Aftermath

1: Pete and Violet

It's a long time before they can go home again. Sam is the first to speak, as he was earlier.

"I have a surgery in the morning."

"It IS morning," Violet says.

Addison bursts into tears, and he takes her hand in his. "Damn. Damn."

"You stay," Pete says. "Grab a nap in the on-call room."

"And you?"

Pete nods to the women. "I'll see them home. It's late. Or early, for that matter. And..."

It remains unspoken between them, that between the lines of what's really happened. But as Sam trudges back inside, he locks eyes with Amelia, with Violet, with Addison.

"You saw her."

Addison is still teary. "I can't say anything, Pete."

"I know. Amelia?"

"Neuro exam was clear. That's all I know. Look, Pete, I'll go home with Addison. We'll be fine."

He nods again, waits until they clear the doors. He moves to put his arm around Violet, when she says something, so softly he can barely make it out.

"I saw the office."

"Hmmm?"

"I saw the office, Pete. Hell of a struggle for only a wallet..."

He exhales, relieved she gets it, relieved he won't have to carry this suspicion alone. "So, what do we do?"

"That's our place to do? Nothing. If she won't disclose, it didn't happen. Not as far as we know, anyway. And not legally either."

"But..."

"No." Violet is wearing her therapist's hat now, he supposes. He hears it in her tone, and oddly, it comforts him. "No, Pete. She won't disclose it. And until she does, we can't help her with it."

"But Violet, I saw her. I treated her! The only one who spent more time with her than I did was Addison, and..."

Violet's eyes widen. "Oh my god Pete, she knows."

"What? I..."

"Addison, she knows. And it's why she was acting all weird with Sam, I bet. She knows, and Charlotte won't let her say."

Pete frowns. "You know, it IS kind of strange how she just showed up like that. Of all of us to happen to be there...you think Charlotte called her in? She had a few minutes, while I got the nurse she asked for...you think she called Addison in?"

"Wouldn't surprise me. She's very practical that way."

"You think Addison's okay?"

"Gee, I don't know Pete, she's YOUR former girlfriend, why don't you tell me?"

He sighs. "She gets involved. Bad habit she has. So no, I don't think she's okay." He brightens for a moment. "Can we do anything about THAT?"

"Mmm, iffy. I could get her in as my patient, maybe, see if she'll talk to me. Therapist/patient privilege trumps doctor/patient, so she'd be allowed to vent a little. And I never treated Charlotte, either tonight or before, so there's no conflict. But we do work together, so it's iffy."

"But if Addison isn't telling you anything you don't know already..."

"I suspect, Pete. I don't know. And like I said, it's iffy. This isn't about us, or Addison, or how we feel. It's about Charlotte. It's hers to tell or not to. And I think she WILL tell, once the shock of it wears off a little and she gets mad enough to want the SOB to pay."

"On the other hand, she's chief of staff and has to look us in the eye every day..."

"Yeah, there's that. My gut tells me she'll crack, though. And when she does, and we really can help her, I don't want that compromised by anything that might make it weird."

"So we leave Addison with it?"

"Yeah, Pete. We leave her."


2: Addison

She unlocks the door, ruffles a hand through her matted, listless hair.

"Did you want to talk, Amelia?"

"Maybe. You look wiped, though. I can wait."

She manages a weak smile. "Yeah. Breakfast? I'll get up early for it..."

"It IS early. Go sleep, Addie, it's fine. We'll talk later."

"But I don't know if I even can, about this. I treated her, Amelia. Not as a friend, but as a doctor. I treated her, and I can't talk about it."

"Well, not with me, maybe..."

She hesitates, on the threshold of the stairs. "Oh..."

Amelia smiles. "Night, Addie. We'll talk later."

She dials the number in the dark, her fingers remembering. He answers on the third ring.

"Sloan."

She bursts into tears. Again.

There is a flicker of empty static, then he speaks. "Addison? That you?"

It takes her a minute to get ahold of herself. When she thinks she has it under control, she answers him. "Thank god you're up."

She can almost see him kicking his feet up, settling in. "Happy I could help. What is it, Addie? What's happened?"

"I have a patient," she says. "Hypothetically."

"Hypothetically? Sure, okay..."

"A colleague," she says. "It complicates things. We work together, other people I know work together with her too."

"Okay..."

"So hypothetically, she has something happen to her, and she tells the other people one thing, and she tells me something different. Something worse. And she swears me to secrecy. Doctor/patient privilege."

"And?"

"And I know this terrible thing. And nobody else has any idea..."

"Don't they?"

"No Mark, I already told you, she told them she..."

"Yeah, you told me that. But I've met the people you work with, Addison, and they aren't stupid. Woman gets beaten up and the first thing she does is summon the lady doc? You really think they won't read into that?"

She exhales. "That explains. I felt them pushing, and that explains. Pete treated her arm. Amelia treated her face. The only part left for me to treat was..."

"Yeah. Feel better now?"

"They know it, but she won't disclose. So I am the only way they had to confirm it. God Mark, I was a wreck about it, and Violet saw, and Sam...did I give it away? Did I violate confidentiality and give it away somehow because I was overwhelmed that this was all on me and I didn't deal?"

He sighs. "You over-estimate your own importance is what you do. My guess is, everyone knows about as much as you know. But they are waiting it out, because that's what you do with cases like this. You line up your ducks so you're ready to deploy them when the moment comes. And then you wait for the moment to come, because you've seen this-maybe not with someone you know, but you've seen it-time enough to know that the moment will get there. When she asks for help, you be ready for her, Addie. Hypothetically."

"She wouldn't let me run the rape kit."

"Addie..."

"I'm just saying, all this helping I'm supposed to do, it would be easier if she had let me run the rape kit."

"You did a pelvic?"

"Of course!"

"So, there's that. You have her clothes?"

"Yes..."

"So there's that too. When she asks, you'll be ready for her. Right?"

"Well, yes..."

"Then that's all you can do. If those other guys want to speculate, you can't stop them, but you need to keep your eyes on the prize here, Addie. You line up your ducks. Right?"

She feels herself at last relaxing. "Right. You're right, Mark."

"And Addie?"

"Mmm?

"Sorry that your friend got hurt. Hypothetically."


3: Amelia

He's home, thank god he is. She licks her lips, still tasting the alcohol on them.

"Hey big brother."

"Amelia?"

"Yeah. I wake you?"

"I'm on call. Amelia, is everything..."

"I'm going to a meeting," she says.

"Now?"

"No, tomorrow. There's someone I want to wait for...she might not come...but I thought, you know, that if something good can come out of this sorry night and I go to a meeting, tomorrow, wouldn't that be..."

"Amelia, it's five in the morning, you're going to have to give me more to go on here."

"I've been drinking," she says. "No pills. But drinking."

"That's a gateway," he answers.

"I know. She said that too. And we...I had a patient."

"Okay..."

"An NAer, like me. Needed fifty stitches in her arm, and couldn't have a local either."

"What'd you do?"

"Somebody regular, you'd put them under general and do it while they're out, but there were mitigating circumstances there and she refused it."

"I can't imagine any circumstance mitigating enough to call for fifty sutures on an awake, unmedicated patient."

"I know! It was...it was intense, Derek. The patient was a goddamned machine, but it was intense. And there was stuff going on she didn't want to talk about, so we talked about me, and we talked about getting my butt to a meeting, so I'm doing it. Tomorrow."

"Don't you mean today?"

She laughs. "Yes. Today. As soon as possible. Anyway, I wanted you to know. Cause, you know, I'm trying here. For you. For us. For me."

"I know you are."

"And if she could...I mean, fifty sutures, wide awake...can't I?"

He's quiet for a moment. Then he says "You know, I've always thought so."

And at last, she cries.


4: Cooper and Charlotte

They lie in bed beside each other, neither of them sleeping. For awhile, she lets him cuddle up beside her, but she can feel his anger and his worry and his grief, and she just doesn't have it in her right now to nurse that on top of everything else. So she lets herself succumb to a single whimper, and he springs away from her as if he's been stung.

"You okay?"

"No."

"How bad?"

"Bad enough that it's not okay."

"Can I get you anything?"

"You know you can't."

"But...Tylenol?"

"Coop..."

"Aspirin? Anything?"

"Coop, you know I can't."

"But..."

"Coop, just let me rest, will ya?"

So he sprang away and hasn't touched her since. She's fine with that. She's been lying in the dark and cataloguing the various hurts that were done to her and trying not to close her eyes and see them done again.

Her hand is the worst. Broken in three places, and at the wrist too. It's starting to itch underneath the bandage. She'll get some help from Pete with that in the morning. She finds she has no problems with the idea of seeking help for the above the waist problems, although hell will freeze over before she'll submit to Addison looking over the rest of it again.

In her head, she rates the pain, and ranks the problem areas from worst to best. Hand, an eight, definitely. Throbbing something fierce. She closes her eyes (whoops, that was a mistake, glass breaking, bones crunching, no, not again) and tries to slow her breathing. Damn. If she could focus, like they taught her to do, she could get the pain down to a seven, or maybe a six. She's close to crying out, it's so bad, but she doesn't want to attract any attention from You Know Who beside her. All right, she tells herself, refusing to let her mounting panic get the best of her. Nobody said you had to close your eyes for this...

She shifts, and feels a fiery shock as the scrapes on her legs brush up against the fabric of the blanket. All right, there's the eight, then. Or the nine, she isn't sure. She's feeling foggy again, like she was before Pete came and did his thing, and she briefly wishes she could have brought him home instead of the one she did. Then she feels guilty and starts to cry.

"Hey." Coop is up beside her again, stroking her hair. "Charlotte, baby, it's okay..."

And like that, she feels the pain relax its grip a little. The hand, down to maybe a six. The face, a four now. And the rest of it...

She lets her head drop down on him. "Well, what do you know. Turns out I didn't have to close my eyes."

"Char?"

"Keep talkin, Coop. Need to hear it right now."

"I love you. No matter what happens."

Her head falls back, and the pain in her cheek flares briefly into nine or ten territory. She bites back a whimper, feels him tense beside her.

"I'm sorry this happened," he says. "Sorry I wasn't there..."

The hand is back up to an eight and she shakes her head, a little desperate. Not like that, Coop, she silently pleads. Not like that...

"But I want you to know," he says, "that I'm here for you. Whatever you need. Whenever you need it..."

And again, her hand relaxes. Seven and falling. She doesn't have to close her eyes, she thinks. Doesn't ever have to close her eyes again. She can just listen. And he'll take it all away.

THE END