Author: purplepagoda PM
After the season finale. Jackie takes Cruz home, to make sure that he gets home safely. She offers a shoulder to cry on. But, when to giants go toe to toe, someone always falls. Or, one of them makes a mistake. Or, often times, both of them do.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 19 - Words: 16,234 - Reviews: 44 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 05-17-13 - Published: 06-21-12 - id: 8242968
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Eleanor, and her newborn are both sound asleep. Coop sits next to the bed, unmoving. He looks up at Jackie, with a grin.
"Go home, you've had a long day," he suggests.
"I should be here."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Are you sure?"
"She can yell at us about it, tomorrow."
"Ok," Jackie agrees.
She leaves the room, and heads for the elevator. Jackie finds Cruz, standing in front of the nurses station, like a lost puppy. She sees a look on his face, that she recognizes. A look she, herself, has worn before. The one that you wear, when everything in your life has turned to shit, and you have no one to turn to, and so you make bad choices.
"Don't say anything," he warns.
She ignores, him, and grabs his arm, gently.
"Come on," she begins to drags him away.
"I don't want to."
"I want to make sure that you get home safely."
"You are not my babysitter, I'll be fine," he argues.
"I'm not doing this for you," she tells him.
"Don't do it to make yourself feel better."
"I'm not doing this for me, either."
He takes a deep breath, and he allows her to escort him out of the building. They make their way into the parking garage. She holds out her hand.
"Keys," she tells him.
"You're not driving my car."
"You are in no condition to drive. I know that you hate me. I know that you hate the whole world right now, but you've got to trust me."
"Then just trust the mistakes that I've made."
He takes the keys out of his pocket, and hands them to her. She takes the keys, and climbs into the driver's seat. He gets in the vehicle, next to her.
The car ride to his place is silent. She parks outside his building. He looks at her, as she turns, to get out. He furrows his brow, and refuses to look her way.
"Come on," she says softly.
"Come on, I got you, " she tells him.
"Ok," he nods.
She follows him into the building. He fumbles with his keys, when he reaches the door. She gently slides them from his hand, and unlocks the door. She pushes it open. He steps into the apartment. She walks in behind him, and closes the door.
"I'm home safely, you can go now," he tells her, as he tugs at his tie.
She helps him get his tie off.
"I don't need your help," his nostrils flare.
"Listen, and listen carefully, because I am only going to say this once. I don't like you. And, I would love nothing more, than to see you fall, but not like this. I've been in tough situations. Situations, that make you reach for the first thing that you can find. And, when you don't have a shoulder to cry on, you reach for a bottle, or a pipe, or a needle, or a pill. Tonight..." she swallows hard, blinking away tears, "I don't want to have to relive tonight. I don't want to watch you come into my ER, like that. Do you understand me?"
"Why are you doing this?"
"You know why."
"No, I don't. I don't understand why you're being nice to me. I just fired you. I don't understand why you..." he begins to break down.
"Because, I loved your kid."
"He wasn't yours to love," he clenches his jaw.
"He was yours, and you didn't do a good enough job. You were supposed to protect him. You were supposed to love him, and be there for him, and you weren't."
"That's harsh. I just..."
"I know, but the last thing you need, right now, is someone to lie to you. Because, then, it becomes too easy. Eventually you don't know where the truth starts, and the lies start."
"I am not you."
"But you could be. You hate me, because I don't take people's shit. You hate that..."
"I don't want to do this, right now."
"What do you want? A bottle of tequila, and a couple of Vicodin?"
"Are you offering?"
"I have neither, could get both, but will not."
"I failed, as a father."
"What do you want me to say to that? Would you like to argue?"
"Why is it that you are so brutally honest with everyone, but yourself?"
"I am not brutally honest.""About other people's lives," he clarifies.
"I have been a nurse for a long time."
"You can lie to a patient and tell them what they want to hear, and sometimes, that is the best thing you can do. And, sometimes you tell the truth, and they hate you for it, for a while, but eventually, they respect you for it."
"On the worst day of your life, you don't want people to pity you, you just want answers."
"You've been doing this for too long," he tells her.
"And, you haven't been doing it long enough."
"You should go. I'm a grown man, I'll be ok," he tells her.
"No, I don't think so."
"The couch looks comfortable," she adds.
"Why did you like my son, so much?"
"He was like me. He was the me, that I used to be. I thought that if I took him under my wing, that maybe I could help him. I thought that I could be the support, that I never had," she answers, nearly getting teary eyed.
"You were," he tells her.
"It wasn't enough."
"My son thought the world of you. And, now he's dead, and that's my fault."
She doesn't argue, "It's been a long day, you should get some sleep," she says, instead.
And in that moment, he's looking into her eyes. She's standing entirely too close to him. He steps closer, she doesn't back up. She never backs away from him, or backs down. And that was dangerous. He takes a deep breath, trying to keep from making a mistake. But as he breathes in, he catches a whiff of her scent. Sweat, from a long day, a hint of Degree, and a dash of baby lotion, from the new baby she had been holding earlier.
And, without much warning, his lips are on hers. After a few seconds he pulls away. She looks at him, in confusion, and shock, and... something he can't quite put his finger on.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that. That was out of line."