Title: And Everything In Between
Author: hexicode aka illman
Fandom/pairing (if appropriate): Diagnosis Murder; none
Summary: Collection of missing scenes taking place during the episode 'Love Is Murder'.
Warnings: angst, non-graphic violence (nothing you wouldn't see on the show)
Disclaimers: The characters and settings aren't mine. No profit is being made, this is for entertainment only.
A/N: Many thanks to my wonderful beta Diane who was kind enough to give this story the once-over for me. Any remaining errors are purely my fault.
Depositing his used disposable gloves in one of the biohazard bins provided, Jesse glanced around the for once relatively quiet ER of Community General Hospital. It had been an average morning, with no more than the usual number of injured and sick people coming in, but he was still looking forward to a few minutes of peace and quiet, especially when he was going to spend all night at the Saperstein award dinner that Norman had bullied Mark and him into attending.
Jesse had just slipped out the door to enjoy a few quiet minutes in the break room, when he heard a voice calling his name. He turned around and saw one of the ER nurses running towards him.
"Dr. Travis! You're friends with that cop, right? Mark Sloan's son?"
Jesse nodded. "Yes, what is it?" he asked, slightly puzzled. He wasn't sure their relationship qualified as friendship just yet, but he liked the police officer and they got along pretty well.
"We could use your help in the ER," the nurse simply declared. Jesse shook his head in vexation and followed her back to the ER to see what the matter was.
Steve's return to consciousness was abrupt as he was startled awake by hands on his body. At once, his mind was filled with a strong sense of danger, the memory clear of what had happened at Lynn's. Alertness turned to full-blown panic in an instant as he realized that he was completely blind. The last thing he recalled was making a dive for the front window, his head exploding in pain, and then nothing. His head still ached abominably, the cacophony of noise surrounding him only serving to aggravate the pain further.
None of it mattered now; he needed to get away, needed to get to safety. He struggled to sit up, even as more hands tried to prevent him from doing so. He'd barely succeeded in getting upright when a wave of intense dizziness washed over him, forcing him to halt his efforts to flee while he waited to regain some sense of equilibrium.
The sudden, sharp pain of a needle piercing the flesh of his upper arm startled him and he instinctively turned his head in the direction the attack had come from, expecting to see, but unable to do so. However, what he did accomplish was unleashing a new wave of dizziness. As he swayed precariously where he sat, he was unable to fight the hands guiding him back down to a supine position. His body was suddenly heavy and his limbs refused to obey his mind's frantic commands. Belatedly, Steve realized that the pinprick he'd felt just now must have been from the injection of a sedative of some sort. Why Lynn would bother to drug him when he already had him dead to rights, he didn't know and he was far too tired to try and figure it out. As the noise around him dimmed and he succumbed to the pull of unconsciousness, the last thing he was aware of was a voice calling his name.
Mark was in his office, trying to get started on the quarterly staff evaluations. This wasn't a part of his job that he enjoyed doing. He found most forms of paperwork tiresome, but dreaded staff evaluations. Too much depended on words on a piece of paper that never could fully reflect how people really handled themselves under the day-to-day pressures of working in a busy hospital. When the phone rang, he eagerly picked up, inwardly glad for the distraction from his boring task.
"Dr. Sloan here."
"Mark, it's Jesse. Can you meet me outside radiology?" There was something about Jesse's tone of voice that made alarm bells go off in Mark's head.
"Steve?" he asked faintly. So far, his son had escaped any serious injuries sustained in the line of duty, but Mark was all too aware of how quickly that could change.
"He was brought in a few minutes ago. Nothing too serious, but he was pretty confused and agitated when he came to in the ER earlier, so we might be looking at a head injury." Mark tried not to think about everything a head injury might entail. At times like these, he hated being a doctor. He knew too much about what could go wrong, about the frailty of the human body. Instead of voicing his dark thoughts, however, he simply replied that he would be right there, hung up and hurried from his office.
When Steve woke again, the painful noise of earlier was gone. All that was left was what he now recognized as the sounds of a hospital. He breathed a sigh of relief when he was startled by a voice coming from his right.
"Steve, you with me now?" The calm voice was familiar, but it still took Steve a moment to identify it as belonging to Dr. Jesse Travis.
"Yeah," Steve replied. Although his mind was still fuzzy and sluggish, the pieces were starting to come together. If Jesse was there, he was probably at Community General, meaning also that his father had probably already heard about what had happened.
"Mark, there you are." Steve heard Jesse say only seconds later as if in response to his thoughts. He heard footfalls approach his position, then a hand, presumably that of his father, made contact with his left arm.
"Dad?" Steve queried, needing to be sure.
"Yes, son. I'm right here. Try and relax a bit, you're at the hospital. Do you remember what happened?"
"Lynn. It was her." Steve explained. "She surprised me at her place. She pulled a gun on me and shot me. I don't know how she missed. But I guess she must have."
"She didn't exactly miss," his father replied seriously. "But you were very lucky."
Steve could feel his father gently probing a particularly tender area on his right temple.
"The bullet only grazed your temple and it looks like it didn't do any serious damage at all."
"Then why can't I see?" Steve asked, steeling himself mentally for the answer. Whatever it might be, he could be sure his father would tell him the truth.
"You can't see anything at all?" Mark's tone was perfectly calm and composed, but Steve knew this couldn't be an easy piece of news for him to deal with either.
"Nothing," Steve answered, wishing for both their sakes he could give a different answer.
"We'll know after you've had an MRI and a CT scan. But whatever happens, Steve, I promise you that you are not alone in this. Don't ever forget that."
"Thanks, Dad." Steve meant it, more than mere words could express.
In the deafening silence that followed in the wake of the single gunshot, Steve strained to listen to any sound that would tell him of the outcome. His instinct told him that Lynn was dead, that against all odds the shot must have hit its target, but he still paused to listen. There was nothing, save the ever-present sounds of the ocean and his own breathing, rapid and ragged. Satisfied that he was no longer in danger, and suddenly feeling overcome by a wave of exhaustion, he allowed himself to sink back to the floor. The adrenaline rush that had seen him through this last confrontation with Lynn was fading quickly and the emotions that he'd suppressed while he'd fought for his life were returning in a confused and overwhelming jumble that drowned out all coherent thought.
Steve was only shaken from his dazed state when he felt a hand touch his neck. Startled, he flinched away, raising his hands in a defensive gesture. It would be just his luck if the house would be burgled tonight of all nights.
"Who's there?" he demanded, cursing himself for having lost hold of his gun at some point.
"I'm Officer McEwen and with me in the room is my partner, Officer Frazer," a male voice explained. The names were vaguely familiar to Steve. Two beat cops from the local precinct. He allowed himself to relax a fraction and lowered his hands.
"Do you need us to call the paramedics, sir?" the officer asked presently. His voice was cautious, almost hesitant. He obviously knew of Steve's temporary blindness.
Steve shook his head.
To underline the point and because he realized that he must look ridiculous, he got to his feet. He swayed for a moment and a hand caught his arm. Steve bit back an angry retort and allowed the officer to lead him towards the couch. As much as he hated accepting help from strangers, he had lost his bearings following the fight with Lynn.
"One of your neighbours reported hearing a gunshot. When no one answered the door, we came 'round the back," McEwen explained once Steve was seated.
"Have you seen...?" Steve began, not knowing quite how to put it. The whole situation was more than a little awkward, bordering on the surreal.
"Yes, my partner called it in," McEwen reassured him. On the one hand, it was good to know that the necessary steps were being taken; on the other hand, however, Steve knew the house would soon be crawling with cops and crime scene technicians and the last thing he wanted right now was dealing with even more people. He felt tired and beyond drained but experience told him that the night was far from being over.
Mark had spent an agreeable evening at the award ceremony and he didn't regret having let Norman talk him into attending. The food had been better than anticipated too and while the professional recognition and the prestige it carried weren't that important to him, it had been nice to spend an evening away from the mayhem and emotional upheaval of the past week. He would have loved for his son to share this evening with him, but he'd knew Steve well enough to recognize that what the younger man needed right now was some time alone. The temporarily loss of vision didn't help, of course. Even without the added trauma of Lynn's death and the guilt Steve obviously felt about not having been able to help her, Mark would have had a hard time convincing his son to go out in public while he couldn't see. Well, in a few days, Steve's vision should return to normal, allowing him to resume his usual activities. The renewed distraction would do him good. It wasn't right for him to sit around to house all day and brood. He'd respect Steve's desire to be left alone – for now at least, but first thing next morning, Mark was going to find Steve something to do. He was sure there was something that needed doing around the house that Steve could tackle. He'd just started going over a list of potential items in his mind when the beach house came into view at the far end of the street. What he saw made his blood run cold. Several police vehicles were parked in front of the house. Mark, only distantly aware of what he was doing, stopped his own car some distance away and got out. As he made his way past the vehicles towards the house, his heart sank further as he noticed a coroner's van amidst the police cars.
God, if something had happened to Steve because he'd left him alone to accept an award that didn't really matter to him in the first place, he'd never be able to forgive himself. Mark took an unsteady breath and continued his way towards the front door, only to find the front of the property cordoned off with crime scene tape. He was already ducking underneath the tape, when a hand on his shoulder stopped him.
"I'm sorry, sir, but you can't go in there."
Mark looked up. A young uniformed officer, obviously in charge of guarding the crime scene, was standing in front of him, barring his way.
"Listen, my name is Mark Sloan. I live here," Mark protested.
"I'm sorry," the officer repeated. "I'm not to let anyone through."
Mark was about to phrase a lot a less friendly reply, when the front door opened and a second man stepped out. Mark recognized him as a homicide detective from Steve's precinct.
"Detective Rayner, what happened? Is Steve all right?" Mark didn't waste time on social niceties.
"Your son is a bit shaken up, but he's all right."
The rush of relief that followed the detective's words was almost dizzying in intensity.
"Let's go inside," Rayner motioned for Mark to follow him. "I'm sorry you had to come home to this unprepared. I was trying to call you at the awards ceremony, but you'd already left," Rayner said as they made their way past a pair of crime scene technicians. There were obvious signs of a struggle having taken place and Mark still had no idea what exactly had happened, but at the moment, seeing Steve and making sure for himself that he really was all right was his first priority.
Passing through the living room, which obviously was a crime scene now, Rayner led the way into the kitchen. Steve sat on one of the chairs, a blank expression on his face as he stared into space. At some point, someone must have draped his slumped shoulders with a blanket from the couch, which had by now partially slid to the floor. Rayner motioned for the uniformed officer who had been leaning against the counter to take her leave and then left the room as well, closing the door behind him.
At some point, it had become easier to just let the noises wash over him instead of trying to keep track and figure them all out. There were just too many of them. It was as if his mind had just gone numb and couldn't take anything in anymore. Steve had managed to keep track of what was going on around him long enough to await the arrival of the detective in charge of the case. Detective Joe Rayner was a little more than a slight acquaintance, but everything he'd heard about the man said that he was capable and efficient. Rayner hadn't forced the issue, but Steve had insisted on giving a preliminary statement about the events leading to his fatally shooting Lynn. After that, exhaustion and shock, as he'd admitted to himself in a particularly honest moment, had taken over. At one point, he'd been led from the living room and into the kitchen. Rayner had been there too, telling him something, but what he couldn't remember.
Steve was lost in the sea of white noise when felt a hand settle on his shoulder, followed by a familiar voice. "Steve?"
"Dad." It wasn't a question. Steve would recognize his father's voice anywhere. With a sudden stab of guilt, he realized he'd been so wrapped up in what had happened that he'd never even thought of his father. "Dad, I'm sorry. I..." he began, feeling the need to apologize, but unable to put into words what he was sorry for. It wasn't just that his father had to come home to find his home a crime scene, although that was part of it. He knew the past few days had been hard on his father as well as on him.
"It's okay, son. The important thing is that you're all right."
"Did Rayner tell you what happened?" Steve asked after a pause.
"I don't think I gave him a chance," Mark replied. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Steve sighed. He didn't, not really, but better his father hear the story from him. Besides, it would probably be a while yet before the CSU technicians were done and they could even think about getting some sleep.
"You better make us both some strong coffee. I have a feeling that we're going to need it," Steve said to his father. Moments later, he heard the familiar sounds of his father rummaging around the kitchen and suddenly, he didn't know where to start. It had been easier before, when he'd been talking to Rayner to give his statement. Then, there had been protocol to fall back on. Plus Rayner was virtually a stranger; a man Steve barely knew enough to say hello to in the hallways - that had made it easier as well. With his father, it was different. Their relationship was a close one and he knew his father would be a sympathetic listener and wouldn't judge him in any way, not for his feelings for Lynn and not for what he been forced to do in the end. He wouldn't have traded their relationship for anything and yet, the prospect of this particular conversation filled him with apprehension.
Steve was pulled abruptly from his sombre thoughts when he heard his father calling his name. Judging by the smell of fresh coffee filling the air, he realized that he must have been lost in thought for quite some time.
"Steve, are you sure you want to do this now? Mark asked softly. "A burglary coming on top of everything else that's happened in the last few days..."
"Burglary?" Steve interrupted, suddenly realizing that his father really didn't know anything yet. He had assumed, why he wasn't quite sure, that he knew, but now that he thought about it, there was really no way his father could know what had happened. After all, they had all been convinced that Lynn was dead.
"It wasn't a burglary?" Mark asked and Steve could hear the renewed alarm in his voice.
"It was Lynn. She...she must have faked the accident somehow, I don't know how. She came back to finish what she started," Steve broke off.
"I'm so sorry, son," Mark replied quietly after several moments of heavy silence. Steve knew by both his words and his tone that he had either guessed or somehow deduced how the confrontation had ended.
"Me, too. I just wish I could have helped her, you know. Instead I killed her!" Steve said, his words fuelled by anger directed at himself.
"I know you do. But we both know that we can't help everyone, no matter how much we want to. And I think that was the case with Lynn. In the end, you did what you had to do. And to be honest, I don't feel sorry that's her and not you lying in the morgue now," Mark finished firmly.
Steve nodded. He knew his father had a point. He knew that there had been no choice; Lynn had left him none in the end. He had to kill her or be killed. He knew from experience that it would take time for him to find his way back to normal and to accept what he had done. He also knew that he could count on his father being there for him every step of the way.