Title: Don’t leave me this way – part 6
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.
Summary: Sequel to ‘Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking’.
warnings: still some major angst
“What happened?” House wanted to know as he limped back into the room, followed by Thirteen and a nurse who was pushing a waist-high device.
“She… she stopped breathing,” Derek replied as he stepped back from the bed and let the emergency team take over. He didn’t even care about the tears that were running down his cheeks.
This wasn’t happening, it just couldn’t be. It seemed like a dream, his worst nightmare, in fact, and Derek was waiting for someone or something to wake him up. He saw the two doctors and the nurse working on Penelope, but it felt like it could also have been a movie he was watching.
He heard their muffled voices, but he couldn’t understand what they said. Everything seemed so surreal, so far away.
“Hundred cc’s adrenaline!” House yelled at the nurse as he ripped open the hospital gown Penelope was wearing. “Stat!”
Derek’s first impulse was to protest. Penelope wouldn’t like being exposed like that, but he reminded himself they needed to do that in order to save her life.
Thirteen handed the two leads to House and pressed a button on the device the nurse had brought in. The monitor showed a flatline.
The beeping sound of the heart monitor was like torture to Derek’s ears.
“Charge to two hundred!” House instructed. Reaching for the defibrillator paddles, he placed them on Penelope’s chest and called, “Clear!”
There was a gruesome sound, and Penelope’s body twitched, making Derek wince. Apart from that, he saw no reaction to the measures to save his Baby Girl’s life.
Derek couldn’t help but wonder if she felt anything of what the doctors were doing. Was she in pain? Did she feel the electric shocks that were running through her body?
“Again!” House shouted, and Thirteen pressed another button while the nurse put a tube into Penelope’s mouth to provide ventilation.
“Charged!” Thirteen’s voice said. It was almost as emotionless as House’s.
Again, Derek heard the unbearably gruesome sound.
“Nothing.” Thirteen glanced over at Derek before concentrating on her work again.
Derek felt like something was ripping his heart out of his chest. It was getting hard to breathe, and his knees were getting weak. What if they stopped and pronounced her dead?
Derek knew Penelope wouldn’t want to be kept alive by machines, but he couldn’t let her go. He had to make the doctors try everything imaginable. He found himself praying again; praying Penelope’s heart would start beating.
The strident sound of the heart monitor was grating on his ears. Every time Penelope received an electric shock, there was a movement on the heart monitor. Every time, Derek hoped for a second blip, and the rhythmic beep indicating they had brought his Baby Girl back. Every time, the flat line returned.
“Charge to three hundred!” House ordered, and placed the paddles back on Penelope’s chest.
“Four hundred!” House demanded, but this time Thirteen didn’t react.
“House, she’s dead,” she just told him.
Derek wanted to yell at them. How could they just give up like that? How could they give up on her?!
He couldn’t make a single sound come out of his mouth.
He hadn’t even really had the chance to say goodbye. Penelope had tried; she’d known what was about to happen, but he had refused to listen. He hadn’t wanted to say goodbye, hadn’t wanted to let her go.
If only he could hold her one more time, see her smile, hear her voice, and tell her how much she meant to him. He didn’t know how to live without her. He’d always pushed this thought as far away as possible, and now? He wasn’t sure he even wanted to carry on now that his life had lost its sense.
“Four hundred!” House yelled at Thirteen.
She shook her head and charged the defibrillator once again. “Charged,” she sighed more than said.
“Come on, Penelope; I know you’re still there,” House mumbled before he yelled, “Clear!”
The sound became too loud to bear anymore. The sight of Penelope’s lifeless body twitching with every electric shock she received made Derek’s stomach twist. They should have been able to revive her by now, if there was any chance.
Suddenly, Derek felt sick. He needed to get out of there.
The word echoed in Derek’s mind. He had to get out, now! He simply couldn’t stay and watch. This couldn’t be true. It was merely a nightmare. It had to be. He was going to wake up any second.
This wasn’t true.
He stumbled out of the room, across the corridor and into the rest room. He braced himself on the sink and choked a few times.
When Derek looked up into the mirror, he wasn’t able to stand his own reflection. He should have done something, anything. He wasn’t the kind of guy who just stood by and watched. Not at work, and not at home, either. In a spell of anger, he smashed the mirror with his fist.
Pain shot from his hand through his arm, but it didn’t make him feel better. Usually, physical pain helped lessen the emotional, but this time, it didn’t work. Nothing could ever make this better.
Staring at his reflection in the remaining parts of the mirror, Derek made a decision he knew he would regret. He had made a promise, but he knew he couldn’t keep it. He desperately needed to punch anything – preferably the scumbag who was responsible for all this.
Lynch had to pay for what he had done, and Derek would make sure he did. Clenching his fists, he kicked the door open and stormed down the corridor.
When he passed the waiting room, he felt the eyes of the team and his family following him. He knew they would ask questions and try to stop him, so he moved faster. He was going to kill that dirty bastard.
“Derek?” Fran called after him. When he didn’t stop nor slow down his speed, she had to run to catch up. “Where are you going?”
“I’m gonna kill him,” he grunted.
Fran quickly stepped into his way to block him from leaving. “What happened?” She didn’t need to ask who he was talking about. There was certainly only one person in this hospital who needed to be protected from Derek’s rage.
He stared at her for a second. He couldn’t say the words, he simply couldn’t get them out of his mouth. If he said them, it became real – and he didn’t want it to be real.
The rest of the team and Derek’s sisters had stepped into the corridor as well, to see what was going on. Des and Sarah were whispering something secretly.
“Just let me kill him!” Derek yelled as he tried to get past his mother.
“Derek, tell me what happened!” Fran insisted. She had to push her son back so that he couldn’t continue his plan for revenge.
“He killed her!” Derek stared at his mother and ran a hand over his head as he stumbled back against the wall.
“Penelope’s dead,” he whispered, and let himself sink to the floor.
Fran’s jaw dropped, and her eyes filled with tears, but she was able to keep them at bay.
“She… stopped breathing,” Derek told them in a whisper. “They… immediately tried to bring her back, but… she didn’t react to any of their attempts. She was already gone. I… I just couldn’t stand there and watch any longer.”
JJ couldn’t stop the sobs as she turned away from Derek and almost ran back into the waiting room. She didn’t want her friends to see her break down. This couldn’t be true! Penelope had been her best friend for years. She couldn’t be gone, just like that.
Spencer just stood there and stared at the floor in front of him. When JJ rushed past him, she brushed against the sleeve of his shirt. The sudden touch made him look up and watch her for a moment. She was standing at the window in the waiting room, her back slightly shaking.
He saw Hotch step closer and place a hand on her shoulder. Much to Spencer’s surprise, JJ turned around to bury her face in Hotch’s chest.
The whole scene was weird, not real, somehow. Spencer saw the range of emotions on the faces of the people surrounding him, but he didn’t feel anything. He knew he should be sad, or angry, or hurt, but he simply felt empty.
“Come on.” Reid now felt a hand on his own shoulder as Rossi spoke to him. “let’s leave the Morgans alone for a second.”
Spencer agreed silently, and let Rossi guide him back into the waiting room, followed by Emily, who hadn’t shown much of a reaction either.
As they stepped in, JJ let go of Hotch to hug Emily. That was enough to breach the dam, and they both cried openly.
“Are you okay?” Hotch asked as he stepped next to Reid.
The question was strange. Of course he was not okay. If only he knew how he was. “I… don’t know,” the young agent replied honestly. “Are you?”
“No,” Hotch simply replied.
“This is so… surreal,” Reid whispered.
Nodding absentmindedly, Hotch looked through the glass into the corridor and watched Derek for a moment. Derek Morgan was one of the strongest agents he’d ever known; not only physically, but emotionally, too. There had been very few situations where Derek had lost it – and only one situation where Hotch had ever seen a tear escaping his eye. Now he cried openly, and he didn’t even seem to care who saw.
Whenever a case had gotten too close to Derek and made him fall apart, it had been Penelope who had put the pieces back together. She’d always been there for him, and during the year after she’d been shot, she’d been the center of Derek’s life.
“What now?” Hotch heard Reid ask. For a moment, he wondered if the younger agent had read his mind. Then he noticed Reid was talking about the situation in general.
For the first time since any of them could remember, even Hotch didn’t have an answer to that question.
Hotch closed his eyes and massaged the bridge of his nose. This wasn’t happening. He’d always thought if he lost a member of his team, it would be during a case; a bullet, maybe, or a stab wound. Killed by an UNSUB while doing their job.
He’d never thought it would be Penelope, who spent most of her working hours in her bunker, safe from the rest of the world.
He’d never given thought to a tropical disease killing one of them. It was almost ridiculous, considering what they had gone through together, what every single one of them had survived, that they’d lost one of them to an enemy they couldn’t see with the naked eye.
Rossi watched the team leader for a moment, almost positive he knew what was on the other man’s mind. His first intention had been to go down the corridor and check on Penelope himself. She was the most vivacious person he’d ever met; there was hardly anything that could really agitate her. There was no way she’d died of a simple virus.
“I just… can’t believe that.” Emily sniffled as she let go of JJ. She took a deep breath in an attempt to collect herself, and wiped the tears from her face. Her eyes fell upon the scene in the corridor, and she had to sniffle again.
“Don’t we… need to call a funeral parlor?” JJ’s voice was barely above a whisper. She followed Emily’s gaze, and the scene outside the waiting room almost ripped her heart out of her chest. She sobbed again.
Derek was sitting on the floor, crying openly for the first time since his father had died.
Fran, who was still fighting her own tears, knelt down and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Des and Sarah joined their mother and brother on the floor. Sarah put an arm around Derek’s shoulders and pulled him into an embrace, resting her head on his. When their father died, it had bound them together, but she wasn’t sure they would be able to help their brother get through this.
“I need to… take care of everything,” Derek whispered. He wasn’t even sure what he needed to take care of, though. What was the first thing he needed to do? Wait for the death certificate? Call the funeral parlor or a priest?
“Don’t worry about that now,” Fran softly said. “We’ll take care of everything that needs to be taken care of. You’re not alone.”
He just nodded. “I don’t even know how to contact her brothers to tell them,” he mumbled. Did they even care? How could they not?
“Maybe we’ll find a phone number when we… go through her things,” Des suggested.
Suddenly, Derek jumped to his feet and wiped off his face. “I have to get back to her,” he mumbled. “I left her alone. How could I… I can’t just leave her alone now.”
“Derek…” Fran tried, even though she knew it was pointless.
“I need to get back,” he repeated as he rushed back in the direction he had come from a few minutes before.
Fran hesitated for a moment, not sure whether her son was ready to admit he needed someone right now. She decided to follow him, nonetheless.
“Maybe we can take care of the funeral parlor and the priest,” Rossi suggested as they watched Derek and his mother disappear at the end of the corridor.
“Maybe…” Hotch mumbled. “First, we should go and… say goodbye.”
All eyes turned to him. Then JJ carefully nodded. “I think I… need to see her.”
A single thought moved through everyone’s mind at that statement. What if? Derek had left before the doctor’s had stopped trying to revive Penelope. Maybe, just maybe, they’d succeeded.
Hotch needed to make sure Penelope was really dead before he could worry about further actions.
“Why don’t we just follow them?” Rossi suggested.
She’s not dead, flashed across Reid’s mind. That was why he didn’t feel anything. It had to be. After all, hope was the last to die. Where does that stupid and completely inappropriate proverb actually come from? he wondered as they began to move as a group.
They remained silent as they walked down the corridor on their way to Penelope’s room, all of them clinging to the hope that they would find a miracle.
AN: I’m sorry you didn’t really find out more about Penelope yet. I just wanted to explore the reactions of the team, her family, a little. I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter, nonetheless. What can I say, I was in the emotional kind of mood. :)
I promise to update as soon as I can, and I promise you will read about Penelope in the first lines of the next chapter.
Thank you for reading and for hanging in there with me!Caro