Title: I'm Movin' On
Author: Beth Pryor
Summary: An alternative ending to Susie and Brad's story in Season 10.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything and this is all for fun.
A/N: While researching Matt Passmore's career/body of work, I found his six episode arc on Blue Heelers, a show I'd never heard of but really did find enjoyable. I've only watched a handful of episodes, so I really hope I got enough of the essence of the show in this one. Title is from the Rascal Flatts song of the same name whose lyrics say so eloquently what I'm looking to portray.
I'm Movin' On
Ben pushed the door open in front of her after she couldn't. She'd seen the other man, Robert Morton, hanging there, and she couldn't get visions of Brad in the same position out of her head.
"It's okay. He's not here." He walked back into the main room of the flat. "His chair's gone."
"Where's he gone? Where's he gone? Where's he gone? Where'd he go?" She wailed as she collapsed into Ben's chest, tears streaming but just for a moment before she pulled back. "I should be looking for him."
"No, you need to be here," Ben rationalized. "Just in case he comes back."
Susie mind couldn't help but leap to conclusions. "What if he's lying somewhere in a ditch? What if he's hurt himself?"
"I'll be on with PJ and the others. There's only so far you can go in that state in a wheelchair." The last part came almost as an afterthought for Ben. "Oh, I'm sorry. Come on, sit down. I want you to stop imagining the worst, okay. I'll get them to patrol all the streets, check all the pubs. They will find him."
She nodded her agreement until she remembered the worst part. "They're gonna know about the gun. It's all my fault."
"Susie, I have to tell them. You know that." Ben pulled her shaking form into his stronger one. "Hey, come here. It's okay. Everything is gonna be okay." For a second she believed him until Brad's hoarse whisper cut through the perceived moment.
"Just colleagues, eh?" He laughed. "What's the real story? You're having it off, aren't ya, the two of you?"
Susie turned to face him. She knew the tone. "Brad, baby. You're drunk."
"She's just worried about you, Brad." Ben chimed in, not really helping the situation.
Brad sat in front of them, completely unimpressed. "The rest of me might not work too well, but MY EYES ARE FINE! I KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON!"
As his voice and temper escalated, Ben tried again as he stepped to the right and away from Susie. "Brad, you've got it wrong, mate."
"No, no. You want it, you stay with her, mate."
"What are you gonna do? Shoot me?" Ben wasn't exactly sure that he wouldn't.
"I was in the job, mate. I know the moves, split the target. It's not gonna work."
Susie took a step toward him while his attention stayed on Ben. "Brad, please. You don't want to do this." She moved to his side and placed her hand on his, on the gun.
He paused for a moment looked up at Ben, over at her and then at his hand, extending to form the gun. "Oh God. Susie. I'm, oh God. I just can't anymore."
"I know, Baby. I know." He released the gun into her hand as she sunk to the floor beside him.
Ben was instantly on top of them, clearing the firearm and securing the scene. He let them hold their embrace for a moment before he gently pulled Susie back. "Are you okay?" he asked as she moved back towards the door. She nodded. Brad slumped forward, racked with his own sobs.
"Brad, I have to arrest you. Do you have anything else on you that's dangerous? No knife or anything?"
"No," he breathed, reaching his hands forward so Ben could apply the cuffs. "I'm sorry, Ben."
"I know you are, mate, but you need help. We're going to get you some help."
Three Months Later
The sun shone brightly through the ceiling to floor windows behind Brad. She had to squint to look at him. He was almost angelic, and for a moment, she could see him on a surfboard paddling past the break, laughing back at her as he splashed forward. She caught herself in a small smile as his words drew her back.
"I've thought about it a lot Suze. I can't move on here."
She'd ached for him over the past months he'd been completing his court-mandated rehabilitation period. She'd already decided to do whatever he asked for the two of them to make a go at it. "Then I'll request a transfer. Where do you want to go, Melbourne, Sydney, back home, Perth?"
He looked over at her before dropping his eyes and running his hands through his hair, avoiding her longing gaze.
"Oh, right. I see. It's no so much about the location as it is about me." Her face burned. "Did you have sex with your therapist here, too?" She shot at him, instantly regretting her hurtful outburst.
"Susie, come on." His voice exuded complete calm, like he was trying to be strong for her, steer her back on course.
She noted the irony of their ever-changing role reversal. It hadn't been her intention to lash out, but she wanted a say in their life. She wanted her husband back. "No, Brad, every time it seems like things are starting to go a little better for you, I end up broken-hearted, so why should today be any different?"
"It's not like that. There's no one else." The honesty in his eyes was palpable; there wasn't anyone else. Her understanding hit her like a punch to the stomach.
"But there's no more 'us,' is that it?"
He reached for her hand and looked at her as though she were very simple and needed help understanding. "We haven't been 'us' since I've been in the chair."
"That's not true." She didn't want it to be true.
"What do you see when you look at me, Suze? The uniform?" She shook her head, but not convincingly. "You still see everything we've lost. And I can't take back what I've done. I know I've acted badly toward you and made a fool of myself in front of your coworkers. But I've realized I can't do it anymore. I can't be around the job."
"Brad," she pleaded, but he continued.
"And when I am, all I can see is what we've lost. What I've lost." He concluded with imposing finality.
"So you're willing to give me up as well?" As soon as she said it, she knew he already had.
"I know it seems terribly harsh when it's put like that."
"What are you saying?" She was going to make him say the actual words out loud, so there'd be no misunderstanding.
"I want a divorce."
"Please think about this…" She trailed off as she caught the resolution in his eyes.
"I've been thinking about it for the past three months. The paperwork's done. All I'm asking for is my pension."
"I can't believe it's come to this."
"Then you haven't been living with us for the past two years." She dropped her head into her hands. He moved forward quietly and pulled her into an embrace. "Susie my wife, Susie my life," he whispered into her hair. "I'm sorry I couldn't be better for you."
"I love you, Brad. I always will," she choked through her tears. "Where will you go?"
"I spoke with a friend from home. He has a place in Broadbeach where I can stay and he's given me a position at his surf shop, at least for a while. After that, who knows. Maybe start training for real. I re-started the countdown." Hope flowed through his words for the first time in as long as she could remember - at least since he'd been recommended for Sargeant back in Richmond the week before his accident more than two years ago.
"Sounds lovely." She forced a smile. As much as her heart was hurting, she wanted it to be lovely for him.
"Yeah, well, not exactly what I expected – what we expected is it?"
She smiled again and squeezed his hand. "Stay safe, Brad." She stood and kissed his cheek before exiting the room. She barely held it together as the front guard signed her out. She nearly jogged across the yard to her car and slid into the front seat as the first tear slipped from between her eyelids. A million more followed.