AUTHOR'S NOTE: Special shout-out to Luce for prompting me to write a Denny/Izzie drabble (of which there is a severe lack *cries*). This is a 2x27-ish AU.
DISCLAIMER: This is my first attempt at Grey's Anatomy fanfiction. (Characters belong to ABC and Shonda Rimes.)
xx Ashlee Bree
Izzie Stevens is a pulmonary artery. She clings to one man's heart in the same way that arterial walls cling to each pa-pump, pa-pump that defines a heartbeat: she swells to admit every droplet of love he tsunamis through her bloodstream, revering it like the first…treasuring it like the last. His all-consuming current stings like salt as it fills her to capacity, but melts like globules of sugar against her heartbuds. Sweet, sweet blood he provides in rushing rivers; tossing out life rafts energized by ATP and hemoglobin to save her from shriveling lungs that threaten to suffocate her in loss too deep to out-breathe.
Please don't leave me while you're still deoxygenated, Izzie's quiet, quivering lips plead. Please, please don't leave me! My lungs want the blood of your love—only your love's blood—in order to breathe; just like your heart craves the air I provide in bronchioles that makes you feel alive.
He replies with words not spoken, but written in his eyes.
I love you. I love you so much— they, and he, express —but I don't know how many more weak, sputtering arrhythmias me and my congested heart are meant to survive? What if I—
—You can't die, you can't die! As God as my witness, I REFUSE to let you try!
Wiping a hand over his face, he sighs. His fingers brush over his eyebrows and massage the truth, like knots, out of his mind:
I'm sick and tired, Iz. I am so sick and tired of this heart-IV'd-and-wired-up life! Of hospital beds. Of meds and meds and meds…but I'm here for you. I'm still here.
You're the one who keeps me from decaying into permanent paralysis. Like two seeds teeming with fragile life, my feet dig in beside you. They thirst for the water I know you can provide, and all I want is to feed and subsist. For you, I pray I find strength enough to thrive.
Then why not comply? Or just continue to try? Izzie's throbbing brain wants to pry instead of cry. Stay and live and grow with me! Together—together, we'll flourish like two flower petals forever intertwined.
In a few short months, this man has become the red blood cell she wants poised beneath her feet. The essential, steadying element to help her surf through all the rough, curling existential waves that'll splash against her in this crazy world. Harsh and abrupt, problems had already affronted them both like fistfuls of plaque thrown into the eyes. Scratching corneas. Blinding pupils. Dragging black curtains across irises.
…But that's life, isn't it? That's medicine. Both draw escalating, plummeting, zig-zagged lines across the heart monitor screen for no logical reason at all. They bleep high or they bleep low—and sometimes they flat-line without warning. One randomized bleep is all it takes to change the trajectory of someone's life…or death.
Just let this be the end of one chapter and not the end of our entire story, Izzie gulps as she secures nasal prongs in his nostrils. Her hands tremble uncertainly. Nervously.
I want you to know, he offers with a weak smile, that it's you who keeps me from floating toward that bright tunnel of light that awaits me at the end of the hall—YOU. I'm not ready for us to say goodbye.
Izzie tugs at the LVAD wires dangling from his heart atriums and ties them like chains around her wrists. The loose ends she sears to her own chest, tethering man, woman, and pumping machine together as one before she leans in for one more kiss.
Then stay strong. Her lips pucker against his and affection—warm and desperate—melts against his mouth. Fight. Fight for me; fight for us. PLEASE.
Take this new transplanted heart—She fists a hardy, beating organ in her hand and scalpels it into his gaping chest cavity. It thrum-thrums with vitality and the richness of healthy blood as she tucks it behind his protective ribcage. —and be mine. You already were once while in sickness, now be mine once again in health, her latexed hand requests with one last, hopeful squeeze.
Lifting out her surgical hands, Izzie straddles his torso and pumps compressions hard against his pecs. She pushes please-wake-up desperation into him with each thrust of her palm.
One, two, three, four…
Be the charming Capricorn who loves to cook, travel, and flirt with the blonde-haired doctor bargaining with heaven and hell so that you can survive.
Five, six, seven, eight, nine…
Don't give up, don't give up, don't give up!
Ten, eleven, twelve…
Don't leave me here alone. Miserable. Heartbroken.
Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen…
I'm emotionally invested. I am all in. Your love metabolizes inside of me and provides the only adrenalized homeostasis I'll ever know. In my soul, your beautiful heart paints me into rainbows.
Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty…
Yes, I cut all the wires. Yes, I crossed all the doctor-patient lines. Yes, I shattered all the oaths that a medical professional is meant to apply. But maybe—just maybe—I saved this precious love of ours for tomorrows not only meant to be lovely, but divine?
His eyes, heavy with residual anesthesia, flutter open.
Please don't let this recovery go awry, not when it was me…not when it was I!
Tears slip and slide down Izzie's cheeks with each second he remains unconscious. Time passes in hours across a sundial. Her eyes shine bright and shimmer like cracked mirrors, but never smile.
Oh, karma— she prays and laments against his hospital bed —oh, karma, be kind!
Oxygen floods his lungs and he breathes—he defibrillates. Alive, alive! But it's early, a perfect surprise, and she does not yet realize.
This all happened because of me," Izzie blames herself in despise, "because of my selfish and reckless need for love to override. With a scalpel, I surgically-crucified. All she wants to do is cry and cry and cry. His signed DNR spelled disaster and I could not—I would not let him die. How could I possibly utter the word 'goodbye?'
Warmth envelopes his chest and awakens the nerves of his new heart. How they purr, tingle, and chime—oh, so sublime!
Reaching out for her elbow, he traces along the skin of her forearm in large swoops and swirls…then tickles infinity circles over the veins of her wrist…then slides across the hills of her palm until his fingers skate through the webbing between her knuckles and clasp. His fingers clasp soft and tight. Like fire, they ignite when they find what clicks—when two perfect elements unite.
I choose you, Izzie Stevens, he says as their fingers fuse. Expanding together but contracting apart, their two hands become one healthy, pulsating heart—his, the left ventricle; and hers, the right. I choose you.
Forget what we're told
Before we get too old—
—Let's waste time
Around our heads.
We'll do it all—
On our own.
Just know that these things will never change for us at all.
Despite the passing of many years, Denny Duquette's blunt confessions still hit Izzie like a heart attack: Mouth dry. Palms sweaty. Legs shaking, much too weak. Difficult to speak. Head pounding—spinning, spinning spinning. Stomach forever somersaulting from ground into clear sky. Free-falling amid beautiful pain too perfect to deny.
"Just so you know," he said as he stroked her hair, "the soft, quiet moments where I hold you in my arms and feel your warm breath rise and fall against my chest? Those will always be my favorite."
I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel.
"Really? Even more than the great sex?" Izzie asked, lifting her head.
"Yes." He patted her behind. "But sex ranks an extremely close second."
Laughing lightly against his chest, she propped her hands under her chin and tilted her head to look at him, "Understandable. You were deprived of that pleasure for a long time," she said.
"Too long," he smiled, caressing her cheek with his thumb.
Since Izzie's pediatric surgery finished early enough for an evening of wine, popcorn, and TV, she and her once-patient-now-husband found themselves sprawled on a large sectional cuddling beneath a blanket. A League of Their Own played on the television in the background.
"I love when it's just you and me, Denny." Sighing against him, she traced a railroad line drown the front of his shirt where, underneath, a long scar still resided between his pecs. It was a healed reminder of their hellish past. "Everything becomes clear and I remember I need nothing else—no operating challenges or real-life fuss—just the two of us," she said.
We don't need
"This—" she pointed between them "—this feels more precious than vows, more invigorating than surgery, more comforting than home. It's almost like—" she paused, the right word on the tip of her tongue.
"—Heaven?" he finished for her.
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own.
"Yes," she beamed, reveling in his perfect answer. "Heaven."
Lowering her head, Izzie brushed her lips against his stitched-up chest in a genuine and thankful kiss before nestling back into him and listening to the vigorous, drumming rhythm of his heartbeat. Somehow, the ba-bumping lullaby it played in her ear made her feel safe. Untroubled. Complete.
"Whether I deserve it or not, you are my heaven," she whispered. "I love you so much that if I could, I would stay in this moment with you forever."
Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough.
All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see.
Denny folded her more securely in his arms as she spoke and his hands drew circles along her spine, his stubble chafing her skin with each mark of affection he pressed against her forehead. "I knew one day you'd be glad I tricked you into marrying me," he breathed with a chuckle into her hair.
"I am," she replied as she intertwined their fingers, closing the gap between their bodies. "I'm the happiest of happy a woman can be."
"Content to just lay here with me?"
Izzie snuggled further into the crook of his neck, inhaling the fresh Axe scent of his skin, closed her eyes and almost hummed, "There's no better place to be."
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
A/N: My brain's on figurative language kick lately, hence the poetic prose re-imagining of the LVAD-wire cutting/heart transplant. Lyrics are from "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol, a song inextricably linked to Denny and Izzie in my Grey's-loving soul. *forever crying over the s2 finale*
Reviews are lovely. xx