Disclaimer: I do not own Private Practice or the characters within, they are creations of Shonda Rhimes and I am simply borrowing them for my own entertainment.
AN: I needed to expand that scene on the couch just a little bit. Many thanks to my beta, Mediatorsk for her help :)
He notices that she chooses to take a seat on the very opposite end of the couch from him, just like he noticed the very careful way she touched his arm when thanking him just minutes ago. She hasn't tried to shrink him in a week and while that is always a welcome change, she's also stopped approaching him in general. It's like she's afraid to, like his latest blow-up has taken away her last piece of courage and she's taken to walking on egg shells around him.
It used to be him avoiding her; avoiding her constant nagging, always well-meaning, but annoying nonetheless; avoiding her many attempted analyses and theories regarding his ever-changing moods; walking out of the room whenever her presence got to be a bit too much; turning away from her the minute she got into bed – now she's avoiding him. And the surprising thing; he's beginning to miss her.
He still sees her every day. He hears her in the morning when she's across the hallway, chatting along with their two year old son as she helps him change into his new clothes, in the kitchen when they take turns making breakfast, in the evening when one of them is always waiting up for the other to come home, even if they aren't talking very much anymore. She's there physically, but there's a void. And he feels that void.
He couldn't go to sleep last night, knowing she was still up; her last words to him haunting his thoughts.
We had a life… you know… before… and I just… I just want it back…
It wasn't until hours later when he heard her sneak into the bedroom and he felt her presence in the bed right next to him that he finally drifted off…
His thoughts and feelings have been through the wringer these past few months, altering between anger and at times hatred towards his wife, and longing for happier times when he didn't doubt his decision to marry her. He knows he loves her. Most of the time it seems those emotions have been locked away someplace he can't reach just yet, but then he will see her fragility, her frustration and her despair; and his heart breaks for her, and he's compelled with the desire to make it better, like going to Sheldon today.
It's been ten minutes and she hasn't yielded from her spot on the opposite side of the couch and he can't take the distance, the void between them anymore.
He doesn't say anything. Instead he reaches out and gently pulls her closer to him. She turns her head towards him, a similar look of surprise on her face as the one she had when he first suggested putting on 'American Bake-off' for her. He gives her a soft smile in return and as she turns her attention back to the TV he feels all the tension going out of her shoulders. She leans her head on his shoulder as he closes his arm around her petite frame.
The scent of her shampoo reaches his nostrils and he feels compelled to press his lips to her forehead. It's not so different from a moment years before, the moment that started all of this. And at least for now, he remembers… what it was that made him fall in love with her in the first place…