Title: Don’t leave me this way – part 8
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: some more angst, I couldn’t help it
AN: Once again, I’m sorry for the delay on updating this story. I just couldn’t seem to get the chapter right. Now, I really didn’t plan on letting Derek suffer so much or so long, but as usual, my muse had different plans.
Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy reading. It’s a dark chapter, but it’s supposed to be a rather dark story. What can I say, I was in a gloomy mood. :)
Five days later:
It was hard to watch them and not being able to do anything for them. Penelope remained unresponsive, and they all knew the longer she was in a coma, the worse her chances were.
They had stopped arguing with Derek that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life waiting next to her, hoping for a sign of life. He wasn’t going to leave her side anytime soon, and they had either accepted it or just given up.
He honestly didn’t care.
Sighing, Derek closed the book and put it aside. He was already on the third novel he’d chosen to read aloud to her, and his throat was starting to become sore. He just wasn’t used to using his voice so much.
Reluctantly, Derek left the room to get himself some water. Since Penelope was still contagious, he still wasn’t allowed to take off the mask or the gloves when he was with her. Every third day, he needed to get his blood tested to make sure he wasn’t infected. Derek was sure once a week would have been enough, but House certainly wanted to tease him a little.
Again, he didn’t care.
If only he could finally get some sign from his Baby Girl that she was still there, still alive… but there was still nothing. Apart from her chest still rising and falling due to the life-support, she hadn’t moved one bit. It was a bad sign that she was still in a coma, he knew that.
“You know, you could really use a shower,” a soft voice behind Derek suddenly said.
Sighing, he threw his plastic cup away and started to argue. “Mom, I…”
“I’m sorry to say that, honey,” Fran quickly interrupted him, “but you’re no longer socially acceptable.”
Smiling sadly, he admitted defeat and headed for the elevators.
“I left you some pasta in the fridge,” Fran called after him.
“Thanks, Mom.” Derek did his best to give her a smile as he stepped into the elevator.
“I expect you to eat it,” she told him in a stern voice. “All of it!”
Derek sighed. He wasn’t sure he was hungry at all. Maybe after he had taken a shower. That usually made him feel better.
But at the moment, there was only one thing that could have made him feel better: the news that Penelope had woken up.
He couldn’t think of anything more depressing than coming home to an empty house. Without Penelope, he couldn’t even think of this as his home anymore.
It hadn’t even been four weeks since Penelope had moved in with him. It hadn’t taken her long to decorate the living room, the hallway, and the kitchen with little tidbits from her apartment; cats, dogs, and elephants made of porcelain or glass, and fluffy animals.
Everything reminded him of what he was about to lose – or maybe had already lost. There was no way to be sure of that.
Sighing, Derek undressed and got into the shower. It had only been two weeks since the day Penelope had broken down at their wedding. To Derek, it seemed like an eternity. Days seemed like weeks, hours like days. He had lost track of how long she’d already been locked up in that goddamn hospital room, or how long he’d been sitting by her side, watching over her. In the end, it didn’t matter anyway.
How long had it been since she’d slipped into a coma? A few days? A week? Derek couldn’t remember. He’d lost track of time weeks ago.
Had it even been weeks since he’d shared this shower with his Baby Girl? Since they’d spent their first night together right here in their house? To Derek, it felt like it had only been the day before.
It felt like he could smell her, feel her right now. When he closed his eyes, she was with him, as if nothing had ever happened. God, how he missed her. For six years, her laugh had filled his ears every day. He’d loved to see her smile, hear her laugh, flirt with her.
He missed that smile, that laugh now more than he had ever missed anything. He missed her touch, her smell. Everything here reminded him of her, and yet, she was so far away right now. He missed her, even though it seemed like she was all around him – or maybe because of that.
Stop thinking about her as if she’s already dead!
Five minutes later, Derek picked at the food his mother had left him, while he absentmindedly petted Clooney, who had laid his head into Derek’s lap. The dog whined quietly.
“You miss her, too, don’t you, buddy?” Derek whispered.
Clooney whined an agreement.
Looking down into the overgrown puppy’s eyes, Derek sighed. He tried to study Clooney’s face, much like he used to study the face of the UNSUBs they chased, but couldn’t make much of it.
“They say you have some kind of sixth sense,” he said to his dog. “I don’t know if it’s true, but… What do you think? Are they gonna make it? Pen and the baby?”
Clooney looked right into Derek’s eyes, then waved his tail and barked twice.
Laughing bleakly, Derek petted Clooney’s head. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, but you want to be taken for a walk. I understand.”
It felt good to run again. He’d been sitting around doing nothing way too long. Being out here with Clooney, running until his legs were burning, made him feel better, as it always had. Of course, he knew he couldn’t just run from his worries and fears, but at least he could forget about them for a while.
When he returned home, it was the first time in days that he actually felt hungry. He took another shower before he finished the pasta, leaving only a small portion to Clooney.
“I’m sorry I have to leave you alone again, but I need to go back to our favorite girl,” Derek explained as he put on his jacket.
“No, I can’t take you with me.” He sighed as he petted Clooney’s head once again. “Dogs aren’t allowed at the hospital. I promise I’ll say hello to her.”
As if he understood, Clooney sat down next to his place.
“Good boy.” Derek smiled at him. “Mom’s gonna come over and look after you until… until Penelope is better.”
Clooney jumped up, barked twice again, and wagged his tail. Then he spun round.
Frowning, amused, and yet clueless what that behavior was supposed to mean, Derek closed the door behind him.
“You look better.” Fran greeted him with a smile when he got back to the hospital ten minutes later.
“Any news?” He wasn’t even sure he wanted to know the answer. He surely didn’t want to hear any bad news. He wasn’t sure he could take that.
“No,” Fran replied, “but I guess that’s not too bad. I mean, she’s stable.”
Derek opened his mouth to say something, but when he saw House limping around the corner, he just rolled his eyes. “I really don’t wanna talk to this guy right now.” Derek grumbled.
“Don’t worry about him, I’ll keep him at bay,” Fran promised.
Derek mumbled a thank you before he put on the gloves and the mask and went back into the hospital room. He really wasn’t in the mood to deal with House right now.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t go in there,” Fran told House as he reached the glass doors. “You can continue your social experiment later.”
“I’m just watching interactions,” House corrected her. “If it was an experiment, I would intervene.”
“Just leave them alone!” She rolled her eyes and tried to get past him.
“One question,” House told her, keeping her beside him. For some reason, he had yet to figure out he liked talking to Fran Morgan. He enjoyed her presence, even though he would never admit it.
“It wasn’t only because you weren’t willing to give her up,” she answered without waiting for him to ask her. He surely wasn’t going to get to the point anytime soon, anyway. “You treat her different than any other person, even your co-workers. You must like her.”
“They’re my flunkies, not my co-workers,” he corrected her.
Fran shook her head and sighed. “That’s what I meant. Penelope is certainly the only person in this hospital you treat with respect.”
“You sound like
“Your lawyer?” she guessed.
“A friend of mine,” he answered.
Fran cocked an eyebrow at him. “You have friends?”
“Touché,” he smirked. “I’m still trying to get rid of him.”
“That sounds more like you.” She nodded, turning her attention back to her son and his fiancée. The scene was heartbreaking.
“I have to admit, she’s special,” House said honestly.
“Because she can see behind the curtain?” Fran guessed. “She sees the good in everything and everyone. That was Derek’s first sentence when he told me about her.”
“There’s nothing good to be seen in me.” House shrugged.
“Just because you’re trying your best to hide it doesn’t mean no one can see it.” Fran pointed her head towards Penelope’s bed. “She saw it, after all.”
“And you did, too?” House turned his head to look at Fran.
“No,” she replied. “I’m still wondering where Penelope saw it.”
He chuckled slightly, but didn’t say anything.
For a moment, they both remained silent, watching Derek talking to Penelope, getting no response of any kind.
“She certainly can’t hear him, you know,” House said after a few minutes of silence.
Fran snorted slightly. “I honestly don’t think he cares.”
“See, that’s what I don’t understand about this whole relationship and love kind of thing,” he replied. “I mean, why waste your time like that?”
“If you love someone, you want to be with them, no matter what.” Fran sighed. Of course, House wouldn’t understand that – or maybe he just wanted to annoy her.
House snorted at her words. “Love is overrated.”
“Who was she?” Fran asked.
“Pardon?” House frowned at her.
“The woman who broke your heart,” she added. “You said before you don’t believe in love. Now you tell me it’s overrated. You obviously have some profound dislike of couples whatsoever. You think a relationship means one person cheating on the other. This usually means someone broke your heart, and you swore you wouldn’t let it happen again.”
“I thought your son was the profiler,” House grumbled.
Fran shrugged. “It’s a hereditary endowment.”
“You are…” House started, but didn’t seem quite sure how to finish this sentence. For the first time since Fran had met him, he seemed speechless.
“Yes?” she asked innocently.
He smirked at her. “Would you mind going out with me?”
“Yes,” Fran smiled sweetly at him, “I would mind.”
House opened his mouth to shoot back, but was interrupted by Fran’s voice, serious again, every hint of a little playfulness gone. “Just answer me one question, doctor, and don’t lie to me. Do you think Penelope is going to make it?”
“Yes,” he replied without hesitation. “She is strong, and she’s a fighter. She will survive.”
Fran nodded absentmindedly, her eyes wandering back to her son. “What about the baby?” she asked.
There was a long pause, before House answered, “Well, it has both their genes, and they’re both not people who give up easily. The chances, though…”
“Call me if there are any news.” Fran turned to leave, but then turned back to House again. “And leave them alone for a while!”
“Don’t you want to wait for the results?” House held her back.
Fran frowned. “Results of what?”
House pointed down the corridor where Thirteen was walking towards Penelope’s hospital room, pushing a big device in front of her. “Thirteen’s gonna check the baby’s heart sounds. In a few seconds, we’ll be sure whether it’s still alive.”
Fran drew in a deep breath as she watched the young woman sterilizing her hands, putting on the gloves and the mask, and then entering the room.
Derek looked up, and was grateful to see Thirteen and not House stepping into the room.
“How is she?” she asked.
Derek sighed and looked back at the figure of his Baby Girl. “You’re the doctor. You tell me.”
Thirteen gave him a sympathetic smile. Then she carefully pushed up Penelope’s hospital gown. “I’m gonna do an ultrasound and check for the baby’s heart sounds,” she explained.
Derek nodded, squeezing Penelope’s hand.
Taking a deep breath, Thirteen applied the clear gel on Penelope’s abdomen and placed the wand over it. For a few moments, it was dead silent in the room while Thirteen let the wand slide over Penelope’s stomach, trying to find a sound.
There was nothing.
Thirteen frowned and scanned the whole stomach again, slower this time.
Derek’s heart sank. Their baby was dead. Two weeks ago, they hadn’t even known they were going to be parents. Now they weren’t anymore. How was he supposed to tell Penelope once she woke up? Would they ever be able to deal with that?
Derek wasn’t sure he could. What if she didn’t even remember that she’d been pregnant once she woke up?! How was he supposed to explain all that to her?Even though he’d never thought this would happen, for the first time since Penelope had slipped into a coma, Derek was actually glad she wasn’t awake to witness this.