Rating: Hard T: copious amounts of bad language, discussion of adult themes, violence and broken bones.
Word Count: This part 3,000.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. Wish I did.
Never a Good Day… 6/6
"I can't believe I'm doing this. It's madness! I could lose my job." Anna had already disconnected Sarah from the monitor and was removing the IV line from her foot. "You're not well enough to be leaving yet. Your pressure is still borderline, you're still anemic, you only just had surgery, you'll need physio…"
Sarah cut her off. "I'll be fine."
"You won't be fine!"
"I'll be alive."
The simple statement made Anna pause. She studied Sarah, who was trying to swing her legs around but not making much headway. Derek moved to help her, dropping her legs off the side of the bed and guiding her forward, mindful of her fractured ribs.
"How long until your people get here?" Resigning herself to the inevitable – no, they still didn't want the police, yes, they really were leaving against her advice, and yes, any help she could provide would be gratefully accepted – Anna handed Sarah a set of scrubs.
"Two hours, hopefully less." Sarah had passed the scrubs to Derek. "I need this IV out."
Shaking her head, Anna opened a drawer and took out a small packet. "I'll cap it off. Keep the line in. I can give you a couple of units of blood to take with you. You know what you're doing with them?" This to Derek, who nodded. "Yeah, thought so. I can't give you any morphine, it's a controlled drug, but she's going to need something."
"We'll manage." He knew that their own morphine stock was more than adequate, and that Sarah would undoubtedly downgrade herself to Tylenol as soon as she was away from the hospital. He looked at the scrubs he was holding. "Do you want me to give you a minute?" He didn't think Sarah was too concerned about her modesty, not after today, but he still felt obliged to ask.
Ever practical, she shook her head with a wry smile. "I appreciate the offer, but I could use a hand."
He didn't comment, just helped her to untie and drop the gown from her shoulders, then wrestle the scrubs top over her head, as Anna threaded her feet into the trousers.
"Think you can stand for a second so I can pull these up?" The skepticism in Anna's question was unmistakeable, and Sarah would probably have ended up on the floor in an effort to try and prove the doctor wrong, had Derek not pre-empted her by moving to stand in front of her.
"Hold onto my shoulders, Sarah." Wrapping his arms around her, Derek kept her upright as she slipped off the bed and quickly realized that perhaps she wasn't quite as recovered as she had hoped. "You okay?" He felt her nod against his neck, but she didn't seem capable of actual speech. "C'mon, sit down before you fall down."
She went back onto the bed without a protest, eyes closed as she waited for the breathlessness to pass.
"That'll be the anemia I mentioned." Anna couldn't help the slightly smug undertone, but the concern in her voice was more prominent. "Look, stay here as long as you can. I'll bring you something to eat. I already told the night staff not to let anyone know that you're here. They're all curious as hell, but they won't say anything, and they just think I'm pulling a double shift as usual." Sarah's eyes were open now, but she looked so exhausted that Anna put all her reservations aside in an effort to just make things smoother for them. "When you leave, you're better using the West Entrance, it's a supply one. There won't be anyone around at this time of night…"
The cell phone vibrated only once before Derek answered it. John's voice, curt and stressed, on the other end.
"West Entrance, fifteen minutes. My mom okay?"
"She's okay." Derek kept his voice low, glancing at Sarah as she dozed fitfully. "She ate Jello, somehow managed not to puke. Now she's asleep."
His succinct update surprised a bark of laughter out of John. "She must be feeling like shit, she hates that stuff. See you in fifteen." The call disconnected.
Everything was ready. A bag packed with medical supplies and the spare units of blood was sitting on a wheelchair, and Anna had even found a jacket for Sarah in the lost property box. The doctor was due back any minute. Derek reached over reluctantly to wake Sarah, but she sensed his movement before he had the chance and opened her eyes, instantly alert.
"Is it time?"
He nodded. "Yes, time to go."
Checking her watch, Anna locked her office and began to make her way back to Sarah's room. She had promised to help them to the entrance, mindful of the fact that Sarah could barely stand and Derek could barely walk.
"Doctor Matthews!" The young receptionist had obviously been on her way to find Anna and looked immensely relieved to have done so.
"Something wrong, Elise?" Anna hoped against hope that they had just run out of admission forms again, or that Mike the unruly drunk had decided to bed down in the waiting room, but she suspected that she was about to be disappointed.
"There's a man." The receptionist's voice was hushed, conspiratorial. "At the desk. He's asking about the woman."
Shit. This wasn't fair. Anna had already admitted to herself that she had probably been wrong about everything; she didn't need any further proof turning up to rub it in. But somehow thinking about it in these terms stopped her from being as terrified as she otherwise would have been.
"What have you told him?"
"Nothing, but he won't go away. Is he with the police?"
"Did you recognize him?" It was a fair question; the town had a small police force who were all known to the local residents, and Anna allowed herself to hope, for a second.
"No! Maybe he's FBI."
"Maybe." Anna knew there was no way in hell that Sheriff Morgan would let the FBI run around on his turf without him being there to interfere as much as humanly possible. "Elise, why don't you go and get a coffee? I'll speak to him, okay?"
The receptionist nodded slowly, torn between wanting to know what was going on and not wanting to go and deal with the man who had given her a serious case of the creeps.
"Okay," Anna repeated, as Elise headed to the staffroom and she walked towards the reception area. "Oh, FBI my ass."
The man in question, who looked like the archetype of muscle for hire, had moved behind the abandoned desk and was working his way through the files in one of the trays. He wouldn't find anything - all of Sarah's notes were securely locked in her office - but his actions made Anna's blood boil.
"Can I ask what you're doing, sir?"
He looked up immediately, and walked unhurriedly to the front of the desk, not at all concerned that he had been caught in the act. "I need information on a woman who was treated here."
"A lot of women are treated here. You're going to have to be more specific."
Ten minutes. Ten minutes to stall him and allow Sarah and Derek to get to the other side of the hospital. She wasn't going to be able to help them with that; this was going to be her only opportunity now to ensure their safety.
"Do you have her name, sir? Then I can run it through the computer."
"No, just a description. Approximately thirty-five years of age, five foot six, long brown hair. She was involved in a car accident."
Over his shoulder, Anna could see a black SUV with tinted windows and the engine still running, obstructing the ambulance bay.
"Right." She forgot to be scared of him; his arrogance was pissing her off. "As you don't know this woman's name, I'm going to assume that you're not a relative. You need to fill your details in on this form, then I can perform a basic computer search and confirm whether someone fitting her description was treated here or not."
The man was gripping the form in one hand while the other, clenched into a fist, rested on top of the desk. Out of the corner of her eye, Anna saw two security guards make a conspicuous approach, and she silently thanked Elise for having had the presence of mind to alert them.
The man noticed them too and softened his stance somewhat. "I'm going to need a pen."
"Certainly, sir." Anna smiled and handed one to him. Just five more minutes. "Be sure to fill out both sides…"
The doctor wasn't coming. Derek was sure of that now. For all he knew, she had finally lost her nerve and was on the phone to the authorities.
"We'll have to go." He eyed the wheelchair with a sinking feeling; he couldn't push it and use crutches, but limping with the chair was going to take far too long.
Sarah was following his train of thought, and called a swift halt to his deliberations. "I'll walk."
"Don't argue. Anna's not coming, which means something's fucked up. If you can manage the bag, I can walk."
There wasn't time to debate the issue. He slung the bag over his shoulder and reached out to steady her as she stood up. She allowed herself to hang onto his arm for no more than a couple of seconds before she straightened, using her right arm to splint her ribs.
"I'm fine." She gave him a quick smile when he tucked her Glock into the front of her trousers and pulled her jacket across her to conceal it, then she nodded towards the door. "Go."
He had memorized the route: first left, third right, straight across a junction and left again to the entrance. It had looked so much shorter on the map. Beside him, he could hear Sarah's ragged breathing, but she was keeping up with him, and the only staff member they had encountered was a janitor, who told them to be careful on the wet floor and paid them no further attention.
The junction came and went, the corridor sloping down into a dimly-lit area cluttered with empty supply cages and industrial-sized laundry bags.
Sarah made an affirmative-sounding noise, and followed him. Neither of them was particularly functioning at the top of their game; both were exhausted and in pain, but they drew their guns simultaneously at the hollow sound of footsteps as they turned the corner.
"Fuck." Derek spat the curse out as he almost overbalanced.
Sarah didn't have the energy to do anything other than drop her gun-hand down and lean against the wall as Cameron walked towards them.
The machine looked them up and down, then took Derek's bag and placed an arm around Sarah's waist. Her face was impassive.
"Get in the back and stay low." Cameron opened the rear door of the Dodge as John clambered out from the driver's side and ran around to help.
"Oh shit, mom." He stopped short of Sarah, not sure where he could touch her without hurting her, but she reached for him with her good hand and pulled him tightly to her.
"John, we need to go." The SUV had been a conspicuous presence as they had driven past the ambulance bay, and Cameron, not permitting herself to be distracted from their mission, was already in the front seat of the Dodge, a shotgun poised in her hands.
John nodded reluctantly, breaking the embrace and helping Sarah settle in the back of the truck before returning to the driver's side.
Staying low wasn't going to be an issue for Sarah. She curled up with her head on Derek's knees and closed her eyes as he leaned down over her. "We can't go home." That house had never really been a home, but the thought of uprooting John again still made its loss hurt.
Scrutinizing the darkness through the window, Cameron acknowledged her with a nod. "33-42-31 North. The safe-house coordinates in the desert. I've programmed them into the navigation system."
"Good. That's good." Sarah shouldn't have been surprised; she had mentioned the location to Cameron once, over a year ago, and the machine had obviously considered it important enough information to store.
They had left the hospital grounds and were making steady progress out of the small town. No one had followed them, her son was safe, and, despite being battered and bruised, she and Derek were alive. She took a slow breath, then another, and felt some of the relentless tension begin to leave her.
It was bright beneath her eyelids, and the air was warm and scented. Sarah gave herself a minute to lie still and enjoy being comfortable and pain-free, before she realized that there was a hand holding hers. She opened her eyes to reassure whoever it was by her side.
"Hey." Her voice was rough, but her son smiled at her regardless, a slight flush on his cheeks at being caught holding her hand.
"Hey yourself. How you feelin'?"
"How do I look?" Her standard answer, and John's smile broadened with recognition.
"Actually, slightly better than you did. You sort of passed out in the truck and scared us all, but Derek's got you hooked up again and it seems to be doing the trick."
She followed his eye-line, noticing the blood transfusion for the first time. He held a glass of water for her and she sipped it gratefully.
"You in any pain?"
She shook her head. "I'm guessing your uncle also doped me at the same time he set that going?"
His eyes wide with feigned innocence, he held his hands open. "I really wouldn't know." It made her smile and he grinned back, before his expression sobered. "You had me worried, mom. I'm glad you're okay."
She could only nod, remembering in a rush everything that she loved and admired about her son, and hoping that, if nothing else came out of this miserable episode, it might at least provide a fresh start for them both.
"I'll tell Derek that you're awake." He kissed the top of her head. "Love you."
"I love you too."
Already halfway to the door, John hesitated, as if surprised that she had actually said it, and he gave her a quick but delighted smile before continuing out of the room.
Leaning back into the pillows, Sarah watched him go, then raised her hand to her face and wiped the tears away before they fell. She knew that they were only tears of relief, but she had cried enough over the past couple of days. She pushed herself up the bed slightly, ignoring the jolt of pain in her ribs. She felt stronger, just for sitting upright. She wanted a shower and something solid to eat, and to know what had been happening with Kaliba while Derek had been busy drugging her into oblivion. She leaned back, knowing that all of those things would happen in good time. The breeze from the window slowly cooled her face and, closing her eyes with unexpected pleasure, she let it wash over her.
Derek draped the thick blanket over Sarah's knees and sat down beside her. "Cheers." He clicked his beer against her bottle of juice, and laughed as she noted then frowned at her non-alcoholic offering.
"You're still on pain meds." He sounded quite smug.
"So are you."
"Yeah, but I'm not taking mine."
"Gonna be limping for a while then, aren't you?"
"Probably. Still…" He took a long drink. "It's worth it for the beer."
She smiled and shook her head at him, then looked out from their vantage point on the dilapidated porch. "I love it here."
The sun was setting over the expanse of sand and coarse vegetation, low clouds burning at the edges with pink and orange.
"Lot of it to love." There was nothing for miles around. Cameron's trip to pack up the essentials from their old house had taken the best part of two days and cost the life of the sole Kaliba operative who had been left on a stake-out there. Cameron had found papers in his truck: an address, several names, a company badge. All potential leads that needed investigating.
Sarah heard the familiar snap and laughed quietly as Derek handed her a piece of chocolate. "Sure you got enough to spare?"
"Stockpile, remember? Besides, you have to eat it quickly out here or it fucking melts everywhere."
"Won't be here forever. Got things to do."
"Yes we have."
"Not tonight though." She licked her fingers, stole Derek's beer and helped herself to a mouthful.
"No, not tonight." He let her have the beer, and uncapped another one for himself. "I have a feeling that you're going to be sleeping quite soundly tonight."
"That would be lovely."
She smiled and drank again, unrepentant, and he shook his head hopelessly. She was right though, it was beautiful here and, after everything that had happened, it was a perfect and timely reminder of exactly why they continued to fight. He swung his feet up onto the low table beside hers, and heard her settle down in her seat and sigh contentedly. They had earned this; even though it wouldn't last, even though they still had work to do, they had earned this temporary peace. He drank his beer, leaned his head back and watched as the sun set the sky on fire.
..... End .....
A.N…If you've gotten this far, all I can say is; thank you! I think that this is when writers generally say how much of a slog it's been, and what a relief it is to get to the end. Well, nuts to that. I had an absolute blast writing this and I hope a few of you have stuck with it.
All my fics have been up on lj for a while now. There's an NC17 sequel to this one, I'll try and edit a link into my profile... or just PM me.
A longer sequel is almost finished. I don't trust myself to post a WIP so I'll be posting it in chapters as soon as it's ready.