Title: The Envelope
Rating: K+ or PG
Pairing: Light Dave/Sarah, mentioned Dave/Rita and Stuart/Rita
Spoilers: For all episodes of 'Single Father'
Warnings: Super light adult themes
Disclaimer: I don't own Single Father. If I did, there'd be much less sad!Dave and much more Sarah and Rita bashing.
Summary: Dave held the envelope in his hands. The envelope from Glasgow. The envelope from the labratory. The envelope that could either settle his stupid fears or rip his life apart. A 'what if' fic, if you will. My first Single Father fic, please R&R!
Author's Notes: I can write nothing but sad fics. This is a plot bunny originating from my original perception that they weren't Dave's kids, but then they explained it and I did a little happy dance. Reviews are love!
It was here.
Dave held the envelope in his hands. The envelope from Glasgow. The envelope from the labratory. The envelope that could either settle his stupid fears or rip his life apart. His hands were shaking, and he stared at the crisp letter, tempted to throw it away and forget about the whole thing. This was ridiculous. They were his children. He'd held them at the hospital. He was their for their first words, their first steps, their first lost tooth. He took videos at their first Christmas. He should feed this envelope to the paper shredder and never give it a second thought.
He swallowed, sitting up straighter and staring down at the letter. He had to do this. For himself, for Paul, for Evie, for Ewan. For Sarah.
His shaking hands opened the envelope, and a violent tremor passed through him as he pulled out four sheets of paper, folded perfectly into thirds. Dave placed three of them beside him on the bed, and held the fourth in his hands. Another swallow. As a bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, he unfolded the letter.
His eyes flitted over the information, looking for the consolation he wanted, the consolation he desperately needed. The first letter was Paul's. "Don't let me be right," he whispered, begging, praying. "Please..." His eyes locked on the only phrases that mattered. 'The DNA of Paul Tiler...tested against that of Dave Tiler...negative.'
Dave bit his lip, his eyes squeezing shut. "No..." Sarah was wrong. He was right. Rita had been unfaithful, just as he had feared. The woman he had loved, the woman who's children he thought he'd fathered. He dropped the paper, his hands coming up to cover his face. Keep going, he told himself. He picked up the next letter.
'Ewan Tiler...tested against that of...negative.' Dave let out a small yelp, his teeth sinking further into his bottom lip. This couldn't be happening, it just couldn't. He took a deep, but shaky, breath. Next paper.
The paper drifted to the floor. Read the last one...read the last one...It might say that the results aren't one-hundred percent sure...you never know... He knew it was a desperate thought, but Dave forced himself to pick up the last sheet, which had the conclusions of the tests. 'None of the submitted children's DNA matched that of Dave Tiler...however, it is certain that all three children do share the same father.'
Another paper on the floor. Dave let himself lose it, biting his lip so hard that he could taste the bitter tang of blood. "Please, please, no..." His finger and thumb found his arm, pinching the skin. A dream, let it be a dream...a nightmare. But he didn't wake up. This was real; his worst nightmare had come to life. He stumbled across the room and collapsed against the door. Tears cascaded down his cheeks, and he curled into a ball on the floor. Rita, the woman he had loved with all of his heart, had betrayed him, and lied to him, for years. Ewan, Evie, and Paul, the children that he loved, that he would lay his life down for without a second thought, were not his. He wished that none of this had ever happened, that he could go back before the crash, before the doubt, before Stuart...But it was impossible. He was completely and utterly alone in the world. Dave hit his head against the door repeatedly, with increasing force. "No..." he groaned, his entire body racked with violent sobs. "No, no..."
Dave couldn't help himself. He screamed, breathing heavily as teardrop after teardrop rolled down his face and soaked into the carpet. Rita lied...she lied to me...so much pain...Ewan isn't my child, Paul isn't my child, Evie isn't my child... The thoughts raced through his head, twisting the remains of his shattered heart and driving him mad. Somewhere, through the shouts of self-hatred in his head, he heard the front door opening. Isn't it what you deserve? You kissed Sarah, almost slept with her...Rita had been dead for less than half a year...you're disgusting...pathetic...useless... He was moaning loudly now, his fingers pulling at his hair. He barely heard the loud thumps of footsteps running up the stairs.
Anna's frantic cries drove stakes into his heart. Go away... He silently pleaded in his head, his sobbing becoming louder as he let himself get more and more distressed. Why do you care? You shouldn't care, no one should care...no one can help...please, just leave me alone... However, he wanted her to find him. Hell, he wanted anyone to find him. He needed someone to comfort him, to drive these thoughts from his mind before he did something drastic. Anna managed to push open the door, despite Dave's weight leaning against it.
"Dave? My God, Dave, what's wrong?" Anna crouched down next to him, and he latched onto her, seeking some sort of response. Tell me it'll be alright...help me tie a noose to the fan... Much to Dave's relief, Anna pulled him closer, wrapping her arms around his trembling form. "Dave, what's happened? Please, are you alright?"
Alright? He shook his head, a new wave of sadness hitting him. Alright? Nothing was alright. Nothing was ever going to be alright again. Each raspy breath was painful, each inhale putting pressure on the sharp edges of his broken heart.
Paul, Lucy, Ewan, and Evie ran up the stairs and into the bedroom. "Anna? What's wrong with Dad?" Lucy asked, looking concerned. Paul and Ewan appeared to be confused, while Evie looked ready to cry.
"It's not alright," Dave managed to force out, his eyes squeezing shut. "Nothing is alright. Never again...never..."
Anna lifted her head. "Lucy, run downstairs and call Michelle, tell her that something's happened to Dave and that she needs to get here right away. Then call Robin and tell him I'm going to be late, alright?" The fifteen year old nodded and rushed out of the room.
"Daddy?" Evie walked over and knelt down next to Anna and Dave, a tear running down her face. "What's wrong? Do you miss Mommy?"
The jagged remains of Dave's heart clenched. He reached forward and pulled Evie into a hug, rocking her back and forth as he continued to cry. "Evie..." he murmured, trying to give her an answer. But he couldn't say anything.
About half an hour later, Michelle had arrived, Tanya with her. They had been grocery shopping when they got a call from a frantic Lucy. They were now sitting in the living room, with the four Tiler children, and Robin, who had insisted on coming over when he was called. Anna sat next to him, Dave's tears still drying on her jacket. Dave sat across from everyone, staring at the floor, until Anna spoke up. "Dave. You said you needed to talk to us."
Dave, for a moment, said nothing. Then, he sighed, gathering up all the courage he could. He lifted his head, looking straight at Paul, Evie, and Ewan.
"Before I say anything, I want one thing to be clear." He swallowed, unsure if he'd be able to get through this. "Paul, Ewan, Evie. I love you all very, very much. You are my life, and that will never, ever, change. Do you understand?" Evie, looking scared, nodded. Ewan and Paul nodded as well.
"Dad?" Hearing the word out of Paul's mouth made Dave want to cry again, but he held his ground. "What's going on?"
Dave sighed. "When I found Lucy's dad, and found out that Rita and Stuart had been meeting up without me knowing, I didn't give it a second thought." He paused a moment. "But, as I kept searching through Rita's diaries, I...I noticed a pattern. A few of the times that Stuart and Rita met...the dates lined up with a couple of other dates...nine months later." He used the phrase so that the adults and Lucy could understand. He noticed Anna going pale.
"That's when I started to panic. But I told myself that it was impossible. Still, I doubted, and being the horrible person that I am..." He was tempted to pause longer but by the look on Tanya's face, he figured he better continue before she tried to tell him he wasn't horrible. "I sent in Paul, Ewan, and Evie's DNA, along with my own, for a paternity test." He bit his lip, feeling the tears coming back again. "I just got the results back today..."
"Daddy, you're crying again." Evie's voice piped up as a tear rolled down Dave's cheek. Dave sucked in a deep breath.
"Paul, Evie, Ewan, I love you so much. I'll always love you, and I'll always be here for you, no matter what. But...I'm not your father." His face fell into his hands, and he struggled to keep his composure. After a long silence, he looked up, to see a room full of shocked, sympathetic faces.
No one moved. Finally, Evie got up from the couch and walked over to Dave's chair. She leaned her head on his knee, hugging his leg. "You'll always be my Daddy," she whispered. Dave bent over and picked her up, and she held onto him. He wrapped his arms around her, crying silently.
"Evie..." he murmured. "Thank you." He breathed deeply, blinking a few times to clear his vision. "Now, I understand if you want to live with your real fath-"
"What?" Ewan jumped up, frowning. "I don't want to go live with some strange man! He's not my dad, you are." The nine year old ran over and hugged Dave, burying his face into his arm. He looked up at Dave. "You're not going to make us go, are you?"
"I'm not going either!" Paul protested, getting up and hugging Dave as well. "You can't send us away. You can't. This is our home, not with that man. He's a stranger!"
Dave bit his lip as he felt another wave of tears hit him. "No one is getting sent anywhere," he reassured them. "I just thought...that you'd want to leave..."
"No!" All three children yelled at the same time. Anna, who had a tear rolling down her cheek, lifted a hand to hide her laughter. Dave smiled, hugging the three children close to him, tears silently falling from his eyes. He glanced up. Lucy, Michelle and Tanya, Robin, and Anna. Their little broken, messed up, ridiculous 'family'. The only one missing...
A knock on the door broke his train of thought. He sighed, and broke away from the three kids, combating their complaints with "I'll be back, I've just got to answer the door." He realized he was probably in quite a state, so he silently hoped it was a prank, or a salesman, or someone else who didn't care.
He opened the door to see the last person he wanted to see - Sarah. His hearts tightened - she had been so confident, so sure that she was right. How would she react to see that she was wrong?
She wasn't looking at him; she was reading over the pile of mail in her hand. "Hey, I had grabbed your mail for you the other day while I was watching the kids and left it in...my..." She looked up as she spoke, her face quickly becoming concerned. Her eyes flitted over his swollen eyes, his red face, and the tear tracks running down his face. "Dave? What's wrong?"
Dave swallowed, struggling to keep a calm front, but he could feel his resolve crumbling down. "I...I..." He closed his eyes, and let out a deep, shaky breath. "The test results came." Four words. That's all it took for his mask to shatter. Hot, fresh tears spilled over onto his cheeks. He felt two soft, familiar arms wrap around him. Dave leaned into Sarah's warmth, wishing that he could stay in her embrace forever, but he knew that could never happen. He had to pull away, wipe his eyes on the back of his hand, and keep pretending that there was nothing between them.
He was about to ask her to come back at another time, but the kids had wandered out of the living room. "Sarah!" Evie ran over and hugged her leg. "Daddy's sad," she informed her.
"I know, Evie," Sarah replied, bending down to hug the little girl. She looked up at Dave, who's eyes were still shining with unshed tears. Sad eyes, the chocolate brown eyes that reflected Dave's tattered soul. He'd been betrayed, lied to, in the worst ways. She knew that he didn't see himself as hurt; he saw himself as pitiful, and revolting, all because she couldn't control her stupid emotions. Sarah sighed, gazing at Dave, the damaged man she'd come to know.
The damaged man she'd come to love.
SAD FIC IS SAD. Reviews?