TITLE: Of All The Bad Habits
RATING: T (For Language)
AUTHOR: Castellan Craft
WARNINGS: Samson & Delilah spoilers, language, plus a bit of blood.
TIMELINE: Immediately follows 2x01 Samson & Delilah, during 2x02 Automatic For the People.
SUMMARY: Sarah isn't very good at taking care of herself and that isn't something Derek stands for in those that have to watch his back.
- For cj2017, from the prompt, "some nice post - Samson & Delilah Hurt/Comfort."
AUTHOR'S NOTES: (Originally posted to LiveJournal, names refer to users there) Another down and dirty get the gears grinding one off story. Usually I'd ask cj2017 to beta anything mildly medical, but I wanted this to be a bit more of a surprise for her instead of a tired re-reading of something already beta-ed multiple times. Hopefully I didn't fook up any of these basics too badly, eh? First ever stab at intentional Hurt/Comfort. Kinda inflated to a size I didn't expect. With some uber thankies to schmacky0 for everything from grammar beta to trying to help me spruce this up and not be so boring.
DISCLAIMER: This franchise is not mine. Dear gawd, I wish it was. As it stands though, this is just for gits and shiggles.
Now that John was at school and Cameron was gone for a few hours to identify their best point of infiltration at Serrano Point, Sarah was sure she needed more guns. Derek found himself trailing her from a distance, wanting to know the locations of each cache for the same paranoid reasons she was setting them up around the new house in the first place. Cameron already knew about the shotgun that was going to go in the east wall once they got some spackle, the one under the sink, and the two handguns in the master bedroom. If anything went wrong though, she wanted ones that the Metal wouldn't know about.
Derek tried not to make it obvious he was watching her. He conveniently sipped a beer while she cleaned, loaded, and then shoved a Glock inside a saucepan they'd never use under the center island. He replaced a burnt out light bulb in the same room she was hiding a Berreta in, just behind a line of books that weren't as broad as their neighbors on the shelf. He took a break to make a sandwich once she slunk out to the garage in search of more armor piercing rounds, but didn't even get halfway through eating it before noticing a few fine drops of blood on the floor along the path Sarah had tread earlier. Deciding ham and cheese was too tasty to risk ruining with blood he left it on a plate and went after her.
Sarah heard the heavy footfalls and was already against the wall beside the door when he entered with her Glock trained on him. That much didn't surprise Derek. What was surprising was that she was pointing her .45 at him one handed as her other was white knuckled around the barrel of his Barrett M82. Sarah quickly stowed the hand gun in her waist band and didn't spare him another glance before she went back to evaluating the sniper rifle.
"I didn't even know we had one of these," she muttered as she slid the magazine out and wandered toward the work bench. He didn't reply, still unsure if he should be annoyed that she was messing with his guns or whether to be amused that for such a waif of a woman the massive rifle suited her well. After a few moments she asked, "Don't suppose you'd mind if I stashed this under the couch, would you?"
"Yes, I would mind," he replied automatically and made his way toward her.
She looked up at him at that, expression impassive as she slapped the magazine back in without even having to down look at it. "Pity," she said as she set it on the work surface at hand. "Don't suppose whoever sold it to you has another? I want something soon that could stop Cameron in her tracks with as few shots as possible. John's feelings be damned if she turns on us again."
That right there was almost persuasion enough to let Sarah do whatever the hell she wanted with his favorite gun, but it also reminded him why he followed her out. He stepped up close without preamble and moved her right arm aside with one hand to lift the hem of her shirt with the other.
He only thought in passing about how likely it was he was risking injury in pissing her off, but shrugged it off; in the past, he had to practically knock Kyle down and sit on him to get a wound cleaned out properly. His brother was damn stubborn about not "wasting" antiseptic on him. Derek was banking on Sarah's distaste for being taken care of… but not her knowledge of pressure points. That was something that troops who grew up fighting Metal didn't tend to bother with.
The hand around her wrist quickly had it's grip broken and was pulled into a painful angle, but he just set his jaw and pointed with his other at her bled through bandages with the one finger that wasn't buried in the folds of her shirt. "I know you don't trust the guard dog anymore, but I doubt slipping in your blood will hold it up for long." He couldn't even see the blood on her top due to her habit of wearing black, just felt it as he grasped the fabric.
Sarah gave his wrist a mild tweak in annoyance. "Do you have any concept of manners?"
Derek just grit his teeth against the pain and let her shirt fall back into place. "No, you tend to shelve those when trying to stop some dumb fuck in your platoon from bleeding to death."
"I'm hardly dying," she said waspishly, the angle adjusting and coming closer to forcing him to buckle down onto his knees.
"No but you're still a dumb fuck for pulling your stitches, so get inside Connor." Sarah gave him a withering look for daring to think he could order her, so he threw caution to the wind and took another verbal stab. "Of all the bad habits of Kyle's that could have rubbed off on you, not taking care of yourself is a lousy one."
There was a degree of obvious affront at that, but she let him go and made for the door without another word. He was expecting her to turn around and aim for the face at any moment during the walk back to the house, but her posture was surprisingly subdued. It was only when they reached the back door to the kitchen and he saw his reflection in the glass and he realized he looked just as downcast as she did.
Peeling back the bandages while she leaned against the kitchen counter revealed he was right about the stitches. The constant strain she'd been putting on the fragile area led to a few of the fine threads tearing straight through the skin on one side of the lesion. "He was like that with me too, you know," she said quietly. Sarah saw him shoot her a confused look as he flicked the tap on out of the corner of her eye and explained, "Your brother. As if showing me that the bullet had 'passed right through the meat' was supposed to somehow make me worry less about binding up his arm…" She trailed off and didn't look up from the wound in her stomach at any point to meet his eyes.
He watched her evaluating the injury as he scrubbed his hands. Her tentative probing and unconcerned expression as if the pain was just… disconnected… Derek Reese swore the universe had a cruel sense of humor: John reminding him of his brother was expected, but Sarah doing so too was just a mind fuck.
A lump in his throat was blocking any reply to her story. He didn't want to talk about it. Not now. He'd spent too many years wondering where his brother was and now that the answer was in the grass, the last thing he wanted was to have his head filled with images of how bloodied he was when put there.
After a lengthy silence she made for the living room, head still down, to sit.
The lump in his throat was close to being thick enough to choke on, so he spat out whatever he could on an unrelated topic to dislodge it. "I'm still stuck sleeping on the couch," he said loudly enough to carry out to her as he turned off the tap. "So try to be careful. Blood is a bitch to clean up." It might have been insensitive, but helped break the tension a little bit.
"I should know," she replied just as loudly and in measured tones that were only mildly dour. "I'm sure I scrubbed up at least a gallon of yours at the old house."
As Derek made his way toward her, drying his hands on the way, he saw her reach out for the first aid kit in the duffle bag next to the coffee table with the arm on the same side as the wound. He reached her before she was even half way extended toward it and gave her shoulder a light shove back toward the cushions. "Stop stretching it. If that doesn't hurt enough to remind you to stop being stupid, the painkillers from Dixon are too good."
"I'm not taking them." It was stated like a challenge.
They tried to avoid saying much as her chest would rise and fall with every breath of an argument and make it that much harder to suture, but it wasn't easy to keep quiet. Derek had the bedside manner of, well, a soldier and it grated on Sarah every step of the way. He pushed her into lying down without a word and dragged her arm up over her head to get it out of the way. He thought the sting of alcohol on the wound would be what drew her ire, but it was his motions to expose the injury that annoyed her more: he hadn't acted with enough force to be painful, but firmly enough to finally snap her patience. "I'm not thrashing in the trenches Derek. You keep manhandling me and you're the one that'll need to be patched up."
When he looked up, his face fell slack and the hand that had a minute ago been busy wiping away blood stilled. "Sorry," he said flatly, and lingered on her face a moment more before tossing aside the alcohol wipe and carefully cutting and removing the torn stitches.
It gave her pause because despite being flat, his tenor wasn't unkind. Having been braced for the sarcastic and condescending side of Reese, it was a bit of baffling reaction. As he threaded the needle she finally managed to place it: Derek's diction was closer to that of a man speaking a foreign language, so unused to the word it came out lacking in intonation.
He hesitated for a moment, trying to gently ease both edges of skin closer together instead of just dragging them into meeting with the thread. The fact that one edge was even more ragged from the tear didn't help. It wasn't easy, and he had to clean away the blood weeping down over his left hand twice more to stop the slipping before he was finally able to press the needle in with his right.
"Slight pinch," he said by way of warning before it bit into her skin. It sounded odd hearing one of the trademarks of under exaggerating nurses pass over the lips of Derek Reese, but she just wrote it off as some half assed conciliatory gesture for pissing her off earlier. "What the hell bit such a huge chunk out of you?" He wasn't used to dealing with wounds that gaped quite so much unless they were burns from explosions or plasma shots.
"Pretty sure a piece of the windshield started it," Sarah said as she craned her neck up to survey his work as he tied off the first stitch. She let her head fall back onto the cushions with a muffled flump before adding, "More then sure the heel of Cameron's boot took the rest."
He reached up and brushed her hair out of the way quickly after she said it, drawing her eyes off their default viewing of the ceiling. Derek's jaw tensed for a moment like he was going to say something as he fixed his eyes with the precision of a sniper on her, but he bared it behind his teeth and turned back to her stomach instead. "Another pinch," was all he uttered, but it was ok; he knew she'd figure out the look he'd given her, and just knowing she was aware he was indignant on her behalf was all he'd wanted.
With their seemingly constant sparring match on the shelf for the moment, she took the time to wonder whether she'd even live long enough to have this done the trenches. At least Sarah was sure she still wouldn't flail.
The silence between them was weighty and uncomfortable, made all the longer by how uncharacteristically careful he was being. As he mumbled, "Third stitch, two more after this," she used it as a marker to time how long it would take and decided that silence between this last three painful time stamps would just be too much to deal with.
"I hate needles," Sarah said before she could catch herself as he tied off the third of five.
"Why?" He'd set the needle down temporarily to clean more blood away and clear his view of the task at hand. "You'd think after getting shot so often a needle wouldn't bother you." His gaze was piercing through the profile view of her face he had as she kept her eyes trained on the ceiling stubbornly.
She finally rolled her head to look at him again, hoping that if she could outstare him he'd break away and get back to work. His hands had frustratingly stilled in time with the swell of curiosity, and she berated herself silently for starting in on something that she really didn't want to discuss. Sarah couldn't even blame it on the pain killers she wasn't taking.
Derek tilted his head in a curious way before breaking away from her gaze in such a way that made her feel annoyingly guilty. She knew he wasn't giving in to intimidation, he was relenting out of pity and she would have undoubtedly snapped at him for it if he hadn't started talking so soon after. "We needed dogs to survive once the machines came, but it took me almost a year to get over having one so close 'cause this neurotic Pug bit me when I was only 6. We've all got baggage Connor." He flit his eyes up to hers again for only a brief moment just to punctuate his words. "It's not like I won't get it. Fourth pinch."
In for a penny already, she let out an aggravated huff just after the prick before yielding. "I've needed a lot of stitches in the last three years Reese. Yet all the times I've had a needle in my skin for that reason… it just doesn't even come close to adding up to all the times I've had one driven in to put me down."
Derek knotted the line carefully again, and unconsciously smoothed his hand over her side in what vaguely resembled a comforting gesture. "Mental hospital?" He didn't even have to turn his head to know that if looks could kill, Sarah Connor would have murdered him in that moment. "John," he added simply by way of explanation, followed by, "Fifth: almost done." He almost skipped the warning but had an odd feeling that it might actually be appreciated in helping separate the current memory in the making from the ones she was on the verge of spilling.
"Yeah," she whispered. "Mental hospital." Sarah swallowed thickly as she felt every millimeter of the line pull through her skin. "It's like drowning," she started as the thread stilled, having been pulled through far enough. "The feeling just crushes in on you. No matter how calm you are about swimming, or how much your flail against the water, it makes no difference one way or the other." Her wince was almost imperceptible as he pulled the ends up to bind together. "You can't fight the water if someone is holding you under."
He'd stopped moving and she'd counted each prick; she knew he was done and almost leapt off the couch just to get away from his disturbingly attentive stare and her own insecurities hanging in the air. Derek quickly flattened her down again with an arm across the shoulders though, risking life at limb in the face of how she was bound to react. He just didn't want to see his handiwork undone so quickly, especially since it would lead to scarlet mess in this case.
"Stay down soldier," he said quickly, hoping his timing was enough to diffuse the potential of getting something dislocated. He stepped out of reach fast as a precaution though, and ran a hand furtively through his hair. "I'll get some ice," he said while pointing towards the kitchen and fleeing soon after.
She had wanted to plant a fist in his face for a brief moment but let it seep away with each foot fall of his shoes on the distant linoleum. By the time he returned and extended an ice pack as a peace offering, she even managed to spare him the slightest impression of a smile. Derek looked for a minute like he wanted to reach out to her, but thought better of it before saying, "I'd shoot off anyone that held you under. Just hope you'd do the same for me. My rifle will be under the couch if it comes to that," and walked away to let her nurse her wounds in peace.