Title : Home Is Where the Heart Is

Author : Steph
Rating : PG
Pairing : Robin/Patrick
Category : Romance/Drama/bit of Humor

Disclaimer : I do this out of a love for this couple. No infringement is intended.
Spoilers : Nothing really.
Summary : Robin and Patrick travel to his hometown for his grandmother's funeral.

Note : Thanks for the feedback on "Count on Me". This sort of popped into my head and it was meant to be a one-shot, but it kept growing. It's currently complete at three parts, but you know how that goes. If I tinker and add stuff in, it could get longer. This takes place sometime following the jungle adventure. Robin has returned home. Also, I don't know where Patrick grew up, but people seem to think New York. So I picked a town in Long Island. Anyway, hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you thought! Thanks!

-Steph

--- Home Is Where the Heart Is: Part 1/3---

Robin walked into the locker room, finding Patrick sitting on the bench, his back to her with his head bowed.

"Patrick? Did you forget that you had a consult scheduled with my patient, Mr. Lyman? I paged you twenty minutes ago when you didn't show up."

Patrick raised his head, as he ran a hand down his face. He stood up, but didn't face her.

"Yeah, I'm sorry. Something came up."

Robin's brow furrowed. She walked over and stood in front of him. He moved his eyes to the floor, but she could tell they were red-rimmed.

"Are you okay? What happened?"

Patrick swallowed hard, as he blinked back tears. He lifted his eyes. "I just got a call from a relative back home. My grandmother passed away."

Robin's expression softened. She reached out and touched his arm. "Oh, I'm so sorry."

He nodded. "Thanks. She was eighty-four, but it was unexpected. It must have been her heart. She died in her sleep."

Patrick sank down onto the bench, as if the pain was just too much to bear. Robin sat down next to him. "Were you close?"

Patrick nodded. "She was my maternal grandmother. She lived close to us. I practically lived at her house in the summer when I was a kid. She had a pool and made me cookies everyday."

Robin smiled, as she tried to picture Patrick as a child.

Patrick took a deep breath. "After my mom died, I would make it a point to call her everyday from college. It made me feel closer to my mom, you know?"

"Grandmothers have a way of doing that," Robin said knowingly.

Patrick's lips turned downward. "But once I started medical school and then with my hours at the hospital...I didn't call as much as I should have. And now she's gone."

"I'm sure she knew how much you loved her. I'm sure she understood."

"I was supposed to spend this last Christmas with her, but I didn't want to leave my father. I know how hard Christmas is for him."

"Did your father get along with her?"

"Get along with who?" came Noah's voice from behind them.

Robin and Patrick stood and turned around to face Noah. Robin looked from Noah then to Patrick.

"I should let you guys talk," Robin said and made a move to leave.

Patrick caught her forearm gently with his hand. He looked down at her. "I'd like you to stay."

Patrick wasn't sure why he was always asking Robin to stay during his conversations with his father. They were usually heated and filled with pain from the past. But something about her presence brought him comfort.

Patrick placed his hands on hips and looked at his father, "Grandma Lee."

Noah's brow furrowed at the mention. He swallowed. "Why are you discussing her?"

"Because she's dead," Patrick snapped.

Robin's eyes widened at the blunt way Patrick revealed the news to his father.

"Patrick," she said softly, her eyes lifting to his face.

He didn't meet her gaze, instead focusing on his father, but addressing her. "No, why bother softening the blow? It's not like he cared about her."

"You know that's not true," Noah replied softly.

"Do I? When was the last time you saw her?" he asked.

Noah lowered his eyes, but didn't respond.

"Fine, I'll answer for you. It was after mom died. You saw her at the funeral and that was it. I guess you couldn't stand to face her either."

"She blamed me, Patrick," he said.

"She never said that."

"She didn't have to. I saw it in her eyes."

"She was in pain, Dad. She'd just lost her only daughter."

"And I was the one responsible."

Patrick shook his head, his jaw clenching. "She loved you and she never blamed you."

Noah's eyes filled with tears. "She was a wonderful woman. I remember how impressed I was with her when we first met. She lost her husband when your mother was six and worked two jobs to support her four kids." He paused, shaking his head. "She sacrificed so much so that your mother could have the best life possible. She raised an amazing daughter. I was grateful that she gave me Mattie. And I couldn't stand knowing that I had taken her away from her."

Patrick sighed, a bitter smile appearing on his lips. "You just don't get it, do you? It wasn't about you. When she saw me or talked to me, she felt closer to mom. You could have done the same for her. But no. You were too lost in your own pain and grief to consider what she needed...what anyone else needed."

Noah bobbed his head. "Maybe you're right. I thought I was making it easier on her. I thought one look at me and she'd remember what she had lost. I guess I was wrong."

"So, then you'll go to her funeral with me?" Patrick asked suddenly, his voice soft.

Robin was surprised by the request, as was his father. Noah shook his head. "I don't belong there. Not anymore."

Patrick let out a disgusted breath. "Why am I not surprised? It might be a little difficult, facing the family after all this time. And you've made taking the easy route into an art form. You drank to avoid the pain of losing mom. You chose to die rather than fight to live. Why should this be any different?"

"Please give the family my condolences," Noah whispered, before turning on his heel to leave.

"Give them yourself, you selfish son of a bitch!" Patrick called after him, as the door swung closed.

Robin looked up at Patrick. A tear slipped down his cheek and he swatted at it with his hand roughly.

"Patrick."

"I'm fine," he said.

She took a step forward, bringing her hand to his cheek and gently caressing it.

"No, you're not."

Their eyes held for a moment. Robin moved closer, wrapping her arms around his waist and placing her head against his chest. He slowly brought his arms around her and rested his chin on the top of her head, as he squeezed his eyes shut.

---

Patrick pulled open his car door and got in. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he found Robin sitting in the passenger seat, smiling at him.

"Jesus, you scared the crap out of me," he said, bringing a hand to his forehead.

"Sorry," she replied.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

"I'm going with you to Long Island," she stated.

Patrick's eyes widened. "Excuse me? I don't remember inviting you."

"You didn't have to."

"Why in the world would you want to spend the next three days in Bayshore, Long Island with my family, honoring a woman you've never met?"

She met his eyes and replied softly, "I don't want to spend the next three days with your family, honoring a woman I've never met. I want to spend the next three days with you, helping you honor a woman you loved dearly."

Patrick eyed her for a long moment, his chest tightening at the sentiment. "Why?"

"Because I care about you and I don't think you should be alone right now."

"I have a very big family. I'll be far from alone."

"I know what it's like to be in a room full of people and still feel completely and utterly alone. They don't share the connection that you do with the person you lost. Sometimes you need someone who doesn't have any connection at all to help you through it."

A small smile pulled at his lips. "Is this payback for forcing my way into that jungle adventure and annoying you the whole time?"

She shrugged. "You did that because you care about me, too, no matter what reason you gave. You wanted to be there for me, to help me with my father. I want to do the same for you."

Patrick met her eyes and then slipped the key in the ignition.

"Okay. Thank you," he said softly.

Robin smiled and watched as he backed out of the parking spot. They drove in a comfortable silence for a while, until he glanced at her.

"How exactly did you get in my car anyway? It was locked."

"I have superspy genes, remember? I have my ways."

"So you can do more than just butcher snakes, huh?"

"You have no idea the extent of what I can do," she replied, her tone suddenly seductive and her eyes sparkling.

Patrick tightened his grip on the steering wheel, his knuckles turning white, as he turned his attention back to the road.

"So, what's your family like?" she asked a moment later.

Patrick shrugged. "Like most families. Loud, irritating, makes you wonder if you were switched at birth."

"That bad, huh?"

He smiled. "They're actually really fun. A little crazy maybe, but I think you'll like them."

"I've never really known what it was like to have a large extended family. I mean, I have my Uncle Mac, Felicia, Maxie, and Georgie, but that's really it."

"Well, I've got countless cousins: first, second, third. Aunts and Uncles. It goes on and on."

"It must be nice."

"It is. Family gatherings were always really fun, especially as a kid. And my grandmother was at the center of it all."

Robin grinned. "I bet you were her favorite."

Patrick turned to her, flashing a dimpled smile. "How did you know?"

"You have that way about you. You probably charmed the pants off of her." She reached over and ran a fingertip across his dimple. "I bet that dimple got you out of lots of trouble with her."

His breath caught in his chest from her unexpected touch. He let it out slowly. "Actually, no. But it wasn't from lack of trying. I never got away with anything with her. She just never bought into my whole thing." He paused and then added with a smile. "Kind of like you."

"I definitely think I would have liked her."

"I know you would have. You two are a lot alike. Strong, caring, stubborn, smart." He added, under his breath, "Beautiful, inside and out."

Robin heard the last part, although he hadn't intended her to. Her eyes scanned his face. "Thank you. Comparing me to your grandmother is probably the nicest thing you've ever said to me. Not that there have been a whole lot of nice things to compete against."

He shrugged. "Well, it's true. Maybe that's why I keep coming back no matter how many times you push me away. You remind me of her."

Robin nodded, "That's fine. Just remember who pushed who away last. That would be you doing the pushing."

He sighed, mentally berating himself for unintentionally steering the conversation in this unwanted direction. "You told me the truth, I told you the same. I'm sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear."

"You didn't tell me the truth. The truth would be that you're scared of letting yourself feel like that, opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt. I wonder what your grandmother would say about that."

Patrick's jaw tightened, as he focused on the road.

---

Patrick pulled the car up to the curb and put it in park. He took the key out of the ignition and then looked out the windshield at his grandmother's house. It was just as he remembered. A small two-story colonial. Two big oak trees out front. He pointed at the one on the right.

"I fell out of that one when I was eight. Broke my arm," he said to her, the first words he had spoken since things got a little too real for them...again.

Robin turned to look at him. "What were you doing up in the tree?"

"I'd like to say something real boyish, like building a tree house," he said with a chuckle. "My kite got stuck in the tree and I was trying to free it."

"I never pegged you as the kite-flying type of kid."

He turned to her and raised his eyebrows. "There are a lot of things you don't know about me. Prepare to be surprised."

He looked at the house again and the cars that filled the driveway and lined the street. He didn't make a move to get out of the car.

"Are you waiting for something?" Robin asked.

"Yeah, for this to get easier," he said softly.

Robin placed her hand over his. He raised his eyes to meet hers. "You have to face it first."

With that, she opened her door. A moment later, he followed suit.

---

Patrick took a deep breath, as he turned the doorknob and opened the front door. His senses were immediately assaulted by strange and wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen and loud, boisterous voices coming from every room.

He stopped abruptly after crossing the threshold, causing Robin to slam into his back. She took a step back and rubbed at her nose.

"Why did you stop?"

"It just hit me," he whispered.

"What did?"

"She's really gone," he replied.

Robin moved around him and came to stand in front of him. He continued, his eyes focused on the floor. "I mean, I knew it on an intellectual level, but it didn't seem real until right now. I never crossed the threshold of this house before without my grandmother assaulting me with kisses and greeting me with chocolate chip cookies."

Robin looked at him, her heart breaking at the pain he was feeling. She opened her mouth to say something, but he went on before she could. "It was the same with my mom. It didn't really hit me until I went home and she wasn't standing in the kitchen making my favorite meal."

Robin slipped her hand in his. "Come on, let's go," she said, as she led him down the hallway toward the kitchen.

The small kitchen was filled to capacity with relatives, all talking loudly. Robin was the first to enter and suddenly felt very self-conscious. As if on cue, the voices grew silent and they all turned to look at them. Sensing her discomfort, Patrick moved out from behind her and stood by her side, but didn't break the contact their hands had.

He smiled at his relatives. "Hi."

They all smiled and came rushing at him, enveloping him in big bear hugs, kissing his cheeks, and giving him pats on the back. Robin slipped her hand out of his and moved slightly behind him. After nearly five minutes of greetings, they stepped back and, as if all their heads were controlled by a puppet master, they turned to look at Robin.

She brought a hand up and gave a shy little wave. "Hi."

Patrick put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her to his side. "This is Dr. Robin Scorpio."

Smiles immediately appeared on their faces. Robin's brow furrowed. They were acting as if they knew who she was. A man about Patrick's age with a matching dimple and curly dark hair, stepped forward, extending his hand.

"Hi, I'm Patrick's cousin, Riley." Robin shook his hand and then watched as he nodded, eyeing her. "So, you're Robin. Patrick's told us all about you."

Robin's eyes widened in surprise. She lifted her gaze to Patrick's face. He lowered his to the ground.

"Oh, really."

"Don't worry, nothing but good things." Robin's brow arched at that. Riley shook his head, as a smile spread across his lips. "It's so nice to meet the woman who finally tamed my cousin. I didn't think it could be done. I didn't think such a woman existed. But here you are."

Robin's mouth dropped open. She looked at Patrick out of the corner of her eye, but he was still finding the tile floor fascinating.

She managed a smile and a shrug of her shoulders. "Here I am."

"Well, if you're half as amazing as Patrick's made you out to be, then I know we're all going to love you."

Robin held up a finger, "Could you excuse us for a minute?"

She grabbed Patrick's hand and pulled him back down the hallway. She wove her way through the crowd of people, dragging Patrick behind her. There were people everywhere and she needed a moment alone with him. She finally found a bathroom off the study. She entered, closing the door behind them.

She placed her hands on her hips and glared at him. "Okay, what exactly have you told them about me...us?"

Patrick shrugged. "Nothing. I mentioned you in a few e-mails and phone calls."

"Your cousin is acting like we're about to walk down the aisle!"

"Riley tends to blow things out of proportion."

"Did you tell him we're a couple?"

"I never said that."

"Then why does he think I've tamed you?"

Patrick shrugged his shoulders again. "I don't know. I guess he just took what I said about you and jumped to conclusions."

She took a few steps forward and looked up at him. "What exactly did you say about me?"

Patrick swallowed hard. "He asked if I'd met any interesting women so I mentioned you."

"And?"

"And...I said how you were a doctor and you didn't put up with any of my crap. I told him how smart and strong you are. I may have mentioned something about you being attractive."

"That's it?"

Patrick lowered his eyes. "Well, Riley's not just my cousin, he's my best friend. We grew up together. I tell him things."

"What things?" she asked, her jaw clenched.

"I may have mentioned a make-out session or two."

Robin's eyes widened. "What? Why?"

"He likes to hear what's going on in my life. I think he lives vicariously through me."

"So tell him about a surgery you did or a nurse you flirted with. Don't tell him about us making out!"

"Why not?"

"Why not? Patrick, he knows you. My guess is you never mention a woman you've been with, probably because you don't remember her name or never knew it in the first place. So when you start telling him about the same woman over and over again and then mention us making out, what do you expect him to think? He's going to think we're in a relationship. I'm guessing you conveniently left out our conversations about how you don't want such a thing or he wouldn't have been so misled."

"Well, there's nothing I can do about it now."

"Go in there and set them straight. I'm not spending three days acting as if I'm your girlfriend."

He tilted his head. "Why? What's so bad about that?"

"You tell me. You're the one who doesn't want it."

Patrick sighed. "Look, I've never brought a girl home before. My family's been after me for years to grow up and settle down. It was the one thing my grandmother wanted."

Robin's eyes widened. "Your grandmother thought we-..."

"I just mentioned you in a few phone calls. I guess there was something in my voice. She formed her own conclusions."

Robin groaned. "I guess the question is how did I come up so often?"

Patrick lowered his eyes, replying softly. "I don't know. I would just start talking about what's happening in my life and you would come up. I guess I didn't realize how much a part of my life you've become."

Robin swallowed hard, surprised by the admission.

He sighed. "I would never ask you to do anything you're uncomfortable with, so-..."

She shook her head. "No, it's okay. They're obviously very happy for you. I think they have enough to deal with having lost your grandmother. There's no point in bringing this up. I'll just deal with it, I guess."

Patrick nodded. "Thank you."

Robin turned around and opened the door. Patrick placed his hand on the small of her back and guided her out.

-----------------------------------

Part 2 coming soon...

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it and please let me know what you thought! -Steph