick glanced towards the window and realized that the light was almost gone. He'd slept later than he'd thought he would.
He pushed himself up off the couch and stretched, wincing as his neck protested, and then headed into the kitchen. "Prophet?"
"Hey," Prophet returned, turning away from the counter to shoot him a grin. "Welcome back to the land of the living. When you didn't even twitch when the delivery guy rang the bell, I was afraid I was going to have to dump a glass of water on you to wake you up. And I'd hate to make a mess of my couch like that."
"You're funny, mate. Besides, you've got no business talking; you were halfway through a sentence when you nodded off. I thought that only old guys on porches that did that."
"I was not."
"Were so. Ooh, breadsticks." Suitably distracted, Mick caught the plate Prophet tossed him and snagged one, along with a couple pieces of pizza. And then frowned as he realized that there was a second box underneath the first. "Two large pizzas and breadsticks? How hungry were you?"
Prophet shrugged. "I had a coupon, and I figured I could get a couple lunches out of whatever we don't finish. That or we could the others a call and see if they want to join us. It's early enough that I doubt anyone has eaten."
"I like that plan." It wouldn't be the first time that the team got together at someone's flat after a bad case, and Prophet wouldn't have made the suggestion if he minded. Then again, after what they'd been talking about earlier, he'd probably like having the others around too. Mick set his plate down on the edge of the counter and pulled out his phone. "I'll call Coop."
Prophet nodded. "I'll try Gina and Beth. Hey, if he wants to come, ask him to pick up a video on the way over, would you? I've already seen all of mine, and I checked and the only thing even close to worth watching on television is another showing of Die Hard."
Mick made a face. Most of the time he liked action flicks, but tonight he was not in the mood. "Will do." He smirked slightly. "Although you do realize that if he tells anyone that he wants a video, they're going to direct him back to the nineties, right?"
Prophet rolled his eyes, and Mick grinned and turned away, putting his phone to his ear.
"Cooper," Coop said after a couple rings.
"Hey, Coop, it's Mick. Want to come over and join Prophet and me and hopefully the others for pizza and a movie? We're at Prophet's."
"Sure, sounds good," Coop said. "What's the movie?"
"We don't know. We were going to ask you to pick one up."
Coop snorted. "All right, I'll stop by the rental place on my way."
"Something funny, yeah?"
"Yeah." He paused. "How are you doing?"
Mick shrugged, although Coop couldn't see it. "All right." Or as close to it as he could be, anyway. "You?"
"About the same. Comedy it is. See you shortly."
"See you." Mick cut the connection and stuck his phone back into his pocket before turning to Prophet. "Coop's in."
Prophet held up his free hand, his phone still against his ear, and then, "All right, later." He tapped the screen of his phone and then lowered it and looked at Mick. "Gina's coming too. And she's been baking. Between that and the pizzas and breadsticks we should have more than enough food."
Mick grinned. Gina had a habit of baking when she needed to think something through, and it wouldn't be the first time that the team had been the beneficiaries. "Beth?" he asked.
"Haven't called her yet." He frowned. "I guess I should have waited to order dinner, though. Coop'll be here soon, even with a stop on the way, but Gina's got a good twenty-minute drive, and I don't think Beth's is much less."
"Ah, you've got a microwave. It'll be fine. Actually…." Mick picked up his breadstick and then slid his slices back into the box with the rest and stuck both boxes in the oven. "That should keep them."
"Good idea." Prophet tapped a few buttons on his phone and then put it back to his ear. "Hey, Beth, it's Prophet," he said a moment later.
Mick munched on his breadstick as he wandered over to sort through Prophet's CD collection—he did want to steal a couple of Prophet's new tracks—and after a few minutes Prophet joined him, two bottles of beer in his hand.
"Beth is on her way, and she says she'll stop and grab another six-pack," he said, handing one over.
"Nice, I didn't even think about that." Mick took a drink and then glanced at Prophet. "Are you okay?" Prophet didn't seem to be acting any differently than usual, but it was sometimes hard to tell with him. Usually hard to tell with him, unless he was really pissed off about something.
Prophet nodded, his eyes focused on the CD cases.
He nodded again and then shrugged and looked at Mick. "It's hard to explain, but it just is at this point. You lost your parents so you know what that's like. I've been there too, and I can't even begin to explain how much worse this was for me, especially the kids, but it's sort of the same idea. It still hurts, and sometimes it hurts worse—if you ask me that question on one of their birthdays or our anniversary my answer might be different—but after a while you learn to deal with it. You have to." He took a long drink. "I thought talking about Desi would be harder than it was, actually. And the rest of the before was pretty easy."
"At least now I know you're not likely to want to try fishing," Mick said with a smile, letting Prophet's comment about his wife slide aside while filing 'the before' with 'the dark days' as part of Prophet's classification of his past.
"Oh, I like fishing. Haven't been since I was a kid, but it's not a bad way to spend a few hours. I just prefer to do it from a boulder. Or a dock. Or a very, very flat pond." He shook his head. "Stupid tanker."
Mick's smile widened, but there were other things still weighing on his mind, and after a few minutes he turned serious again as he finished off his breadstick and then reached out to trace the spines of a couple CD cases with a finger. "I'll leave you alone about the dating thing, too."
"I'd appreciate that. Like I said, I know it's stupid, but…." He trailed off with a shake of his head.
Mick nodded, and then, "I don't suppose you've got any particular tricks for coping with the ghosts." Prophet's were a totally different sort than he was having issues with, granted—and he obviously hadn't conquered them all just yet—but Mick trusted Prophet. And right now he could use some ideas.
"Time?" He shot Mick a quick smile, but there wasn't much humor in it. "Sorry, I know that's not what you want to hear."
"No, but it's kind of what I figured."
Prophet tilted his head. "Are you going to be all right? You know you're welcome to crash on the couch anytime you want."
"I know. And I'll be okay." He'd just have to keep burying them until that time thing kicked in. He shook his head and then dropped his hand and nodded at the CD cases. "So which ones are the new ones? I might as well grab them now before the others get here."
"When exactly did I become the local record store?" A pause. "Don't even say it."