A/N: This is my attempt at writing a fluffy piece. Though it still managed to be depressing. Regardless. I have some other things cooking as well. So, this won't be the last you hear from me. Reviews are like rainbows.
She's examining herself in the mirror when he steps out of the bathroom. She turns to him. "Do I seem paler than usual?"
"Seriously, Jess." She's pulling at her skin and frowning at the mirror. She moves closer and is almost pressing her arm against the glass. "I think I'm paler. Do you see these bruises? I don't even know where these came from. They just appeared."
He comes up behind her, pushing her hair aside and kissing the back of her neck. "Stop. You're obsessing."
She turns around. "I could be seriously ill!"
"Do you want me to take you to the doctor?"
She pouts a little, then smiles. "Yes."
She didn't used to be like this, obsessive. Lately, she's become a hypochondriac and everything is "possibly something serious." A paper cut is a deep gash. An upset stomach is food poisoning. And so on and so forth. He's learned to stop questioning it.
But, he doesn't like going to the doctor. He hates the smell of it. He hates sitting in the waiting room. He hates watching her change into that paper gown.
He admits that she's seemed weak lately, but he doesn't say it out loud. This will only frighten her more. He also admits that mysterious bruises are popping up. He doesn't let on that he's actually afraid this time. That maybe she really is sick. Maybe this is for real. He shakes the thought from his head and tells himself that it's nothing.
But, she's staying in the hospital now. Tests are being done. And his hands won't stop shaking and he doesn't sleep. The apartment lies dormant somewhere in the city while he spends days with her at the hospital, ignoring visiting hours and angry nurses. She has always seemed fragile and now she seems broken.
She wakes up in the morning and sees him slumped over in his chair. He's only been asleep for a few hours and she smiles at him as he stirs awake. She wants to tell him to go home, but she can't. She doesn't really want him to go. She just thinks he needs rest and a shower and to shave. He kisses her on the forehead and tells her, "It's going to be fine." She doesn't believe him, not at all. And neither does he, but it has become his mantra these past few days. Something to keep him sane.
Luke and Lorelai come in the afternoon and he leaves the room for a little while. Really, he sits outside the door and listens to their muffled conversation as he runs his hands through his hair over and over. He feels his throat constrict when he hears her whimper, "Mommy…"
He stretches his legs out in front of him, leaning his head against the wall. Luke comes out of the room and sits next to him on the floor. He puts his head in his hands and lets out a breath. "They needed some time alone." Jess simply nods, not wanting to speak, afraid of what his voice will sound like.
They sit like that, silent and thoughtful. Their eyes don't dare leave the linoleum, though both of them are dying to make easy conversation, as though none of this is happening. He wants to ask his uncle about the diner, about things with Lorelai. He wants it to be simple.
Luke is the first to break the silence. "Jess, she's going to be okay. The doctors say…"
"I know." His tone is harsher than he means for it to be. "They told me she'd just need to go through some treatments and she'd be fine. Good as new."
Luke nods. "What about you? How are you doing?"
"Honestly?" He brings his hands to his face. "I'm scared shitless."
Lorelai emerges from the room and she's crying. Luke quickly stands up and takes her in his arms. Jess watches them comfort each other. Lorelai turns to him then and says, "She…You." She lets out a laugh that is more akin to a sob. "Thank you so much. For being there for her. For doing everything for her." Once again, he only nods in response. "She wants to see you."
He goes back into the room and finds her asleep. He climbs into the bed with her, it's easy with her being so small. He wants to feel her warmth, wants to be next to her. He hasn't taken her for granted. People always say that at times like these you realize you've taken things for granted, you didn't know what you had. It's not true in this case. He knows what he has. He's always known. Every day that he wakes up and she's still there, he is thankful.
Leukemia. He rolls the word around in his head and tries to force it out onto his tongue. But, they say it's curable, almost completely. This hardly eases his mind as he watches her eyes move beneath her eyelids. Her face is sunken. Her eyes have the darkest circles he's ever seen. She's lost too much weight. It scares him to look at her like this. He closes his eyes and focuses his attention on the rise and fall of her chest.
He feels her start to move and watches her eyes as they open. She kisses him and he touches her face gently, barely even making contact. The sun comes in through the window and falls across her face, showing off her freckles and the never ending blue of her eyes. He strokes her hair softly and he examines her face, trying to gauge her emotions at the moment. But, her eyes seem vacant and he doesn't know what this means.
She moves in closer to him and he feels her take a long, deep breath before she buries her face in his chest. He lets himself laugh and tries to lighten the mood. "Your mom thanked me."
She looks up at him. "Really?"
"A patient must've slipped her some of their drugs."
"Probably." She nods. "Or she's starting to come around to the idea of…us."
He smiles slightly and presses his lips to her forehead. When his voice comes, it is shocking even to him. "Marry me."
She freezes next to him, her body stiffens and her eyes grow wide. But, she doesn't respond. He waits and there is nothing. He doesn't say it again. He hadn't planned on saying in the first place, but now he doesn't want to take it back. He lets the silence take over and knows that she is making lists in her head. He can imagine the pro/con list for this. On the cons side: His tendency to disappear, his lack of communication skills, his snoring, and so on.
Her fingers are moving against his chest, random circles and the occasional tapping. She has that look on her face. The look she gets when she's deep in thought. She opens her mouth like she's about to say something, but quickly snaps it shut and furrows her brow once again. Suddenly, she is pressing her face into his shoulder. When she pulls her head back, she looks at him and smiles.
"Quit smoking." She bites her lip and looks at him hopefully.
This isn't what he expected her to say. "What?"
She finds his hand and brings up their entwined fingers for her to look at. "I don't want to be a widow."