Author's Note: I apologize for the delay. I had this written, decided that I hated what I had written, and rewrote it all. This version I actually somewhat like. Also I apologize in advance to those who might actually like Janet and Liberty.
"No survivors." Reid hung up the phone in devastated silence, the phrase echoing back and forth in his heads. It wasn't possible. It was unreal.
Luc was dead. Gone. He would never see that smile, never hear the undertone of clear amusement, and never feel the touch of those long fingers….
Reid sank to his knees. Luc was dead. He closed his eyes and let the thought consume him, but he still couldn't believe it. Luc was too filled with life; it was what had drawn him to the young Italian in the first place. The fearlessness, the sense of being around someone who lived each moment with passion, who lived in the moment without worrying about the future. In many ways it was the complete opposite of how he had lived his life. Reid had always been goal orientated- focused on getting into Harvard, then med school, and then being the best in his field. Up until a few weeks ago life for Reid Oliver had been about being the accolades and the awards. It had taken Luc to show him what else there was. He had laughed more and felt more in the last two weeks than he had his entire life and as intense as it had been, it had only been the promise of what the next 30 years could be. And now it was gone. All of it.
Luciano Grimaldi was dead. The world which had been so full of color had gone gray and cold and so damned brittle that he felt like one deep breath and he would shatter. No survivors. Luc, his Luc, was gone. And Reid had no idea how he was going to go on without him.
The silence in the BMW was stifling as Thorne maneuvered the car through the traffic towards the crash site. Reid closed his eyes, feeling sick to his stomach at that phrase "crash site" and took a deep breath, striving desperately for control.
He wished that it was a mistake; that they had the wrong jet or that Luc had somehow survived. It would be like one of those bad soap operas that Katie was always watching- where the hero really wasn't dead and that somehow, miraculously, Luc would be there, waiting for him, alive and glorious.
Thorne explained that the plane had gone down in a field just south of the airport, as it made its final approach for landing. The pilot had reported nothing and there had been no indication from the plane that they knew what was about to happen. Looking up, Reid could already see the line of emergency vehicles and network vans.
Thorne's jaw clenched. "It will be a madhouse. The press is going to descend like vultures. My staff has already started fielding phone calls from around the world wanting to know what is going to happen to Grimaldi Industries and the Grimaldi fortune." He slammed his fist against the steering wheel. "This should not have happened. I should not have let Luciano go to England."
"Let Luc go?" Reid laughed abruptly. "When was the last time you ever let Luc do anything? You could have barricaded the airports and Luc would still have found a way to get to England if he thought it was that important."
Thorne sighed. "He always was a stubborn jackass." Thorne took a deep, shuddering breath. "I can't believe he's gone."
"Yeah, me neither."
The car slowed to a stop and was swarmed by reporters. Thorne ignored the hordes of people surrounding the small car and turned to Reid.
"I can still take you back to your apartment, Dr. Oliver." Thorne grimaced. "It will not be a pleasant sight at the crash site and these reporters will ask questions you may not want to answer. I would understand it if you wanted to skip the circus that is about to start."
Reid shook his head. "I need to see it."
Thorne tried again. "There are bound to be officials and…"
"I'm here and I'm going to see this through." Reid took a deep breath. He had to keep it under control. "I know you are overwhelmed and I appreciate you letting me come with you and I know you mean well, but you have to understand that I need…"
"Dr. Oliver," Thorne's voice was even and Reid turned slightly to look at him. "Luciano was right. You do babble when you are nervous."
"Luc was right about a lot of things…" Reid whispered, his words breaking off as determinedly opened the door and stepped outside. He ignored the throngs of reporters and the shouted questions and focused on the crash site. He stared in horror. The crash site was covered in debris from the plane and dozens of small fires filled the air with the acid smell of jet fuel and smoke. Reid started to gag when he realized he could smell burning flesh as well.
Reid didn't know what he had been hoping for, but it had not been the stark and ugly reality facing him. There were clearly no survivors, no chance of Luc being alive.
His eyes were locked on the seen in front of him when he felt Thorne stand beside him. "What in the hell happened?"
Thorne's sigh was at once angry and resigned. "My guess- some kind of bomb."
"What?" Reid turned shocked.
Thorne nodded. "Planes don't drop out of the sky without a reason."
"Jesus," Reid breathed out shakily.
"Oh not." Thorne was silent for a moment. "Let's get out of here. There is nothing that either of us can do for Luciano here."
"What happens now?" Reid asked after they had maneuvered their way back to the car.
"Lawyers. Probate. Long lost Grimaldi heirs coming out of the woodwork. I predict at least half a dozen claims of illegitimate children popping up in the tabloids, each making a claim on the Grimaldi fortune." Thorne frowned. "You don't really care about that do you?"
"Not a bit," Reid murmured. "I was just making small talk."
Thorne almost laughed. "Always honest to a fault Dr. Oliver. No wonder Luciano liked you so much."
"He did?" Reid sat up quietly.
Thorne thought for a moment. "Luciano was, despite the flamboyance, intensely private. I can't tell you that he went around making flowery declarations." Thorne's voice lowered. "I will tell you that you made him nervous in a good way."
"In a good way."
"Oh." And despite everything, the smallest of smiles flitted across Reid's face as they made their way back to Oakdale.
"I'll just drop you off at your place and head back to the mansion."
Reid was noncommittal, dreading the idea of having to face Katie and her sympathy but not having anywhere else or anyone else to go to.
"Unless…. you can come back to the house with me. Actually it might be best if you did. It won't take long for those reporters who were at the crash site to figure out who you are and where you live. At least at the house, they wouldn't be able to get past the gate."
Reid nodded before turning to glance at the other man. He really wanted to be around someone who had known Luc.
"Thank you," he whispered.
One hour later Reid found himself in a place that he had spent a lot of time fantasizing about over the last two weeks, Luciano Grimaldi's bed. It wasn't quite the way he had imagined it. He had left Thorne in the study making phone calls and had wandered from room to room, searching even in this rented home for some sign of Luc's personality. Except for a few personal photos placed here and there, Luc must have rented it fully furnished even down to the bedspread. Somehow he didn't see a floral print, even on a black background, as Luc's style. He sat down on the bed and inhaled slowly. Luc was gone and what was left. Memories of few stolen hours spent together, phone calls made late at night, and moments snatched during the day. Reid shook his head. He had been an idiot. He should have spent more time with Luc. He should have canceled appointments, moved surgeries around, or done whatever it took to spend time with Luc instead of putting it off. If he had…maybe things would have been different. Maybe losing Luc wouldn't hurt so much.
God, who was he kidding? Whether they had had weeks or months or years together, losing Luc was always going to hurt. Reid picked up a picture of Luc and his father that was on the nightstand. Gently he traced Luc's image with his thumb. Maybe they hadn't really had a chance, after all he wasn't exactly a prince and God knew he had never seen himself in the role of Cinderella. Maybe even if this hadn't happened he would have lost Luc someday. He could handle losing Luc that way, but like this? A world without Luciano Grimaldi? He didn't know if he could live in that world or if he even wanted to.
He knew what Luc would say and what Luc would want. Luc would want him to be okay, to smile, to find things to be happy about. Tomorrow or maybe the next day or maybe the day after that he would try to do what Luc would have wanted. Right now all he wanted to do, all he could do, was crawl into a bed that he might have shared with the man he might have loved and cry.
Reid was dreaming. He and Luc were at the beach somewhere and the sand was warm beneath him and the sky was an amazing blue above him. He could hear the lapping of the waves and the laughter of others playing in the water. His head was pillowed against Luc's chest and Luc's arms were around him as they both dozed in the heat. He tried to remember the last time he had been this happy and realized that he had never been this happy. Ever.
"Reid…Come on Reid…. Sono qui….Wake up." He could hear Luc's words in his ear but he refused to listen. This was where he wanted to be, with Luc. He even imagined Luc's gentle kiss against his cheek and his long fingers running through Reid's hair.
"Reid….sweetheart….Non li lascero ancora…."
The voice was so real, it felt like if he just opened his eyes he would be able to see Luc again. Wishfully, he opened them slightly.
"Luc?" Reid bolted upright and stared in shock. "Oh God, is it really you? Are you some kind of ghost? Because that's okay, just don't leave me again, okay? I can handle the ghost thing…..we can be all the Ghost and Mrs. Muir just don't leave. I know it's selfish but don't move on, okay? Just stay with me. No light tunnels or heavenly music or whatever. I don't want to lose you again." Reid reached out a hand to touch Luc, but pulled it back not wanting to find out that he was only imagining Luc's presence. He looked down at the floral print- he didn't know roses came in that shade of blue.
Luc laughed gently. "I'm not a ghost and I'm not going anywhere. I told you, I'm not leaving you again." He reached out and tilted Reid's chin up. "I'm here. It's really me."
Reid slowly reached out and found solid muscle. "It's really you?" His voice was shaky and his vision blurred. "They said you were dead. I saw the crash."
Luc's voice was rough and filled with sorrow. "I know. It was a mistake. I wasn't on the jet. I flew home from New York on a commercial flight and I didn't know, I didn't know until I heard the news report in the taxicab what had happened…."
"I don't understand. You're dead."
"God sweetheart, I'm not. I swear I'm not. I'm alive." Reid felt the comforter being pulled back around his shoulders. He could hear someone crying and realized distantly that it was him. He could feel himself start to shake. "Please Reid, its okay. I'm here. Just take a deep breath. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I know what it would have done to me if I thought anything happened to you." Again the hands gentle on him, pulling him close. Reid wanted to say something but found that he had lost his voice along with his self-control.
"Reid…." Luc's voice was a quiet whisper in the night. "Reid, I know it's crazy and if you had any doubts before this whole nightmare has probably convinced you to run in the opposite direction, but I need to tell you something. I should have told you earlier but I was a coward. I didn't know it could happen this fast. I didn't know I could feel this way and it's so intense it scares me. But I'm more scared by the thought that if something had happened to me, you would never have known how I felt." Reid found himself staring into Luc's brown eyes, mesmerized by their warmth. "It's probably way too soon to tell you this, but I've fallen in love with you."
Reid felt the cold inside him start to withdraw as he started to believe that maybe he wasn't dreaming. "You're real."
Reid took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I don't….second chances like this don't happen to me."
Luc shrugged. "Me neither. However maybe, just maybe they happen to us."
Their gazes locked for a moment and then Reid nodded solemnly, just before throwing himself into Luc's arms.
Their embrace was awkward as Luc refused to remove the comforter he had pulled around Reid and neither of them wanted to let go of the other. Reid didn't care. There were questions that still needed answering and calls that needed to be made. Reid didn't care. He just wanted to sit with Luc's arms around him and listen to his heart beat. It was all he wanted. All he would ever want.
"What you said before?"
Later, Reid was never really clear on how much later, Reid sat next to Luc on one of the leather couches in the living room, his head resting against Luc's shoulder as he accepted the cup of coffee Thorne handed to him. He still couldn't believe it. Luc was alive. Really, honestly, truly alive. The realization that he had Luc back again made him tremble.
"Shhh," Luc whispered in his ear. "No more of that, okay?"
"Sorry," Reid murmured ironically. "It's not everyday that your boyfriend comes back from the dead."
"I like that."
"Coming back from the dead?"
"No, you calling me your boyfriend." Luc reached over to kiss Reid softly.
"Enough." Thorne's voice interrupted them. "There will be time for the mushy stuff later. Right now Luciano I need to know what happened and how it is that you are alive."
Luciano leaned back against the sofa. "I got lucky?" When neither Reid nor Thorne responded, he shrugged. "I guess you want details. It started when Reid told me about his meeting with Lucinda before I left England." He stopped and turned to Reid. "Just remember that I am a Grimaldi." Then he turned back to Thorne. "I called Kevin and asked him to buy up controlling interest in Worldwide."
Reid dropped the empty cup he was holding. "You did what?"
Luc shrugged. "I was angry. I couldn't let her use you to get to me."
"So you bought a multi-million dollar international conglomerate?" Reid laughed. "You know I would have been okay with flowers."
"Okay, maybe not flowers. Maybe a Harley-Davidson? A Porsche?"
"I'll keep that in mind," Luc grinned tiredly happy to see Reid start to come back from the broken person he saw when he walked into his bedroom. "And I didn't actually buy the entire company, just controlling interest. Anyway, Kevin worked his magic somehow or another and we decided to meet in New York to sign the paperwork and get the ball going on a takeover."
"Only when the jet arrived in New York I learned that Kevin's plane was delayed and we needed to wait for him, which was fine." Luc paused. "In the airport lounge, there was this woman, with her daughter who must have been 16 maybe 17. They had just been in New York to see a specialist for the daughter's leukemia and were waiting for a flight to Oakdale. Only there was a mix-up or something and they got bumped from their flight. The daughter, she didn't look good, so I…. I let them use the jet to get to Oakdale. I had the crew put them on the plane and take off. I planned on catching a regular commercial flight to Oakdale as soon as I finished meeting with Kevin." He took a deep breath gulp of air and turned to Reid. "I killed them, didn't I? If I had stayed out of it, they wouldn't have been on that plane, and I don't even know who they were, and they had nothing to do with me and…"
"Luciano!" Thorne's voice snapped Luc's broken ramble. "This, none of this, is your fault."
"He's right," Reid whispered softly. "You were doing a good dead."
"Right…." Luciano shrugged skeptically before continuing. "I stayed behind and waited for Kevin. We spent a few hours locked up in a hotel room" Reid raised an eyebrow "going over papers and listening to his baby daughter gurgle on the speaker phone, and then we caught a commercial flight to Oakdale."
"We?" Thorne looked around. "Mr. Walker is here."
Luc nodded and waved towards a doorway leading to the hall that the guest suites were off of. "I would say that he was off doing something fun, like engaging in phone sex with his husband, but Kevin really is more of the prude in that..."
"I resent that," a smooth voice stated and Reid looked up as a dark haired gentleman entered the room. He was shorter than Luciano and well-dressed. He moved to the sideboard and fixed himself a drink. "I can do phone sex. I have done phone sex. Just in the 95 days since we brought Sophia home there hasn't been time or privacy for any sex, phone or otherwise..." Kevin stopped. "Too much information, right?" He swallowed. "You do realize that CNN is running a special on the life and untimely death of one Luciano Grimaldi."
"Don't worry. I'm sure they will be able to follow it up with the story of the miracle resurrection of Luciano Grimaldi soon enough."
"Probably. Scotty says hi and when did you invite him to spend the summer with you on Malta?"
"Relax. The invitation included you and Sophia. Just not the rest of your family, if you don't mind." Luc relaxed a little as the conversation shifted. "He mentioned when we talked last week that he wanted to expand his cooking skills. A summer in Italy would be perfect."
"Right. I know you Luciano Grimaldi and I know exactly how broad your definition of cooking is." Kevin grumbled.
Reid groaned. "Don't tell me," he gestured at Kevin. "Another ex?"
"What? No way. Just no way." Luc grinned. "Kevin is so not my type." He paused. "Scotty on the other hand…"
"Uhm…no. I don't need to hear one more time about your fling with my husband when he was working as a waiter in Paris." Kevin crossed the room to stand in front of Luc and Reid. "Just remember Scotty is now and forever off the market." Kevin grinned. "And from what I can tell you are now as well."
Luc blushed and Reid grinned. "Oh he is." Reid didn't even try to keep the possessiveness in his voice toned down.
"Please," Thorne stood up and made himself another drink. "All we need is a cheesy soundtrack and I could be in the middle of a gay Desperate Housewives episode."
"Actually, I've always leaned more in the Grey's Anatomy direction myself." Reid piped up. "However Thorne is right. You almost died tonight."
"And good people did die." Luc sobered instantly.
"I've contacted the media outlets to let them know that you are still very much alive and still very much in control of the Grimaldi fortune." Thorne said. "I've been fielding calls from the FAA, the FBI, Interpol, Homeland Security, MI5, and the Oakdale PD. They're going to need you to answer questions.
Luciano nodded. Reid sat up. "Wait a minute. MI-5? The British version of the CIA?"
Kevin looked at Luc. "Henry?"
Luciano shrugged. "He's a little overprotective. I'll call him." He smiled at Reid's frown. "On speaker phone."
"And the authorities?"
"Tomorrow morning. Tell them I'll meet with them tomorrow morning. They'll have the full cooperation of myself, my staff, and anything else that they need for their investigation." Luc carefully stood up. "I want to know what happened and who caused it as much as they do." He glanced out the window. "I also want our own people on it. I hate to say it but this feels too much like an inside job. The odds of an outsider getting close enough to the jet to touch it much less plant an explosive device…." Luc shook his head.
Ignoring the other two men, Reid stood up and walked behind Luc, wrapping his arms around him from behind. "I thought your people were loyal."
"They are. Or at least they were." Luc turned around. "Our number one priority is finding out what happened. I want this threat, whoever or whatever it is, eliminated. In the meantime…." Luc looked up at Reid. "Move in with me."
"All those reporters camped out there know who you are and what you mean to me. That makes you something that can be used to get to me and I won't let that happen. No more collateral damage Reid. I… I need to make sure that you are safe."
"I have a job. I just can't walk away from the hospital or my patients." Reid hesitated. "What about Tonio's treatments?"
"He can have them here. I'll get whatever equipment or staff you need. I will do whatever it takes. I just need to know that you are safe."
"Luc I can't just leave Memorial…" His voice trailed off and the room grew silent, almost oppressive.
"I know." Luc expression grew sad "It's okay." His back stiffened. "Thorne will drive you back to your house. You may need to lie low for a few days but all of this is bound to quiet down and..."
"Wait a minute." Reid stared at Luc in horror. "Are you breaking up with me?" He stared at Luciano in growing horror.
Luc couldn't meet Reid's eyes. "If it's the only way you will let me keep you safe…"
Reid felt like he was on the edge of a precipice and if he took a wrong step he was going to fall. What had he told himself during those long horrible hours when he thought Luc was dead? Something about grabbing life and not hiding behind excuses anymore. Not letting anything come before Luc.
"Give me your credit card."
Luc looked up puzzled.
"I need to go shopping."
"That floral print on your comforter is hideous. If I'm going to be moving in with you and sharing that bed with you, I'm definitely buying a new comforter. Maybe new sheets. And I have to check the closet to make sure I have room for my clothes and…"
Reid's litany of needs was stopped when Luc grabbed him and kissed him, hard and passionate.
Then Luc drew back. "Whatever you want Dr. Oliver." He then stepped back and he motioned to Kevin. "I need you to do me a favor?"
"It doesn't involve holding a camera, does it?" Kevin quipped.
"No," Luc turned back to Reid, his expression serious. "I need you to get a message to Lucinda Walsh. Tell her that I need to meet with her as soon as possible. Tell her to bring her daughter with her." Luc's voice was even and methodical. "There are things that I need to say to my mother. Things that she may not want to hear."