Venéra in Silence and Color
by Valerie Vancollie
valeriev84 at hotmail dot com
Spoilers: General ones for the first three and a half seasons.
Note: This fic was written for the Charlie/Amita and/or Megan/Larry round at Numb3rs Write-Off. I was a member of Team Angst and chose the word prompt 'silence.'
Something was wrong.
It was the first thought to penetrate Megan's mind. She wasn't sure what, but something was wrong.
Sluggishly, she tried to figure out 'what' was wrong. Or where she was, for that matter. She knew she wasn't in her bed. It smelled wrong and she wasn't lying down; at least not completely. Panic began to creep in as she failed to place her whereabouts and she seemed unable to open her eyes.
Her reactions were off.
The thought came to her despite the growing panic; her training kicking in. First things first: she needed to establish where she was, then she could figure out what had happened and how she'd gotten there. Since she seemed to be in a sitting position, leaning forwards, she reached out with her arms to push herself up.
Megan cried out as pain lanced through her, slamming into her mind. She fought the urge to black out and instead kept still, simply riding it out. When the pain had finally lessened somewhat, she took stock of her injuries. Most of the pain seemed to be emanating from her left side, all the way from her shoulder and arm, right down to her leg which felt like it was being squeezed by a vice. Her head was also pounding.
Well, that, at least, explained why she felt so sluggish and slow.
Carefully, Megan lifted her right arm and brought her hand to her face. It felt sticky and wet. Blood. It had to be. Another brief flare of panic was ruthlessly shoved down as she scrubbed at the liquid gumming her eyes shut. Her assessment was confirmed when she finally managed to open her eyes to a kaleidoscope of red.
Slowly, Megan was able to focus beyond the color to what she was actually seeing. Before her appeared to be what was a giant spider web. At least it looked like it, all cloudy and red. But there were multiple webs, seemingly interconnected. Closer to her, in front of the spider webs, and covered in blood, was a semicircle that took her a few moments to identify as a steering wheel.
A steering wheel. She was in a car. Why was she unconscious in a car? She had a vague memory of panic as the car refused to slow when she pushed the break pedal and the dizzying rush of cars as she frantically tried to avoid them, but nothing else. It was all fuzzy, kind of the way she felt now.
Megan groaned in frustration and pain before she froze. She'd groaned, she was sure of it... so why hadn't she heard it? Hesitantly, she made another sound, too afraid to actually say anything.
She knew she'd made the noise, she could feel it in her throat and mouth. Yet she couldn't hear it.
"Hello," she said softly, panic starting to creep in once more as she was unable to hear her own voice. "Hello!" louder, a scream, it had to be.
So why did she not hear it?
Was she deaf?
Slowly, Megan raised her good arm and gently touched her right ear. There was no blood running out of it, which was probably a good thing. Ever so carefully, she reached around and felt her left ear. Here there was blood, but she wasn't sure if it was from her ear itself or from higher up. Even if it was from her ear, did that explain the hearing loss? She should know- she'd taken several first aid classes over the years and had the field training with the Bureau- but she simply couldn't remember.
Where were the paramedics anyway? Someone should have called them, there'd been enough people around. Megan squinted, trying to see through the multitude of cracks in the glass in front of her. Unable to really see anything, she carefully turned her head to the right, intending to glance out of the passenger side window, and froze.
There was a man beside her in the passenger seat.
He lay slumped forwards, held up only by his seatbelt. Blood slowly ran from his forehead, down his face to drip from his nose and chin onto his lap. More blood was splattered on the dashboard and the window.
Down his face. His face...
Recognition came with a jolt.
The wounded man beside her was Larry.
"Larry!" Megan called out, or at least she hoped she did, but he didn't respond.
Briefly Megan hoped that her voice was gone, just like her hearing, instead of Larry being unresponsive, but she knew better. If he were conscious, he wouldn't be slumped against the seatbelt. At least he didn't appear to be physically trapped like she was. That was little comfort, though, given the amount of blood she could see. She suspected that even if she weren't already seeing red, there wouldn't be much else to see.
Panic was starting to feel really familiar to Megan.
"Larry!" she called again before reaching out.
Was he alive? How badly injured was he? Was he dying?
Megan cried out as she overextended, jarring her left shoulder and pulling her side and leg. Instinctively, she jerked her arm back, crying out again as she hit it against the dashboard in her hast. Clutching her injured side in as desperate attempt to stop the pain, she squeezed her eyes shut and forced herself to remain conscious.
It would be bad to pass out now. She wasn't sure why, but Megan knew it would be bad. With her eyes closed and the pain, it took her a while to realize that she could hear something... buzzing. Buzzing; like the hornets' nest her elder sister had upset once in the backyard. She'd been sure there were thousands of them, all black and yellow. Black and yellow. Such pretty colors. Not to wear, of course, not together, but pretty colors nonetheless. Not bad like red. Red wasn't nice, especially when it was all you could see. Even now, with her eyes tightly shut, she could still see the red. Only now it was flashes of red instead of red-tinted spider webs. Crimson and ruby. Scarlet and carmine. Blood and danger. Red, red, red.
There was some white as well. Larry liked white. He liked it a lot. Larry liked to eat white. Only now Larry was red too; she'd seen it. Red Larry. Did that make Larry bad? Like red was bad? No! Larry was good and he would stay good.
Was Larry still alive?
Megan slowly forced her eyes open again and frowned. She could see a new color now. Blue. Or reddish-blue really. It was pretty, but uneven. For a second it was there and then it was gone. Then it was there and gone again. There. Gone. There. Gone. There. Gone. There. Gone. There. Gone.
Why did it do that?
There. Gone. There. Gone. There. Gone.
Blue. Red. Blue. Red. Blue. Red.
Blue spider webs. Red spider webs. Blue spider webs. Red spider webs. Blue-
Don liked blue. Even when he was blue. Don looked good in blue too.
Why was there blue? There was red from the blood and white from Larry, but why blue?
There. Gone. There. Gone. There. Gone.
She knew this blue. Megan frowned as she observed the flashes, trying to figure out how she knew the blue. Finally it hit her and her eyes darted to the right. There, halfway between herself and Larry, on the dashboard was the source of the blue. Her car's police light. Why was it on? She hadn't turned it on. Had she?
Images of what happened flashed before her. The end of the case.
Which couldn't have come soon enough! Charlie and Larry at the
office. Don sending her home. Herself offering Larry a ride. The
trip. Speaking with Larry. Planning. The brakes not working. Panic.
Desperation. Cars. Cars whizzing past as she swerved and fought the
wheel. Fought for control. Honks. Angry yells. Baby on board. Lights.
The screech of tires. Larry's cry of alarm. The truck. Her decision.
Megan's vision started to fade out as she hyperventilated, the sudden rush of images too much where there'd hardly been any before. And sound. There was sound in her memories, making the buzzing in her ears all the more pronounced now. Why was it all she could hear? The siren must be going with the lights. There had to be noise outside; cars and people and cops and paramedics. Why couldn't she hear them?
"Larry," Megan whispered, turning her head to face his still form. "Larry. Wake up, Larry! I need you. I need you, Larry. Do you hear me? I need you. I need you now! Larry!"
Her throat told her she was shouting, her ears told her she wasn't. Maybe Larry couldn't hear either? Maybe that was why he didn't respond. If only she could hear, then maybe she'd be able to hear him breathing. It would be good. Even if he was wheezing it would be good to hear. She'd know he was alive.
Alive like Uncle Mitch when he tried to smoke and ended up coughing and wheezing for breath. But Uncle Mitch had died. Lung cancer. Would Larry have lung cancer if he was wheezing? She didn't want him to have lung cancer. That would be bad. Larry didn't smoke, so hopefully he wouldn't have lung cancer.
Megan frowned, why would Larry be wheezing like Uncle Mitch if he didn't smoke and didn't have lung cancer? Larry didn't look like he was wheezing; not that she'd be able to hear it if he was because she couldn't hear. At least if he was wheezing she'd know he was alive. Alive like Uncle Mit-
Megan jerked in her seat, causing pain to lance through her, as a face suddenly appeared pressed up against the window behind Larry's seat.
Relief flooded through Megan before she frowned. Red. He had red hair. Was he a bad man? Like the bad men she'd caught today? But they hadn't had red hair. Or hands. Why weren't their hands red if they were caught red-handed? Were they caught red-handed if their hands weren't red?
A sudden breeze of cool air made Megan look back again, though the position pained her. The door was open. Had the red man opened it? He must have because he appeared a moment later, speaking. At least she thought he was as his lips were moving and he'd look really odd if he did that without speaking.
"Cop," Megan said suddenly, realizing he wore a uniform.
It was okay. Cops were good. Even red cops. So why was he frowning at her? She was about to ask when he turned around. That wasn't nice.
Megan turned her head forwards again as her neck and left shoulder started to complain loudly. It hurt and she was stuck and Larry was bleeding. Was Larry still alive? What would she do if he wasn't? She'd miss him. Miss him just like she'd missed him when he was up in space. She didn't want to miss him like that again. At least he'd been alive in space. If he was-
A hand suddenly reached past her from behind her and touched the dashboard. Instantly the blue vanished from her world. It was gone. Not gone like: There. Gone. but gone-gone. Now there was just red.
Red spider webs. Red Larry. Red cop.
She wanted blue back.
She liked blue. Don liked blue. If the blue stayed, Don would come. She needed the blue back.
Determined, Megan reached out despite the pain and touched the dashboard where the hand had pushed. The blue stayed gone. Why didn't the blue come back? She wanted the blue back! Don would come if the blue was there. He liked blue, so he liked the blue. Again and again she tried to bring the blue back before she had to stop as even the red started to vanish, swallowed up by black. Surely red was better than black. Right?
A sudden tug at her waist caused Megan to look down. What had happened? She couldn't see anything. Looking around she saw Red behind her. He was holding a gun. It was a familiar gun. Her eyes widened as she looked down again. Her gun was gone. He had taken her gun! Red had her gun.
"Mine," Megan declared petulantly as she looked at Red again.
Red talked; his lips moved.
Megan watched for a second before interrupted, "mine! Mine. My gun. Give me my gun back."
Red didn't listen, instead he gave the gun to an arm that appeared in the car.
"No!" Megan insisted. "Mine. Give it back. Now."
Then there was someone else where the arm had been and the door next to Larry opened.
White. These people were white. Larry would like that. Larry would like white people with him. White was good. But Larry ate white. Would Larry eat the white people? Were white people tasty like white food?
Megan jerked and cried out as something touched her right arm. She swung around to look, the red briefly overtaken by white as she moved too quickly, before she saw Red again. He looked sorry now. Sorry and worried. Why was Red worried? It was bad when red was afraid. Red was danger and blood. Danger and blood weren't afraid, they were the afraid makers. The afraiders.
That didn't sound right.
Pain shot through her again and she cried out.
What was happening? She hadn't moved. It shouldn't hurt like this if she didn't move! But it felt like she had moved, only she hadn't. But there was movement. The puddle of red on the dashboard rippled. So there was movement. But if she hadn't moved and it moved, then what? Was the car moving? The car shouldn't move. It had hit the truck. No, the truck had hit the car. Or had the car hit the truck while the truck hit the car?
Yes! Larry had said so.
"...an equal and opposite reaction..."
The truck had hit the car while the car hit the truck. So the car shouldn't move. Unless the truck was moving?
Another movement, a flare of pain and black eclipsed the red.
Something was wrong.
Megan wasn't sure what, but something was wrong.
She hurt. Her arm hurt, her shoulder hurt, her leg hurt, her side hurt, her head hurt.
Where was she?
Her eyelids felt like lead as she slowly forced them open. Everything was blurry and she had to blink as few times before she could see.
She was looking at the sky. The night sky. It was beautiful, littered with stars. There was Orion and Perseus and Cassiopeia and-
Why was she outside when she hurt? She should be inside. With a doctor or hospital. No in a hospital with a doctor. Yes. That.
Megan turned her head slowly and winced. There was a truck. A big truck and it too was hurt. There was something stuck to it. Something black and glass and metal with wheels. Oh. A car. There was a car stuck to the truck. Why was there a car stuck to the truck? It shouldn't be. The car should be next to the truck. Or before it or behind it. Not stuck to it. Bad car.
There were lights coming from next to the car but she couldn't turn her head to see them. She couldn't move her arms either. Why couldn't she move her arms? Megan frowned and looked down. She was wrapped in a blanket. The blanket was tied together. That was odd. Blankets weren't normally tied up.
Pain radiated through her as she tried to move. She finally got her right arm free but she was tired now, very tired. Unable to keep her head up anymore, she put it back down and looked at the sky. So many stars. Big stars and small stars. There was even one twinkling star. No, wait, that wasn't a star. That was something else. Something...
That was Venus.
Venus. Ishtar. Inanna. Vesper. Lucifer. Aphrodite. Venéra. Astarte.
"-second planet from the sun and sixth largest. It has been known to humanity since antiquity but was misidentified as a wandering star. It wasn't until Pythagoras that the Evening Star and the Morning Star were realized to be the same body. Ironically enough, it was commonly misidentified as an unidentified flying object by the uneducated masses. Galileo saw that it had Moon-like phases which proved it orbited the sun and not Earth. I'm sure you know what that led to. Anyway, Venus is the dominant mistress of our skies, the only planet in our solar system to be given a female name. It is known to the West after the Greco-Roman goddess of love. Which really goes to show-"
She was Larry's Venus.
He'd said so.
Megan smiled at the memory, her right hand unconsciously reaching up as if to caress the twinkling planet, mimicking her boyfriend's gesture from last week. They'd laid in her backyard then. On a picnic blanket in her backyard. He'd come down from the monastery to spend some time with her. She'd made dinner. A white dinner. Pasta with cod and cauliflower in a cheesy béchamel sauce. White.
White, white, white.
White fish, white vegetable, white sauce.
Megan frowned. Pasta wasn't white. It was too yellow to be white. Not that it was yellow-yellow, but it wasn't white-white either, more like a golden-white really. But then, vanilla ice-cream wasn't really white-white either; it had black in it. Little, itty-bitty, black speckles. Surely black was worse than golden? And Larry thought vanilla ice-cream was good. He made it. So golden-white must be good too.
Megan nodded with satisfaction, wincing as pain lanced through her head. Larry had liked the dinner, and dessert too. The rice pudding had been excellent.
They'd had the rice pudding outside while gazing at the stars. Outside on the picnic blanket while gazing at the stars. The picnic blanket in her backyard. The picnic blanket was white too; she'd noticed when she spilled some of the white rice pudding on it. White rice pudding on the white picnic blanket. Outside in her backyard. At night under the stars.
Like she was outside under the stars now.
Only there was no white rice pudding here. And no white picnic blanket. She was wrapped in a white blanket, though. Larry would like the blanket. Megan's frown returned. Larry. Larry wasn't here either. Where was Larry?
"Larry?" Megan called out, softly, but there was no reply.
Was Larry even nearby? She only lay outside looking at the stars with Larry. Except when Larry was with the stars. Then she'd look at the stars to see Larry. Larry wasn't with the stars now, was he? No! He'd come back, back to her.
"Larry!" Megan tried to get up but couldn't.
It hurt and she was tired and everything went white and black. White and black. White didn't like black, so why was it joining black now? But then it was gone and there was... red. Megan blinked at the red before she realized it was hair. Red hair. The hair moved and she saw a face. She frowned at the face, did she know the face? Did she know the red hair? The lips moved but she couldn't hear the voice of the red hair. Why couldn't she hear? Was she deaf? She didn't think she was deaf. She remembered Larry's voice. She couldn't remember a voice if she was deaf. Could she?
Then there were more people. People in white and people in black and people in blue. Too many people. She couldn't see them all. Why were there so many people?
Megan cried out as she was moved. It hurt! Why did they move her when it hurt?
Suddenly she was inside. The sky was gone and instead there was white-gray above her and only two people were left. She didn't like the people. They hurt her. They touched and they hurt.
The black was suddenly back. At the edge of her vision, slowly creeping in. Then there was movement once more and everything went dark.
Up and down. Up and down.
Slowly she went up and then down, not violently, but gently. Like she was floating on water. Yes, that's what it felt like. Water with gentle waves that took her up and then down. She was floating.
Above her was a sky. A beautiful sky. It was a clear blue with clouds. Not the dark, ominous kind that heralded a storm, but the fluffy white kind seen in those cheesy films her sisters liked so much. They weren't cheesy now. They were relaxing.
"Megan? Can you hear me?"
She felt very relaxed, her whole body thrummed with it.
"Is she okay?"
She could stay here forever, just floating.
"She moved and I thought she was waking up again."
The moon was visible near the horizon. It was nearly full and she suddenly couldn't wait until dark so that she could float in it's light. She loved being on the water at night.
"Oh. I'm going to go get something to eat, do you want anything?"
Especially when the moon was out. But even when it wasn't, the reflection of the stars on the dark water was enough to satisfy her.
It had been that way for years. Ever since she'd been little and her mother had taken her down to the lake one evening. They'd spent an hour just sitting there, talking and enjoying each other's company. That was before the bad times.
"Megan, can you hear me?"
The sky seemed to hum with the voice. It pulsed as if it were alive for a second.
"Come on, I know you're there."
There it was again. The sky responding. Or, not the sky, rather not the clouds, just the heavens. Just the blue.
"-lue," she tried.
"I knew you were awake," the sky whispered, pleased. "Can you open your eyes for me?"
"Blue?" Megan tried again.
There was soft rumble, but a good one, during which the blue pulsed. "When this is over, you're going to have to explain this color obsession you've got going. And why you keep calling me Blue."
"You like blue. Blue good," she replied.
Slowly the sky and water vanished and Megan forced her eyes open, blinking a few times to clear her vision.
"There, that wasn't that hard, was it?" Don questioned as he leaned forwards with a smile.
"Don," Megan whispered, her throat dry.
"Here," Don said, releasing her hand to pick up a cup sitting on a table next to her bed. "Slowly now."
Obediently, Megan took a few sips as she looked at her boss. He seemed tired, tired and worried, more so than she was used to seeing and that said a lot.
"You don't remember?"
"Should I?" Megan asked, frowning.
"I didn't mean the crash. You don't remember waking before, do you?"
"I was awake before?"
"Yes," Don replied gently. "Twice, though you weren't really coherent the first time. The doctors said it was the drugs, they had you on some pretty heavy stuff. Still do, actually."
"Was I shot?" Megan questioned, but then frowned. No, that didn't sound right. "You said crash?"
"You were in a car accident, decided to test the laws of physics by getting up close and personal with a truck."
"My fault?" Megan inquired, suddenly remembering a rush of images and her struggles with the wheel. "I lost control. I hit someone."
"No, you didn't," Don stated firmly. "It wasn't your fault. Do you remember the Pritchard brothers? The case we were working?"
"The serial rapists?"
"Didn't we catch them?"
"We did, but it seems the younger one didn't like the fact that we were closing in on them. Or more particularly, that you were closing in on them."
"Prejudiced," Megan recalled, the way they'd appraised her as a piece of meat still quite clear. "Sexist."
"Exactly, and you were shattering their beliefs. Henry went to your house last night, he was too afraid to try taking you himself, so he sabotaged your car instead. Disabled the airbags and messed with the brake lines."
"No, I'm Blue. You've been quite insistent about that."
"No, the airbags, or lack thereof. That's why there was so much red, so much blood."
"You remember?" Don asked, his voice sounding strained.
"Some," Megan murmured, frustrated that she recalled so very little. "It was on the wheel and the dashboard and- Oh! Larry! Larry was in the car. He was hurt! Is he okay?"
"Megan!" Don said, instantly on his feet, reaching out to hold her down. "Don't move."
"Larry. Tell me he's okay, please! He wasn't moving and I couldn't reach him."
"He's alive," Don stated loudly, firmly, even as he refused to let her struggle free.
There was a loud beeping which Megan belatedly realized was an alarm of some sort, emanating from some of the varied machinery around her bed.
"Alive?" she repeated, slowly calming. "He's not dead?"
"No, he's not dead," Don assured her, watching her closely as he let go. "Will you stay put? You can't move or you'll pull the stitches."
"Stitches? What stitches?"
"The ones in your side," a nurse declared as she entered the room. "Is everything okay?"
"Yes, she just remembered something alarming," Don responded, not taking his eyes from Megan as the nurse turned off the alarm.
"What have I said about exciting my patient? She needs rest and relaxation if she's to heal."
"What's that?" Megan questioned as the woman injected something into her IV.
"A light sedative. You'll wind up in surgery again if you don't calm down."
"Part of the car door embedded itself into your side. It caused quite a bit of damage, but they were able to fix most of it and your doctor says that unless there are complications, you should recover completely."
"Embedded itself in me?" Megan repeated, not fully understanding, as she glanced down at herself for the first time. "A cast," she realized as she saw her right arm. "Did I break it?"
"Fractured," the nurse stated. "It too should heal. Call me if you require anything."
"Surgery and a fractured arm. What about my leg? I couldn't move it either."
"Your leg was merely trapped in the wreckage," Don explained. "Painfully trapped, but otherwise untouched. You were quite lucky, it could have been a lot worse."
"What about my hearing? Why couldn't I hear anything?"
"The doctors aren't a hundred percent sure. You took a good knock to the head, a high grade concussion. They believe that may be responsible for the hearing loss and general disorientation you experienced."
"And... and Larry?" Megan wasn't sure she wanted to know.
"A concussion as well. His was a lot less severe, though."
"But- but the blood. There was so much of it."
"Apparently it looked a lot worse than it was. Other than the concussion, all Larry has is whiplash and nasty set of bruises from the seatbelt. Thanks to you."
"Thanks to me?"
"You may not remember it, but you performed some fancy driving. You managed to avoid a lot of cars and undoubtedly saved lives doing so. It's also quite clear that you made a decision when it came to the truck. You couldn't avoid it, but it should have hit the passenger side. Instead you managed to turn enough so it hit your side. Crash experts say you saved Larry's life."
"I- I did?" Megan asked hopefully, vaguely remembering the split-second decision even as she felt the sedative start to take effect.
"Yes. Charlie's got the math to prove it, too."
"Charlie? He, he worked the scene?"
"Couldn't keep him away from it," Don explained with an exasperated sigh.
"Where is Larry? Can I see him?"
"Not just yet, but soon. He's on the second floor for observation but Charlie says the doctors expect to release him soon. He'll come straight here, he's been asking about you incessantly."
"Charlie's with him?"
"Yes, so don't you worry about him. You need to concentrate on getting better yourself."
"Were you able to prove it?"
"What? That Pritchard sabotaged your car? You better belief it. He's never going to get out of jail now. Ten rapes and the attempted murder of a Federal Agent, not to mention a whole slew of other charges. It's over for him."
"Good." Then, even as she felt herself slipping once more, Megan recalled something. "Don?"
"You said. Blue. That I'd been insistent?"
"Oh, yes. The first time you woke up you wouldn't call me anything else. Even yesterday it was more Blue than Don."
"Ah," Megan uttered, flushing. "Um."
"Don't worry about it," Don assured her. "We can talk about it later."
Which didn't sound very reassuring in her opinion, but later was good.
Larry would be there later and he would help her. Even if it was against Don. Larry could probably also enlist Charlie's help and together they would triumph.
Please let me know what you think of this fic! Leave a review or send me an e-mail. Thanks.