[profile] sunday_reveries: Internal injury.

Oct. 29th, 2009 12:46 am
theirgoldenboy: (Emo)
[personal profile] theirgoldenboy
"Nobody can judge an internal injury by the size of the superficial wound, of the hole."
-Salman Rushdie


A/N: Another fic of doom! Even more so since it's set in the crazy (and not in the good way) 'verse Cliffs of Insanity. Generally, not too fun time; read with 'disturbing content inside' advisement. Partly co-written with [profile] broken_circles. Reid is [personal profile] letsdropin


The TV was on because Mary had been watching it before they left; mute, because Chase had turned the sound down to say 'bye. He was taking her in for another set of procedures, and she had wrinkled her nose at the smell from the book Caleb was taking notes from as she cautiously walked over to hug him. The routine was familiar; her procedures were in the ward where Chase was working, so visits happened. Still, it was different when she wasn't there.

Caleb caught the image of the crash on a familiar local highway by chance, looking up from his reading for a moment, shuffling the notes paper, and froze.

The car looked more like a crumpled paper model than a real vehicle. And it was way, way too well-known. There was a camera shot close enough to see part of the registration plate, too. Flashing lights of ambulances and police car registered around the site, not moving, not rushing off anybody anywhere, as Caleb dove for the remote.

"...once again, the wreck is being cleared from the road, and normal traffic should resume shortly." The picture changed. "And now, the forecast for the next three days..." Caleb stared at the idiot box stupidly before his finger finally moved to turn it off. Dug for his phone... no missed calls, no new message. The landline hadn't rung.

And for the car to look like that, it meant that Chase hadn't been able to--

They knew how to do that kind of thing before they even ascended.

If it wasn't that Caleb was watching the door, and listening for any phone to ring, just because, he wouldn't have just as well shut down. He couldn't bring himself to think. Because the first thought was a single word, and he couldn't--

Gone.

-- no...


They started as enemies, but that really wasn't Caleb's choice. They fought, and Caleb won, but it still wasn't his choice.

Seasons turned and hearts burned, and they ran into each other again, and that wasn't his choice, either.

And then they became something different, and that really wasn't his choice, either. Or maybe, it wasn't his idea. He chose to be a part of it, too.

But once it had started, it was his choice to want to keep it. (So much damage. So much hurt, and without the aggression, all he could see was a puppy that had just gotten kicked again and again. Until it grew up into a mean dog. Mean person. Who then chose to stop trying to bite those who didn't mean to kick him away.) Or no... their choice. Nothing worked over this long if only one wanted it. Even if sometimes looking into the reasons made Caleb dizzy, they did want it.

Bringing Mary home was Chase's choice. Welcoming her and keeping her here was Caleb's, too.


The phone's ringing ran through him nearly as an electric shock, and he coughed in surprise, looking at the caller ID. It was in the phone's memory, one of the hospitals close to the place of the accident. Not the one where Chase worked... had worked... - but he'd been called there for consultation or emergency or Caleb no longer recalled what and it didn't matter because if he thought he'd been in hell in the whatever long since he saw what that truck had made of Chase's car of my partner and our daughter, now he discovered how worse it could get at the mere thought of having to go and identify them.

Blue-green eyes and brown, closed for good.

Not good. That... them... it's not good.

When he thought he had his voice somewhat under control, he picked up.

"Mr. Danvers?"

"Speaking." No, his voice wasn't fully functional, but it would do.

"You are listed as person of contact for Mr. Chase Collins--" He missed words there, because hearing his name cut the air out of his lungs. "... to know if you are aware who holds power of attorney for him?"

Power of attorney? That sounded a little... strange. But he responded out of reflex. "Yes, that would be me." His voice sounded very level and quiet, even to him. He didn't know why he should bother making it more alive, right now. "What needs to be done?"

"Well, nothing yet." Blink. And then there were more words. Chase was in surgery (his breath stopped), and Mary had somehow made it through without a scratch, though if he knew how they could get her medical records (he knew that, he'd get them, the file here at home, the originals were at Chase's ward, but that didn't matter, they would have enough information and their little girl was-- Chase was--), that would be helpful.

More words. Emergency surgery, damage, spinal swelling, cranial injury but he should come out of it all right.

All right.

Both of them, alive.

Caleb's eyes went very wide and round, and his breath resumed and it felt like he was breathing for the first time since he saw the wreck on the idiot box. "Where." Hoarse voice, but the woman on the other end of the line seemed unphased. Or maybe she'd heard it enough times to know just want to do. Detailed instructions given in small words. He scribbled them down in his shorthand, muttered that he'd be there as soon as he could, and dashed off, only tearing the notepad sheet, grabbing his wallet and keys.

... and then had to return to get Mary's medical file. Oh, and his cell phone.


When he got there, Chase was still in surgery. When he asked, he was told that he might be coming out soon, but not yet. No, no complications, Mr. Danvers, but things shouldn't be rushed, could you wait over there?

No, he'd rather not. Instead, he asked again, this time for Mary. Was directed to her room, and it was questionable whose face shone brighter at the sight of the other. He sat on the edge of her bed and she crawled into his lap and he held her close. Murmured words, asking what she felt, sifting through her words to know how much worse than usual it was; what he could tell was it was mostly panic, fear, shock. This, he could help with, starting with not letting go. Talking softly and reassuring her. Telling her how Chase was, as far as he knew. Telling her that they could see him in a little bit, and, of course she could come, too, did she really think he'd leave her behind? This was important, after all! She sighed a little at that, and relaxed a bit.

He didn't let her go. Not when the pediatrician who had taken her in came in to check on the new development. Not as she read through Mary's file, and added the current information, seeing how and why the thorough record was kept and continuing it. She briefed Caleb on the results of her examinations, but he could see that, while not fully hospital procedure, the way he held the girl met with the doctor's approval. He made some not-small talk with her, how yes, he was the legal guardian of the girl, or at least one of them, and the other was in surgery, and he was the one whose specialty was pediatrics, and yes, prognoses were good, but he was still out of reach. The doctor's eyes widened slightly as she processed the fact of the girl being raised by two men - and no, they weren't married - but she could see her patient easing, trusting, and that he was overprotective and careful and did know how to treat her, so she relaxed quickly.

And then a nurse who had caught his initial burst onto the reception area came up to tell him that Chase was out of surgery (danger?) but not yet out of anesthesia, and if he wanted to see him, he could, anyway, even if he wouldn't be awake.

Caleb took the chance; he took their little girl, too. Didn't mean to leave her on her own; besides, she would relax best if she could see, that he was only sleeping.

Which he was. But... not looking too good, either, and the pale face under shaved head, body seeming even thinner than it should framed by immobilizers, fanned more chills, cutting, insuppressible, out from the pit of his belly.

But he was still sleeping, not worse. God, no worse. And - Caleb looked - there was no magic holding him unwell.

More words. Explanations of what had been done to alleviate the injuries - broken bones set, cranial pressure eased. Spinal swelling would mean some paralysis - Caleb didn't clutch Mary harder only by strength of will - but nothing that wouldn't go away when the pressure would be reduced. They wanted to do some procedures which made sense; he'd sign, yes, of course, they'd done a very good job. But all he could think of was closing his eyes and opening them the color of the darkest, starless night and fixing him, fixing him right and quick, there and then. Except he didn't know enough, didn't know how. One arm holding Mary tightly in his lap as he sat by his bed, the other caressed the pale forehead lightly. He didn't know...

But there was somebody who would know.


Reid had barely gotten to bed after a night shift. Or so it felt to him; at the very least, the ringing of his phone seemed to reach to him through a wall of cotton. He mumbled something at the little device, more a complaint than actually swearing at it - by his standards - and pressed the 'answer' button and held it to his ear, eyes still closed.

"Hello?"

"Reid." Caleb's voice made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, and sleep-muzzledness vanished quickly.

"Caleb. What's happened."

"Chase and Mary were in an accident." Reid sat up in bed, then shot out of it and started pulling on his jeans.

"Hold on. Where are you, I'm coming over."

"Hey, get some books. I want to see what we're dealing with. SEE it."

Yes, Reid was awake enough to know what it meant. "Caleb. Chase won't like it. Pogue won't like it. I don't--"

"I know. But right now, Chase's got no say, and I would rather know what I'm doing instead of blundering blind, wouldn't you? Just--"

Reid sighed. "Fine. Tell me what they told you, I'll see what I can do." He listened to the diagnose, it sounded like Caleb was reading from the card at the foot of a bed, while browsing through his stuff half-dressed. "Hey. Adult or... pediatric."

"Adult." A pause. "Mary's okay, he had time to--" Quieter, and Reid could imagine him looking around, just in case, "shield her proper."

"That's at least good." His brain was working too much on the medical aspect to meddle with the magical yet; besides, Chase would be the one who could answer best. "Right. Can you ask them when he can be transferred?"

"What?"

"Ask when he can be transferred. To where he works, for example. I'll bet he's donated blood or what-not there, we can make a case that he can be better cared for there."

"... what I meant was why, Reid."

"... Because I hear you on the 'I'll get him fixed' part and you don't want to do it while he's under observation. Not how he is, it'll freak my esteemed colleagues out and they'll keep him for tests till forever and a day."

"Oh. But..."

"... and you can get what needs done while he's on the way. I'll drive."

"Huh. Okay, that makes sense."

... words simple as that really shouldn't have made him this absurdly praised, right? Never mind. He got down the name of the hospital and said he could find it, and hang up, finishing getting dressed, packing up the books, and heading out.


Caleb's nose was buried in the books in the small waiting room beside Chase's room while the paperwork was done for the transfer arrangement. It hadn't been that hard; throwing in that Mary's procedures had been supposed to start today didn't harm, never mind that right now, Caleb had no intention of checking her in. He could feel the girl's eyes on him from where she was curled up in Reid's lap. He looked up to meet both his daughter's (yes, she was. Never mind that there wasn't a blood bond between them) and then his friend's eyes. The child was still terrified; seeing Chase had alleviated the fears that they were all lying to her and he was gone like her parents were gone, but then she was worried that he was going to be sick always, and louder noises tended to startle her, and no, she wasn't doing well.

A small whisper of power made him look up again, and Reid shrugged gently, kissing the dark hair of the girl now sleeping in his arms. "She can use the rest. Don't glare, I do know what I'm doing, even with her."

Caleb sighed, and looked away. He probably did, at that. Reid and Chase managed to talk in Medical and he suspected that some of their conversations were indeed about Mary. Anyway... while on the topic of Medical. Back to the words. To the images. And yes, knowing what the words of the diagnosis meant precisely was chilling him, too, because that was still plenty of damage. Besides the surgical cuts and scrapes and bruises, there was almost no damage on him externally. But that was... so very misleading. And it was one thing to know it conceptually and quite another to know the details, immediately like this.

I will fix that.

Yes.

He won't like it.

No. But he would like being paralyzed and hurting even less.

He's alive. They're alive.

Yes.


There were papers to sign, and they started preparing Chase for moving him. Caleb was ready. He held his hand for a moment, even if he knew that he was drugged enough to not be awake at all. Just because. Then he took the sleeping Mary from Reid and headed down to the car, curling with her in the back seat. The blond took the driver's place a few moments later, dropping the bag of books on the passenger seat, and looked back.

"Know what you're doing now?"

Caleb passed him the keys before answering. "I think so." Quietly, so as not to wake up the girl.

"Still sure you wanna do it?"

"Yes."

"And you'll be able to?"

That only got him a flat stare. Reid sighed. Then tilted his head towards the hospital's doors. "We can start when we can see him, I think. No need to get distracted by driving. Be done while they're getting him into the ambulance."

"We?"

The blond quirked an eyebrow, and Caleb's expression softened a bit. He reached forward and rested a hand on his shoulder briefly. "Thanks."

"No sweat. Still might want to leave it get better on its own..."

"No."

And then the doors opened and the gurney was out on the asphalt, and they were both tingling with power, attention focused on the man being transported. Fix... fix...

"Hey. Leave the drugs. At least the anesthetic. All of it."

"Hmm? Oh." That... made sense, why hadn't he thought about it? No time for the question. Once it started, he'd better get it right. Time stretched and rushed at the same time as he used his Power in a way, with a precision, that he hadn't. Complexity. He could feel Reid's familiar touch against it, but he worked quickly and in concentration, letting the other Power guide him, but he had it.

And then his attention was back out, as the blond's voice spoke quietly, "that's enough. It's okay now."

Caleb sagged back against his seat, trembling. "You sure?"

"Yes." Just a bit of a wry tone to his voice. "It's looking better now. He'll still have to do a little recovery on his own, but nothing near what it was." Look over his shoulder. "Check out after a few hours. Want to bet on a number?"

The older man snorted quietly, and finally let go of his Power, though it was an effort. His eyes, following the loading up of the gurney into the ambulance, flicked to Reid. "No, thanks." Suddenly bright grin, with the feel of magic so close, right around a corner of perception, his body tingling with it.

The blue eyes stayed on him. "It's different... you have... a lot."

"Hmm?" But he knew what Reid was talking about, stalling, hoping he'd refrain from--

"When we all work together, we resonate and magnify the power and there's a lot, not just the sum of the parts. But just working with you alone now... you have..."

"A lot." Caleb closed his eyes, buried his face against Mary's hair as she shifted in his hold, still asleep. "Double, in fact. My father's, too."

Reid blinked. Murmured. "When Chase..."

"Yes. Are you going to follow the ambulance, or do you know a shortcut."

The blond shook his head, and the face he had on was 'well that explains a lot of things...' - but he did turn and start the car. "You didn't tell us." You didn't tell me. He heard the actual words; he'd learned to, with time. And while he couldn't see his face, he knew the exact look on it now, from those almost, but not really, confusing months close to the end of Harvard for them. Great.

"Did you want to know?"

"Caleb."

He sighed. "Nothing to be done about it, Reid. Wasn't my choice. I just ... live with it."

The blond head first bobbed in a nod, then shook slightly. "You okay?"

"I probably will be... no, I know I will be." Deep breath. "We all will be."

"Damn right." A soft sigh, and Caleb could see Reid forcing the hurt away. Somehow. Yes, he was sorry for causing it. He couldn't change it now, not enough ... attention to fix it. Not-pain. Something. "Good work back there." Quieter.

The older boy let himself relax. Gratitude washing through him as he let go. Soft, accepting... both. And the knowledge that they'd talk again. "I hope so."


Mary was still asleep when Chase's medications wore out and he blinked his eyes open. Caleb was sitting by the bed, holding his hand when he felt fingers tighten around his.

"... Ow."

"Hey." Their eyes met, and Chase's widened.

"Mary? Is she--"

"Okay. She's okay. Sleeping." That let him lean back against the pillows, and that was how much they got out before the room was filled with people, from the monitored body data, he guessed.

And there was chaos. Reid passed the sleeping girl to Caleb and took over, making suggestions and offering solutions with just enough of the jargon, throwing just enough of the weight of his local-medic reputation, as to get the whole chaos directed towards running the actual tests again and speeding Chase's release incredibly, by what the older man could tell. He, in turn, decided that wisdom dictated that he keep out of the way and keep his mouth shut.

He got water and some acceptable snack - familiar territory - for Mary for when she woke up. And waited for the flurry of activity to be over. Slowly, it settled. Until Reid flopped on the next seat and grinned over at him, slightly manic still. "I think he's all yours."

"Holding hands?"

"No, the supports and shit are off. I'd not recommend actual gymnastics here, though." He reached to take Mary. "Go."

Caleb's lips twitched, very slightly. Then he looked down at the girl. "Hey, she has been asleep for a while, did you..."

"No, it's alright." Reid flashed the calculator-watch. "Not that long. Just seems that way."

"Oh." Looked up at him, then carefully transferred the girl, his girl, their girl, and shifted away. "Thanks again."

Grin. "Don't worry about it." As in, it'll be okay, we're still here.

Caleb was still shaking his head when he entered Chase's room. And his amusement stopped, seeing him still so... pale. Shaved, bed-bound... He sat on the bed, now ran the back of his fingers along his cheek. Then swallowed, and opened his arms as Chase rose a bit, and wrapped them around him, pressing him close, just holding and being held back. As gently as possible, but still tight. All of a sudden, beyond words.

That's how they stayed for a while. He didn't even know how long. Eventually, Chase spoke, quietly, hoarsely. "It's okay. You're okay. I'm okay."

His own words sounded quiet and strangled. "Your car looked..." Even worse than Pogue's bike had, actually. But that only choked him up worse, and he tried to move away from that thought. Small headshake, tiny, really. "Anyway. Yeah, Mary's okay, asleep in the waiting room. Reid's with her." Chase probably had seen the blond already. He was babbling obvious information. Great, very comforting. So he added, "I didn't check her in."

It still seemed to help, though - the other man relaxed a bit, nodded slightly. "Good. Good, Reid's good." And no comment on the rest... good. Just his hand sort of lightly moving over Caleb's back. "I really liked that car..."

Caleb shuddered. Wanted to call him brat before his mind caught up with what his partner might or might not know. Something. His throat was closed up again, anyway, and he just clung tighter. Chase would figure things out, he'd heard enough of his colleagues stressing out around - he'd have questions soon enough. Caleb didn't need to poke him into it, not yet. He was just glad that he was okay now and awake and ohgod that was too damn close...

Chase's arms tightened around him. "Hey." Soft voice, soothing through the bout of panic. "I'm right here. Talking to you." Gently, smiling, it was in how the words sounded. "Getting squished by you. I'm right here. See?" he pulled back enough to wrap his hands around Caleb's. "Feel. I'm right here."

Caleb concentrated on taking a long breath. Making an effort, great effort, to pull out of this. Whatever state it was that grief and panic and worry and Using had left him in. "You are." Squeezing his hands, yes. Quietly. "When I saw the wreck on TV, I didn't think you would be. Here." Which was as far as he got before his face twisted for the first time, and he was gasping for breath all of a sudden, curling into the other man, back to clinging.

He felt the arms around him tighten, fingers through his hair, hand warm and cupping the back of his head, just holding him close and tight, so perfectly tight. "Shhh..." Softly, gently. "Babe, it's okay. It's okay." Rocking him a bit, motion, yes. He could. "It's okay, babe. It's just the car, I'm fine. I'm fine, Mary's fine. Everybody's fine. Everything's going to be okay. No one's going anywhere."

Caleb nodded and sniffled into his shoulder, in answer. After a few moments, he pulled himself together, at least marginally. "I couldn't... couldn't stand to lose you. Can't..."

Chase's voice was quivering a bit, too. "You didn't lose me. You're not going to lose me. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere."

Shaky breath. "Actually, we're both going home as soon as they discharge you." But his voice was too rough to sound light, even with the effort. And he thought he was going for a sigh, but it kind of came out more of a sob. Great. "Right here sounds perfect." Words didn't make sense anymore, again, nothing did. So he was clinging now. It would get better.

"Which, after your help, should be in a few hours, instead of a few days." Caleb heard the gentle rebuke, but didn't rise up to anything, and Chase added, "I'm right here, babe. Okay?" Quiet. And then he pulled back and cupped Caleb's face in his hands, looking at him for a moment, something in his eyes, clear now, so clear and beautiful. "I love you, and I'm right here with you, and I'm not going anywhere."

"Weeks maybe." Caleb blinked his sight clear, could see his lashes darker, wet with the tears. Took a shaky breath and met the blue-green eyes, his own barely widening. Softly. Pulling enough control back together to be able to process what ... just happened. For the first time, in all the years since they... had been together. And to mean the response. "I love you, too."

Chase nodded slightly. Then leaned in to kiss him softly. And Caleb closed his eyes and kissed him back. His hold was still tight and close, but was now gentler, tendered, while still ... hovering around clinging. "Will be okay. Everything." Deep breath, and after another moment. "Do you... need to lie back down, to rest a bit more?"

Chase shook his head a little and smiled wryly. "I'll rest when we get home." Home. Their home.

It seemed moments later only when another dark-haired head peeked around the door frame. She was barely noticed, so quiet, before she crossed over the distance to the bed, in her laborious steps, and crawled onto the bed.

They clung to each other very tightly indeed.


Outside, Reid watched the girl disappear into the room, sighed, ran a hand over his face. Didn't look inside, didn't have to, really. Took out his phone and leaned back into the waiting room seat. Dialed.

"Hey, Pogue? I'm, um... Don't flip. Chase has been in an accident. Well, him and Mary, really, but they're both all right." A pause. "Yes, I'm sure. Caleb... helped Chase... a lot. I'm... didn't know when and how he'd call, but I thought you'd want to know. Yeah, no, he's not... he's fine, I think, thought not... really happy or anything. I just... if you want to, check on them tonight or tomorrow?"

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Caleb Danvers

July 2011

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