Title: Power to the People
Author: Nomi (gnomi@world.std.com)
Posted: 8/20/01
Archive: Sure, just tell me where
Part: 1/1
Codes: J/S
Rating: PG ('cause Josh swears a bit)
Notes: However weird this seems, this story is dedicated to NStar, my electric company... Previous stories in this series can be found on my website at http://world.std.com/~gnomi/stories.html .
Warnings: Minor spoilers possible for any episode through the end of season 2.

Power to the People by Nomi


OK, now I've been more than willing to admit that I am less visually observant than others, but this was going a little bit too far. I _knew_ this apartment intimately...I've been intimate in almost every room of this apartment. Yet now I was running into objects that had seemingly sprung up while I was at the office.

It took me a while to notice how dark the apartment was.

As I said, I'm less visually observant than others.

Anyway, I felt for the switch that was right inside the front door. It was in the on position, yet it remained dark in the apartment. As is human nature, I flicked the switch up and down a couple of times, to confirm that, indeed, the light did not go on.

Giving up, I moved slowly into the entryway, feeling with my toes and hands for any other random obstacles. I'd have to find out what I ran into later. As I moved further into the apartment, I heard "Fuck!" from the direction of the kitchen, then the sound of pots and pans falling. There was a second "Fuck!", then the distinct smell of a safety match having been lit wafted out of the kitchen. At the third "Fuck!", I smiled.

"Hey," I called to Josh, who was trying to pick up the pans he knocked down.

"Hey," he said, then "Fuck!" as wax dripped onto his hand from the extra-large candle he was holding.

"How does that qualify under 'better to light a candle than to curse the darkness'?" I asked, trying to get Josh's mind off his burnt hand.

"Smartass," Josh said.

"Y'know, J, we _do_ have flashlights." We'd bought some a couple of months ago, at the beginning of hurricane season, having been caught in the dark when Hurricane Claudia - which we thought was a perfect name - had been threatening the East Coast last year.

"Couldn't find them," my Fullbright-scholar-beloved mumbled. Had there been more light, I knew, I'd see the telltale signs of a blush working its way up Josh's face.

"Did you look in the utility closet?" That would be the obvious place, I thought.

"Uh...Sam? Darkness? Not able to look places?" Josh was using his "what _were_ you thinking?" tone.

"You know where the closet is. You've performed most admirably in that dark closet in the past." More than once, Josh had snuck up on me while I was retrieving things from that closet, with quite pleasant results.

Sometimes I think he has a thing for confined spaces, but that's neither here nor there.

"But Sam," Josh said, just barely avoiding whining, "we've been _out_ of the closet for over a year now. And you want to shove me back in?"

I sighed. "OK, J, I'll get the damn flashlights." I indulge Josh when he gets petulant, 'cause once he starts down the road toward childishness, there's very little one can do to get him back.

I walked - very carefully - through the kitchen to the closet. Since I was the one who had put the flashlights away, I knew just by touch where they were.

I was reaching for the last of the flashlights when I heard a clatter behind me. If Josh was trying to be stealthy, he failed miserably. I turned around to face him, even if I couldn't see him.

"Hey, J," I said.

"How'dja know it was me?" Josh said, sounding more perplexed than was warranted.

"Who _else_ would it be?" I asked. "It's not like there is some stranger in the apartment who snuck in under cover of darkness to ravish me in the utility closet."

"Good idea," Josh said, reaching out to where - I figure - he thought I was standing. That's the only plausible explanation for what happened next.

As Josh's arm extended, it brushed against a broom handle. That set off a series of events that is still the source of humor among those who heard the tale.

The broom fell at an angle perfectly suited to snag a towel that had been hung in the utility closet to dry. The edge of the towel, unbeknownst to either Josh or me, had gotten itself trapped under a cardboard box. When the broom pulled on the towel, the laws of physics proved to still be in effect, and the box fell from the shelf on which it had been placed. During the course of its descent, the box opened, spilling its contents around the interior of the utility closet.

As the contents spilled onto Josh's head and shoulders, Josh shrieked as if he was being attacked...by what, I never asked. In what I can only assume he thought was a protective maneuver, Josh grabbed me, spun us both around, and lay us down on the floor so that he was lying completely on top of me.

Just as we hit the floor, the lights came back on. The timing was so perfect that I could see random feathers fluttering down all over us.

We lay there for a moment, Josh panting heavily in my ear and me squirming slightly to get the contents of the box out of my face.



"_What_ is in this closet?"

"Utilities," I said. "It's a utility closet."

We were silent for a minute, then Josh spoke again.



"What sort of utility involves feathers? I mean...I could think of a million uses for feathers - I've shown you a number of them - but I can't think of any bird-related utility that we'd have equipment for."

"Uh..." I said, not having an immediate answer to that one. But then I took a second look at what was lying around us. Rags, polishing brushes, a couple of ragged-looking...

"Featherdusters," I said, finally feeling my brain kick in.

"So," Josh said nonchalantly, still lying on top of me, "you gonna be OK now that the lights are back on?"

"_Me?_" I asked, indignant. "You were the one who screamed like a girl when the box fell."

"I was only looking out for your well-being," Josh said.

"Right, J. Sure. Just looking out for my own good." Because Josh does tend to be overprotective, I try not to tease him when he looks out for himself first. But sometimes he just sets himself up.

"Well, I thought it might be a bat," Josh said.

"If it were a bat, J, I'd be hauling you out to the hospital so fast..." I didn't get a chance to finish the threat, 'cause Josh bent his head down and kissed me.

When he let me breathe again, he said, "What was that you were saying?"

"Donno," I replied, my mind having been totally wiped.

We lay there on the floor of the utility closet for another minute, then Josh said, "The lights are on."

"But no one's home?" I asked.

"Smartass," Josh said.

"You said that earlier."

"You were a smartass earlier."

"True," I said, because it was.

"Yet we're still on the floor," Josh said.

"We wouldn't be any less on the floor if I were less of a smartass," I pointed out.

Josh, not willing to see my logic, kissed me again, then rolled us over - a tricky maneuver in such a confined space - so that I was now draped over him.



"We're still on the floor."

"Yeah," Josh said, "but I like the view better from here, now that we've got light again."

I figured that he wasn't in any great rush to get up, so I stopped protesting. Eventually his back would complain, and we'd pick up from here - with or without the feathers; I'd leave that up to Josh - in a more comfortable location.

I reminded myself, just before Josh's hands started wandering, to stock up on fuses.

That way, I figured, I would be the one in a position of power.


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