I dashed this off in one afternoon. MAJOR speculation on my part for season 2, including spoilers from the season 1 finale, "More." I'm glad Lea's coming back, and I hope there's lot of great stuff ahead for her and Shaun. Recommended music for those so inclined to listen that helped inspire me to write this story: "Friend Like You" by Joshua Radin; and "You Are the Reason" by Calum Scott.
The last person Dr. Aaron Glassman expected to see walking into his chemotherapy session was Lea, his protege/surrogate son's former neighbor, who, the last Aaron had known, had moved across the country to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
When Lea spotted Dr. Glassman, she walked over to him. "Hello, Dr. Glassman," she said.
"Lea," he replied. "I wasn't aware that you were visiting Shaun."
"I'm not visiting. I've moved back to San Jose," Lea replied. She gestured to an empty chair near Glassman. "May I?"
"Yes," Aaron said.
Lea pulled the chair up beside Aaron's chair and sat down. "How are you feeling?" she asked him.
"Like crap, but it beats the alternative," Aaron said. "Why are you here? I mean, why are you here talking to me?"
"I know that the one and only time we talked before now, it didn't go over well," Lea admitted. "But Shaun and I stayed in touch while I was in Hershey, and before I moved back he...well, he told me about your diagnosis. I hope you're not angry about that. I understand why his other friends had to know, and Dr. Melendez, but Shaun needed someone outside the hospital to lean on through this, because it scares him. The thought of you dying, I mean."
Aaron knew how scared Shaun was about the possibility of Aaron dying. He remembered their arguments when Aaron got his initial diagnosis, and Shaun's insistence that Aaron not only get a second opinion, but also have a biopsy. Shaun had even reached out to Jessica Preston to prevail upon Aaron to get the second opinion, and while Aaron had initially been angry at Jessica for bringing up Maddie, whom Aaron and Jessica had both loved and whose loss they both still keenly felt all these years later, Jessica and Shaun were the closest thing to family Aaron had. He really hadn't expected to get the eleventh-hour reprieve with the biopsy, which Jessica had accompanied him to because Shaun was in surgery with Neil Melendez and the rest of the team of residents, and while Jessica and Shaun both stayed on top of Aaron's treatments, Shaun had neglected to mention Lea's return to Aaron, probably because he didn't think it was relevant to Aaron. They both had enough to deal with already, with Dr. Andrews having, at least temporarily, assumed the hospital presidency while Aaron went through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, and Shaun had been suspended for his mistake in surgery, although everyone but Dr. Morgan Reznick had defended Shaun to the hospital board and the lawyers, including Dr. Kalu, who was now working at a hospital in Colorado, and Jessica.
"You're very important to Shaun," Lea continued. "He loves you like a father. And from what little he's told me, you're more of a father to him than his own ever was. And Shaun isn't just some med student you mentored. He's the son you never had."
"He is," Aaron agreed. He remembered when Shaun had said he didn't want love. But he also remembered when Shaun had asked him to be his friend again, and when Shaun had initiated a hug with him after learning that his brain tumor was treatable after all. Shaun had come a long way emotionally. Lea probably had something to do with that. "He wanted to move to Pennsylvania after you told him you were moving there," Aaron told Lea. "Whatever it was that changed his mind, selfishly, I'm glad he stayed here."
"I came back for a lot of reasons. Shaun is one of them," Lea said. "I care about him too. A lot. He's the only honest guy I've ever known. Including my brother. But that's another story." She paused, then said, "I just...Shaun is important to me. And I know he's important to you, and that you're very important to him. So I need for you and me to be okay with each other, Dr. Glassman."
Aaron nodded once. "Before I met you last year, only one other person ever stood up to me regarding Shaun," he said.
"His brother," Lea replied.
"He told you about Steve?" Aaron asked, surprised.
"A little bit," Lea said. "It's still hard for him to talk about Steve, but I know he loved his brother very much. Shaun is a very loyal person, and when he gives his trust and respect and his...his love to someone else, it's not something to be taken lightly. So I don't want you to think I'm taking it lightly. Because I'm not. I wouldn't."
"That's good to know," Aaron said. "I'm glad you're on his side, Lea. And I was very overbearing the first time we met. I apologize for that. It was the start of a rough patch for Shaun and me, and he was the one who reached out to me to mend fences after he rebuffed an earlier attempt by me. I don't think he would have done that, the reaching out, the emotional work, without being influenced by having you in his life...and his other friends here."
"I accept your apology," Lea replied. "And I'm sorry for threatening to call the cops on you. But I won't apologize for the road trip Shaun and I took. I know it got him in some trouble here, but I also believe it did him a lot of good."
"It did," Aaron assured her.
Shaun entered the room then. "Hello, Lea," Shaun greeted her. "You got here early for lunch."
"I was just chatting with Dr. Glassman here," Lea said, smiling at Shaun as she stood up to greet him, putting her hand on his arm for just a few seconds.
"I forgot to tell you that Lea has moved back," Shaun said. He smiled, but it wasn't a creepy, unnerving smile; it was a genuine smile. "How are you feeling?"
"Ask me again in a few hours. When I'm not throwing up, I may have an answer for you," Aaron replied.
"Chemotherapy makes Dr. Glassman throw up more than I did after I drank tequila on our road trip," Shaun told Lea.
"That's not pleasant," Lea said, looking at Dr. Glassman sympathetically.
"Well, don't let me keep you two from your lunch," Dr. Glassman said.
"Do you need me to accompany you home later, Dr. Glassman?" Shaun asked.
"Jessica can do it today," Dr. Glassman said. "You're on call, and Lea's here."
"Okay," Shaun agreed. "I'll talk to you later, Dr. Glassman."
"I'll talk to you later, Shaun," Aaron replied. "Lea, it's good to see you again. Welcome back."
"Thank you, Dr. Glassman. It's good to be back," Lea said.
As Shaun and Lea were leaving they ran into Jessica, who was coming down from her own office to check on Aaron. Jessica and Aaron watched Shaun and Lea head down the hall, walking side by side, and Shaun said something that made Lea laugh. "So that was Lea," Jessica said as she sat down in the chair Lea had just vacated a few minutes ago.
"That was Lea," Aaron replied. "She's moved back here."
"Good for Shaun," Jessica said quietly. She was getting back out into the dating world after having ended her and Neil's engagement several months ago, but she wasn't looking for forever at the moment. "How are you feeling today?"
"Hopeful," Aaron replied, "about a lot of things."
His treatment was going well. Shaun was off suspension, although Dr. Andrews was watching him even more closely now...but Claire and Park and Dr. Melendez and even Dr. Lim all had Shaun's back, as did Jessica. The hospital presidency would sort itself out in the end. And Lea was back in Shaun's life...and by extension, she was in Aaron's life now too.
He had survived losing Maddie. He would likely survive this cancer. But whatever happened, Shaun had a lot more people in his life now who cared about him and who would be there for him, and that gave Aaron a peace of mind he hadn't fully realized until now he needed.
"Well, I'm ready to take you home whenever you're ready to get out of here," Jessica said.
Aaron smiled. "Okay," he said.