A moment in between


Izzie let out a low sigh and opened her eyes, looking around the room.

He hadn't been at home enough to have made this room special for her now. There was no trace of him here, nothing of him left behind… only what she was holding in her hands now. This stuffed pink elephant with purple glass eyes that had been bought at the hospital gift shop. This one little thing, this stupid looking stuffed elephant smelt of him… smelt of vanilla and pain and that horrible sterile hospital smell that Izzie couldn't seem to escape.

She let out another soft sigh and gently stroked the elephant, named Mr. Bubbles, as she slowly rose to her feet.

She paused at the bedroom door, and looked once more at her son's room. There was no trace of him in there, it was too neat and tidy to have been a child's room. He was never home long enough to have made it his own, to have imprinted memories in there for her to hold onto now.

Clutching Mr. Bubbles to her chest she turned the bedroom light off and closed the door behind her.

The house was a mess. Stacks of dishes were balanced in the kitchen sink, two garbage bags sat on the kitchen floor filled with paper cups, plates and plastic forks and dozens of fold-out chairs stood awkwardly in the lounge and front room.

Izzie blocked it all out, promising herself that she would clean tomorrow…. She knew this sadness wouldn't just evaporate by morning, it would motivate her to clean, to nest… to do anything but stop and think about how much she was hurting.

She walked to the kitchen and leaned against the drawers, still holding Mr. Bubbles to her chest. She looked up when she heard a glass bottle clang against a table; a noise that came from outside…. She followed the sound to the back porch.

She stood in the back doorway for a moment, staring at him. His eyes were red raw and staring into nothingness, at their back garden they'd never got around to fixing up…

"Hiding?" she murmured, taking a seat beside Denny on the small swing set.

He didn't look up, only stared straight ahead.

She eyed the bottle of beer on the small table beside him, but bit her tongue.

"I thought you were sleeping…" she continued in her hushed tone.

"Couldn't" he replied.

She slowly reached a hand over, gently placing it over one of Denny's. This contact registered with him and he slowly looked down at her hand on top of his, and then his eyes drifted over to the stuffed pink elephant she was holding.

"Mr. Bubbles" he whispered.

Izzie forced a small smile, "do you remember when he got this?" she asked.

Denny looked up and his eyes locked with Izzie's, "The day he was born" he said, matter-of-factly.

Izzie nodded, a real smile breaking through and lighting up her face for a moment, as the memory drifted her back to another time and place, so much different from the one she found herself living in right now.

"A present from George…" Denny reached over and stroked the pink fur, "…he couldn't sleep without it" he pulled his hand away, bringing it up to his face to swipe at the fresh tears that had started to fall.

Izzie entwined her fingers with his, squeezing his hand hard.

Denny swiped furiously at his cheeks, and then exhaled. "I'm sorry…" he murmured.

Izzie creased her brow, "Don't be, Denny…" she began.

"No, no" he interrupted, "I shouldn't be doing this, I shouldn't… this was hard on you too, hell, it was probably harder for you… I should be the one comforting you, not falling apart every second…"

Izzie shifted her body, twisting it to face Denny, she let go of his hand and let Mr. Bubbles sit between them as she cupped Denny's head in both her hands and gently planted a kiss on his lips.

Pulling away he saw the tears streaming down her cheeks, "We share this" she whispered, leaning in so her forehead rested against his, "we share this…"

"Izzie…" he tried.

She pulled her head back and lowered her hands, still staring into his eyes. "We buried our son today, Denny… we're aloud to break down, as many times as we want without having to apologize to each other for being so damn sad and weak" he opened his mouth, about to interrupt, but she quickly leaned in, kissing his lips again.

When she pulled away Denny brushed his fingers against her warm, wet cheek. Staring into her sad, chestnut eyes he sighed, "You look so beautiful". She did. Even in her black funeral clothes, even with this sadness wrapped around her and bags underneath her kind eyes, she looked beautiful.

Izzie let a small smile curve her lips as she closed her eyes and leaned into Denny's warm hand against her cheek.

"…Jesus" Denny breathed, "I am so sorry Izzie".

She opened her eyes again and Denny lowered his hand, "No, stop saying that…" she began.

He shook his head, "I'm sorry for all of it"

"Denny…"

"…I'm sorry I ever met you"

Izzie stopped herself. Denny turned his face away as she stared at him, shocked and hurt.

"What?" she murmured.

He still refused to look at her, so she furiously hit his arm. "What did you just say?" she demanded, her voice rising.

Denny looked back at her, "If I hadn't met you at Seattle Grace, if I'd just been smart and not fallen for you…. If I had died…" he had barely gotten the words out when Izzie reached her hand up, slapping him across the face.

She rushed inside; in the kitchen she leaned against the drawers again, doubled over she felt like she couldn't breathe.

In a moment Denny was standing beside her, rubbing her back, asking if she was alright.

Suddenly feeling a surge of energy Izzie stood straight and pushed Denny away hard, crying furiously with heaving breaths she screamed "How dare you!"

"Izzie…" Denny tried, inching forward, but Izzie only hit out at him again… and he let her. He let her hit him again and again until there was nothing left but her heaving cries, and she finally fell into his arms, which encased her while she cried. They slumped to the kitchen floor, against the drawers, Izzie's body in Denny's arms… and he waited until her tears subsided.

"How could you say that?" she finally asked.

"It's true, Iz" he replied, simply.

"No, it's not…"

She wriggled out of his arms, looking into his eyes, "no, its not" she repeated.

"Since you met me I have caused you nothing but heartache…"

"That's not true…" she tried, but he kept talking.

"…All that time I spent in the hospital, you never knew if I was going to live or die… you lost your internship because of me…"

"I loved you… I love you!" she interjected.

Denny shook his head, "it's not enough though…" he sighed and continued, "You lost everything because of me… you ended up as a nurse, working her fingers to the bone, scrimping and saving with me to move in to some lousy house in South Carolina…"

Izzie shook her head, but Denny continued. "…and I couldn't even give you a family!"

"Don't you dare" she whispered harshly under her breath. Denny reached over squeezing her hand, "Ayden was born with a weak heart, just like me… he didn't live to the age of four, because of me, because of what I gave him…" Denny was crying now, but he couldn't stop, all the guilt just slipped out.

He brought his knees up to his chin, lowered his head and started crying all over again… and after a moment or two, he felt Izzie's hand pulling at his own, trying to get him to lift his head and look at her.

Eventually, he relented and saw into her clear eyes.

"My turn" she whispered.

"Iz…"

She shook her head, "It's my turn now. We're taking turns, I've decided – it's polite and it keeps me from yelling…." She forced a small, awkward smile as she ran her fingers through Denny's hair, never tearing her eyes away from his.

Maybe I'm just living out the same old stories in and out
But you know that don't make it easier
Time will fly away with me if truth won't stop and let me see
And tell me I am to believe that you and I should never be again
I'm drowning

"Don't you ever feel sorry for me and my heartache, okay? Every choice I made, I am proud of… I don't regret anything, especially not you….especially not you. I chose to wake up with you every morning, and go to bed with you every night and not for one moment have I ever regretted the moments in between… not for one moment" she leaned over, kissing his lips and pulling away, "It hasn't been a fairytale, but when I chose to give everything up for you I made that decision knowing perfectly well how much life can just plain suck, but I chose you anyway because what's so Goddam great about easy?" at that, Denny let out a small, breathy laugh, and reached for Izzie's hand as she continued, "having a family was always going to be a gamble with us, with your condition… and we lucked out, we lucked out big time but I am just so glad that I got to know our son, even if it was only for three years. And all the pain aside, because God knows there was a lot of pain… I will never say that I regret having Ayden, even if he was taken away from us too soon… I will always miss him, I will always love him but I will never regret having a child with you!"

When the one you leave is the one thing you believe
You say goodbye when underneath your one belief
That love rules all, conquers all

"Izzie…" Denny started to shake his head again, but Izzie just squeezed his hand and continued.

Its funny how the times that seem unbearable
Are the ones that you don't ever want to end
And when your childhood slips away
You find you face a brand new day
And you know it can't be the same again

"And as for me being better off if you'd just died…. Well, that's just not true and you know it. All those moments in between? All those moments, Denny… I wouldn't give those up for anything!" she cupped his head in her hands again, leaned in and kissed his lips hard and fast. Pulling away her eyes locked with his, "You don't get to apologize for the choices that I made, you just don't, Denny… and you don't get to take this burden of sadness on all by yourself,… because I choseyou, I chose this heartache, and we get to share this, we get to share this…."

'Cause when you leave you stayed in my memory
You say goodbye for now and have a drink for us
And good luck and find your way

At that, Denny leaned over and kissed Izzie's lips, a deep, hard kiss that seemed to last and last.

Clawing out will sometimes seem so far away
Never knowing if I'll live to see another day
Never seem to find out what to do
No one seems to tell you
'Cause you're drowning

When he pulled away they leaned their heads in close, Izzie's fingers brushing against Denny's cheek, she whispered "and this is the good part, so listen close… I love you".

When the one you leave is the one thing you believe
You say goodbye when underneath your one belief
That love rules all, conquers all
That love rules all, it conquers all


SONG: Missy Higgins "Drowning"