lesliethompkins: (Default)
While she's in the house, she takes advantage of the quiet. When he arrives in the kitchen that morning, there is breakfast waiting. Tea is steaming and to his taste. The dishes she's used have been cleared away. The chores that normally occupy the early hours have been done by another pair of hands. To begin his birthday, there will be rest and the comfort that comes with sipping one's beverage. Not extravagant by any means. Then again, life need not be complicated to be enjoyed.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
There hasn't been much time lately for anything but work. Work that comes close to home is particularly taxing on both mind and spirit. It's only with Alfred's help that she manages to get the package mailed at all. It arrives several days late but it arrives nonetheless. Inside is a book for a boy long since grown. "Where The Wild Things Are" is accompanied by three plush toys. Sipi, Moishe, and Bernard. There's no card attached, just an inscription inside the cover.

"Reading never goes out of style. And neither do classics. Happy belated, dear."

The boy may be gone but the child within remains.

For Bruce, there is a different kind of present. It is not an object purchasable with a price tag defined. The gift of time and attention is priceless and perhaps the greatest offering she can afford. She hopes as she sits at his bedside that it's enough.
lesliethompkins: (neutral inspection)
Through the scrapes and the bruises, the broken bones and tears, she's cared for him. When answers escaped him, when the gentle hand of a woman was needed, Leslie was there. Now as he struggles in, bleeding and wounded, she's ready once again to receive him.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
Frequent visits to the Manor are common after Bruce has spent any time at the clinic. She tends to keep an even closer eye when there are stitches involved. Too many times he's pushed himself beyond reasonable limits and reopened freshly sutured wounds. Too many times he's ignored his doctor's advice. Rest is the staple of every successful recovery. He allows himself far too little.

The search for her patient is momentarily interrupted as she passes by the open doors to the study. The room itself is inviting, lavishly furnished in deep browns. A set of leather chairs flank each other near the fireplace. Above the fireplace is the focal point, a stately portrait of Martha and Thomas Wayne. Leslie lingers for a moment at the door. As inviting as the room may seem, she's never been comfortable occupying it alone.

She rests a hand on the massive frame and examines their likeness from a distance. Emotions run the gambit on her expressive face. Eventually, there's a sad sweet smile. Friends always have a way of placing things in perspective, whether they're there or not to realize it.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
Japan is a beautiful country. Or so she's been told. She herself has never visited. Perhaps Bruce will tell her about it over dinner. She used to think of four months as a long time. In terms of his other trips, it's but a blink of the eye. Each time he returns, they gather over Alfred's cooking and speak of the days gone by. Of things missed and things enjoyed.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
A facility the size of the East Side Clinic doesn't run without a sizable staff. Karin and Tracey are the primary receptionists. Their days begin at eight and last way beyond a reasonable hour. They volunteer to stay and Leslie is happy to respond with time and a half. When the budget permits it, she opts for double. They're worth their weight in gold.

There are eight nurses and two RNs. Two of them are trying to put themselves through additional schooling. Several of them are supporting families. More than half live in the East End. Each one of them understands the significance of their presence. Without them, there would be no clinic. There would be no outstretched hand.

A week before Valentine's Day, Leslie places an order. She arranges for flowers to be delivered to each of her employees. It's a small thank you in appreciation of their work. Nothing can truly express the depth of her gratitude. Their dedication moves her in ways indescribable.

Also at this time, she begins to plot. Several birthdays are just around the corner. The closest one approaching? Bruce.

The question then becomes: What do you get the man who has everything?
lesliethompkins: (clinic)
Life in the pursuit of service. Her father had laughed out loud. No attempt was made to hide his bemusement. When he realized she was serious, it mutated into anger. No daughter of his was going to throw away promises of a profitable life. Leslie Thompkins was his little girl. She could have had anything she wanted. But medical school?! Why?!

"So you can waste your time on those who can't pay for your services? Leslie. Think about it."

She did. She thought about it out of respect for her father. Her mind once it was made however would not be dissuaded. Her father in turn respected her desire. The East Side Clinic was born half a decade later. Patients trickled in and bills accumulated at an alarming rate. Her determination dwindled. Finances darkened. She told no one at first, determined to find the elusive solution herself. She could go to others in the medical community. Charitable foundations. Her family. Friends. She didn't.

Had her father been right? Had her overabundance of idealism overshadowed her good sense? Would the dream die before it rose to its full potential? After months of deliberation, she recognized not idealism but pride would be her downfall.

She sought funding, anyway and every way she could.

Five years later, the clinic blossoms under the care of the Wayne Foundation. No other present can compare. Now or then.

She's readying to leave for the night when an unfamiliar visitor arrives.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
The names and faces change. The ailments vary in range and intensity. One case differs from the next. There is a constant in the whole equation though. The cycle of patients in and out of the clinic continues uninterrupted. This is true most days of the year. Most days that is besides the 5th of December. One early day in the calendar's latest month, the office takes a collective break.

The receptionists that have been with Leslie the longest know not to schedule any appointments for this particular morning. When they arrive, there will be hot chocolate and cider waiting for them in the lunch room. Breakfast will be provided. With hunger sated and beverages still in hand, they'll gather together in the lobby. In their absence, a tree has been erected. From the storage closet, Leslie has pulled the clinic's collection of lights, ornaments, and Christmas decorations. Three hours is all it takes to transform the space into a sparkling sight.

The staff doesn't understood. Why the 5th? They ask each year. Each year, the inquiry goes unanswered.

The truth?

She prefers to celebrate her birthday preparing for the arrival of another.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
She sinks heavily into the chair behind her desk. A moment passes before her eyes roam over the surface. Voice mail is flashing an insistent red number. A handful of folders sit in the corner inbox. The computer rests unused. The screen is black, the CPU silent. She hasn't been in her office long enough today to turn it on. She reaches automatically for her coffee cup. Immediately she knows it's empty. Without bothering to double check, she sets it back down.

The day calender half-hidden behind a frame reads November 22. She retrieves it and peels away the top sheet. The page proclaims almost as an after note "Thanksgiving Day". Instead of returning it to its previous location, she places it front and center.

Today of all days, she has a reason to be thankful.

A cure has been found.

An end is in sight.
lesliethompkins: (clinic)
An abbreviated and not all together truthful report of her whereabouts over the past week is delivered to her gathered staff. The nurses are quick to understand. The receptionists look more hesitant. Dr. Cadium is her short term replacement. He listens to Leslie's words from the back of the lunchroom. In addition to the presence of Dr. Heinrich, she knows she'll be leaving the clinic in capable hands.

She could have left instructions over the phone. They're simple and unwavering. Take care of yourself and all those who walk through the door. A directive that has served them well for decades. She never does over the phone though what she can do in person. She leans against the counter and studies the faces of colleagues and friends. "I will have my cell phone with me. Chances I'll be able to make it back in a hurry though are pretty much nonexistent. If you have any questions, I suggest you direct them to either Dr. Heinrich or Dr. Cadium. They'll be able to help you in a more timely manner. I'll see you all in about a week."

From her perch, she watches them meander out. A short trip to her office down a relatively deserted hallway follows. The inbox is mostly empty. The business correspondence has already been dealt with. Among the few remaining items is a letter from the west coast. Leslie opens it first. After a moment of reading, she sets it aside with a smile. An hour passes as she wraps up loose ends, orders some belated birthday presents, and searches the safe. Together with Aurora's letter, she slips her passport into her bag. The most difficult of tasks awaits.

She exits through the double front doors and begins her walk towards confidence.
lesliethompkins: (damn)
Grief teaches the steadiest minds to waver.
Sophocles (496 BC - 406 BC), Antigone
lesliethompkins: (Default)
Crime. Poverty. Desperation. They're synonymous with Gotham's East End. Hotel rooms are rented by the hour in this part of town. Drug dealers sell their products in broad daylight. Shady landlords exploit their tenants. Sidewalks, buildings, and streets bare the multi-colored scraps of graffiti. No unadulterated space is sacred. There is layer after layer of it in some spots, a testimony to the number of years Park Row has stood in ruins.

Leslie Thompkins prefers to call it home.

There is a single lock on the door to her apartment. Nothing worse stealing is inside. She can count the number of valuable possessions in her life on one hand. They all reside at the clinic. The studio holds nothing but furniture and clothing. It's simply a place to rest her head.

The mile between her residence and her place of employment is an easy walk. There is no fear. No reservations about exposing herself to the public. It was a decision she made consciously years ago. Amidst the shootings. The drive-by assaults. She walks religiously. Almost as a statement.

She stops at the corner of Ninth and Madison and waits for the light to change. After a brief moment, the pedestrian sign flickers to life. Five minutes later, she's still standing on the corner. A look of bewilderment is on her face.
lesliethompkins: (Diagnose)
Life is exciting enough without the added exhaustion of fitful dreams. She's blessed most nights with a blissful void. A peaceful rest carries her from the pillow to rising. This night however she's made the mistake of accidentally drifting to sleep with a favored possession still in her hands. Her mind warps the familiar memory into something less tasteful.

Sitting on the end of the exam table is a six year old boy. He's trying desperately to put on a brave face in the presence of his father. His hair is tousled and tears are streaming down. One hand clutches protectively at the opposite arm. Dr. Thomas Wayne is standing over him, whispering words of support.

Leslie offers Bruce a sad, sweet smile as she works. "It'll all be over soon, dear."

Neither her words nor the comforting touch of his father can calm him. There is only the pain of the break and the fear associated with the new and unexpected.

The protective cotton layer is applied. The rest of the plaster supplies lay within reach. Her subconscious knows that in a moment, there will be a bright flash and the click of a camera. She'll turn to find a reporter struggling with one of the nurses. She glances back expectantly, knowing.

The doorway is filled with a monstrous figure. Even in the well lit room, the presence is defined only by a nebulous black. White reflective eyes stare through her. Pointed ears stand out against the white of the hallway beyond. It begins to hover towards them.

"No!" She takes hasty steps to cut it off. Her blood begins to boil. "You don't belong here!"

It continues to advance, seemingly oblivious to her objections.

"No! I won't let you do it! He has no idea!" She plants her feet. Nothing will come between her and the family she now protects.

It will not be stopped or persuaded. The advance continues unchecked. She knows she has neither the strength nor the wisdom to succeed. Yet still she struggles against the enormous weight.

It crouches, preparing to lunge. Leslie throws up her arms in surprise.

No contact is made. The black phantasm, instead of forcing her to the ground, evaporates around her in a haze. Her heart races, pounding relentlessly in her ears. An altered sight greets her as she lowers her arms.

An older Bruce. Lying on the table. Bleeding out. Alfred stands helplessly above him, whispering words of support.


A cry of desperation thrusts her into the waking world.
lesliethompkins: (damn)
There isn't any time for tears in the middle of an operation. The brain is focused entirely on the hands. The hands are occupied with the patient. This patient, Leslie knows somewhere in the back of her brain, doesn't have a chance. She's too stubborn though to admit it.

Hours pass. The bleeding is stopped. The slugs are removed. The wounds are stitched. There's nothing else she can do. Leslie looks sideways at the readouts. Blood pressure is low. Pulse is weak. Her professional judgment battles with her stubbornness.

Stephanie doesn't have that long to live.

Leslie's eyes move to the assisting nurse. "Don't move her."

The nurse glances up in surprise but Leslie is already moving away. Towards the sink. To strip the blood covered gloves from her hands. They hit the biohazard bin with force. She doesn't even bother to wash before she leans heavily against the wall. Fingers tighten involuntarily. She strains her neck, trying to wipe her face on the sleeve of her scrubs.

She wants nothing better than to collapse. There's one last duty she has to perform before the tears can come though. She has to find a phone.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
http://community.livejournal.com/jla_watchtower/tag/spoiler
http://oracle-watching.livejournal.com/34845.html
http://users.livejournal.com/_robin_/2004/12/14/ (+2)
http://users.livejournal.com/_robin_/3960.html

*****
She... she left too quickly.

Her... her last thoughts were of you.

She asked me if you hated her... I told her you never could.

[http://community.livejournal.com/jla_watchtower/79893.html]

*****

What the casual observer would have seen was an arms deal gone awry: a vigilante tried to break things up, and was shot down with the arms in question.

In reality, it was an elaborate setup; a trap.

She got out of there in time to make it to Dr. Thompkins... but there wasn't anything Leslie could do... but call me.

She... didn't have much time left when I arrived.

[http://community.livejournal.com/jla_watchtower/79893.html]
*****

Ordered by Blockbuster.
*****
lesliethompkins: (Default)
She avoids it like the plague. Every once in awhile though, she'll get the urge. Something about the cold. It hits her face and she's instantly awake.

Wrapped in a winter jacket, Leslie sits down on the roof of the clinic.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
Her schedule may be busy but she hasn't forgotten. Birthdays and anniversaries. She has a mind for dates and those they belong to. March 21 belongs to Dick Grayson.

A package arrives at their Bludhaven residence late in the afternoon. It's a small box, perfectly square. Inside, it's recipient will find a toy of the same shape. Nine by nine is the multi-colored cube. Blue, white, yellow, red, green, and orange.

The card attached reads:

"To feed the inner child. Happy birthday, dear."
lesliethompkins: (Default)
Waiting is the hardest. Keep expecting the phone to ring. For Barbara to have more news. I've turned the volume up on my cell. Don't want to take the chance of missing the call when it finally comes. Until then... I'll follow the schedule like it's any other day. There's not much else I can do.

Come home safe, dear.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
He's spared neither time nor expense. The very next morning Leslie has a newly printed copy. The photograph is identical. The frame is worth more than everything in her office combined. She shakes her head and smiles. Even as a child, Bruce never did anything half-way.

She studies the scene before replacing it on the wall. Some memories remain painfully fresh despite the elapse of time.
lesliethompkins: (Default)
She contemplates the door. How easy it would be to get up and walk out. It's Saturday night. Late. And she's the last one left in the building. A set of keys are waiting on the desk. Next to it is a half a cup of coffee gone cold. There's really no reason to stay. The work will be there in the morning. It always is. A couple hours of sleep will do her good.

She contemplates the door. Then returns to work.

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Dr. Leslie Thompkins

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