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N is for Normal
By Cj


MJ greeted the doorman with a tired smile as she made her way to the elevator. Once inside, she practically collapsed against the wall for the short ride to her floor. It seemed to take forever, and she struggled to keep her eyes open until the door opened to reveal her hallway. The walk zapped the last of her energy, and she entered her apartment hoping for a long bath and a good night's sleep. Stopping in the entryway, she listened carefully for any signs of life but then dropped her keys on the table and went upstairs as quietly as she could. Just as she suspected, her lover was asleep, nestled in the blankets in the middle of the bed, hugging MJ's pillow to her chest.

MJ took a moment to study the sleeping form, smiling as Helen stirred and settled. She went into the bathroom to run a bath, striping her dirty and torn clothing from her body, trying to avoid the cuts and bruises sustained from a rough night of work. She studied herself in the mirror and frowned at the image staring back at her. Sighing, she turned away before finally slipping into the hot water. Getting comfortable, she closed her eyes and allowed the heat to ease her aching bones.

"You look like hell," Helen said from the doorway. Despite her surprise, MJ did not open her eyes, instead picturing in her mind the doctor's disheveled appearance. "What happened?" Helen asked as she came to sit on the tub's edge.

"The suspect ran," MJ said in way of explanation. She groaned as she shifted.

"And, what, you chased him through a mud pit?"

"Something like that." MJ finally looked up at Helen. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

Helen shrugged. "I don't really sleep well when you're not there. Are you okay? You have a cut on your arm."

"I'm fine," MJ said. Taking Helen's hand, she intertwined their fingers. "Did you eat?"

Helen rolled her eyes but nodded, knowing MJ would not drop the subject until she had a satisfying answer. Helen had learned no matter how far away from their history they got, MJ would always worry. She smiled and tightened her hold, enjoying how normal it felt to be that loved.

"Soak and then come to bed. I want to take a look at your arm."

Helen's touch was cold when she reached for MJ's bicep, but her breath was warm when she leaned forward to get a closer look of the angry red scrape marring MJ's skin. MJ shivered at the contact, but then Helen was standing, her grasp loosening as she walked out of the bathroom.

MJ closed her eyes again and dipped below the surface of the water, staying until her need for oxygen forced her to rise. As she washed away the grime of the day, MJ smiled, her strength returning at the memory of Helen's closeness, energy refueled by the ordinary presence of one extraordinary woman.

The End

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