Author: Cassandra Mulder PM
The entire foundation of his life had been rattled, and he was fairly certain she was the only person that could rebuild it. Eli-MaggieRated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Words: 1,828 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 7 - Published: 04-14-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4198206
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Hard Day
Author: Cassandra Mulder
Classification: Eli Stone; Eli/Maggie; angst
Spoilers: Kind of season one in general, but Waiting for That Day specifically.
Disclaimer: I don't own Eli Stone, or any of the characters therin. It all belongs to Greg Berlanti and ABC. No infringement is intended.
Summary: The entire foundation of his life had been rattled, and he was fairly certain she was the only person that could rebuild it.
Written: April 14, 2008
Word Count: 1557
A/N: I can still write! At least, I guess I can. I would like to thank Eli Stone and it's lovely writers, plus Jonny Lee Miller and Julie Gonzalo for their awesome chemistry and heartbreaking scenes together, for making it easy to get inspired and fired up to write this all in one sitting. I hope I did them justice, but even if I just came close it feels good to finally successfully transfer something from brain to paper. I haven't finished anything, or really even written much, since September, and the thought that I might never do so again was starting to drive me nuts. So I hope that you like this little bit of angst, because you know I love to bring it, and that there's more in the future because this drought has been long enough. Remember, feedback, especially to a starving writer, is love!
Even after everything he had seen, Eli still wasn't sure he had totally believed himself until a chunk of the Golden Gate Bridge had fallen into the ocean. But it was said that faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains, so he was glad his leap had saved anyone that would have been in Silver Terrace or on that bridge at the wrong time. The fact that the people around him now believed him just made everything more surreal than it had been the last few months.
Patti gave him one of her infamous looks, followed by a great big hug, and then wandered off to join the small gathering of former Silver Terrace residents that she had called to the park.
Matt and Taylor gave him grateful but slightly awkward glances, and walked away, probably to check on property and Jordan, if they thought about it.
Scott had gone to try to find a quiet place and an open phone line to let the folks back home know he was all right.
This left Eli with Maggie, standing next to the stone wall of the park, looking out at the water and the rain of metal that continued to fall long after the last shift of the earth.
That was how he felt when he looked at her now; like something inside of him was shifting. Like, maybe, as profoundly cheesy as it sounded, he had never really felt before. It wasn't like this with Taylor, it never had been. Taylor was independent, less emotional than most women, and the old Eli had either never minded or never noticed that. She didn't need him, but she said she loved him. She was the boss's daughter and about the only woman under the age of forty-five that he ever saw, so perhaps she had been more of a lovely convenience than his true love.
The new Eli saw Maggie, a spunky mid-western girl who knew what it was to need somebody and not be ashamed; to care about people and not see it as a melodramatic weakness. He saw her warmth and her heart, her innocence and faith, and he couldn't help but be drawn to her. She was always there when he needed someone to believe in him the way in which he was sure God wanted him to believe in himself.
She not only believed in him, she stood up for him without caring who thought they were both crazy. She worked harder than anyone else in his life for him. She dragged weary lawyers, interns, and assistants out of bed at two a.m. for him. No one else he knew was that determined or that brave.
He had seen his future - their future - and it had shaken him to his core. The entire foundation of his life had been rattled, and he was fairly certain she was the only person that could rebuild it.
Why had he been let in on a vital piece of information that would change his life forever, when it was something that should have come naturally, as a surprise? How was he going to look at her and tell her he knew something she didn't and she couldn't get married because of it? What kind of a jackass would it make him look like to ask her to take a chance on him when he could drop dead any second?
He was sure Scott was perfectly healthy, despite meeting him for all of two seconds. He was sure that he could give Maggie a life of absolute certainty that, with the exception of the small hazards of every day life, he would be alive and kicking for the duration.
Eli couldn't promise her that. He couldn't promise her that he wouldn't be a vegetable inside of a week. He couldn't promise her that his vision was true, that they were supposed to be together and have a child, and have the life that she deserved.
But what he felt he could promise her was that she couldn't love Scott the way he suspected she could love him, and the way he was afraid he was just starting to love her.
He turned to look at her fully, squinting into the evening sun, and she turned at the same time, smiling at him. That was the smile that made him want to forget all the complications they faced and just be with her. A wave of need washed over him like he had never felt before, but he couldn't do anything about it. Her fiancé might be lost in the crowd and chaos at the moment, but he was sure he would find his way back soon enough.
"You did it," she said proudly, her eyes shining in that way they seemed to every time she looked at him now.
Eli looked at the grass underneath his feet because he couldn't handle her eyes looking at him like that, and shrugged modestly. "I had a little help."
Maggie took a step closer and nudged him with her shoulder. "I know," she said, glancing toward the sky conspiratorially.
"I didn't mean... Well, Him, too, obviously..." He hated that he sounded like such an idiot whenever he tried to pay her a compliment. "But you were the inspiration to stand up for myself and tell the truth, even if no one ended up believing me. You always are."
She smiled again, her eyes downcast this time. Out of the corner of his eye he could see her slightly bouncing on the balls of her feet like she did when she was nervous.
"I just want you to keep using this gift, Eli. It's important. Look at how many lives you saved today, how many lives you've changed lately. You can't... I heard about the surgery, and I just don't want..." She swallowed hard and her eyes were glazing over with tears again.
He secretly thought he could hear 'to lose you' finishing off her sentence, but it was probably just wishful thinking. He looked at her and frowned. He never could manage to do anything but make her cry.
"Do you have to do it?" she asked softly; almost too softly to be heard over the ever-increasing sirens around them.
He blew out a breath and nodded slowly. "I think I do."
"What do you think it'll change?" she said, seemingly pulling herself together.
"Probably everything," he said.
"But will it be for the best, Eli?"
"That's all I have to hope for," he said, sticking his hands in his pockets and resigning himself to his fate.
She stepped forward and flung her arms around his neck, not seeming to care that her intended could come back at any moment.
Eli pulled his hands from his pockets and gently rested them on her back as he felt her hot tears fall against his neck.
"Do not die on me, Eli Stone," she said in a strong, albeit slightly strangled, voice.
"I can't promise you that, Maggie," he said, even though right now he wished more than anything that he could.
Maggie took half a step back. "You have to." Her voice was still thick with tears and all of the sudden he was afraid.
"Do it, Eli. You can promise me. Promise me and I'll believe you."
He had no idea what she thought she was doing making him promise that a surgery that had almost no success rate wouldn't kill him. Then he thought of his vision and realized maybe she knew something she didn't even really know she knew. Maybe he could count on being in the future for her, but he had to make it through this first.
He could feel his eyes getting wet, and he wished that they could do this somewhere else; be somewhere private and quiet where maybe he could tell her all the things he feared he would never get to say out loud. Instead, he took a deep, slightly shuddering breath and pulled her close one more time, in spite of the risk. He closed his eyes tightly to stem the flow of threatening tears, and pressed his mouth beside her ear.
"I promise I'll do everything I can to make it. For you, I promise, Maggie."
It wasn't as good as 'I think I'm in love with you', or 'I need you', or 'I'm scared', but it was enough to halt the threat of her sobs, and she squeezed him tightly one more time before she stepped back and their arms fell away from each other.
A few moments later Scott chose to inconveniently reappear, and he looked worriedly at Maggie. "Are you okay?" he asked, leaning in to see her face better.
She just rolled her eyes in Eli's direction and nodded her head. "Yeah, sweetie, I'm fine. It's just been a hard day."
Scott just nodded, shook Eli's hand, and he and Maggie said goodbye and walked away, his arm loosely draped across her shoulders.
Eli turned and stared into the water, oblivious of the ominous creaking of the structure in front of him, the perpetual wailing of the sirens, and the mostly stunned crowd milling about him. It had been a hard day, all right, and the days ahead only promised to be harder.