A/N: Yikes…just about a year since updating. I'll try not to let it happen again, guys. :( Very special thanks to Artistic Punk, SlenderXLover, KorroksApostle, Ravenclaw992, linalove, pourquoibella, Cleonie 'Jayne Mansfield' Quin, ZenyZootSuit, LivinJgrl123, AliceMoodDark, Moka-girl, Guest, Guest, Hypertown, MiSSxMELON, and MiriamMarina for your reviews. :D
As soon as I sat in The Chair in Crane's office, I let it swallow me up with a weird feeling of real familiarity; I'd missed it, in a way. Though my time with Crane had so far been short (and not exactly pleasant), there was an insane comfort I got from his office. It was, in many ways, a kind of odd sanctuary, school but not school, the real world but not the real world at all, just a strange little place with the afternoon sun coming in, the smell of books, and a rather comfortable chair I'd never realized I might actually miss after being away from it a week.
Crane sat down in his seat across from me, crossing one leg over the other ever so elegantly and letting his hands settle in his lap overtop of his notebook. He too looked calm, a little more relaxed than last I saw him. My guess was that he was happy not to have to do another session in the hospital. I was, too.
"Well," he began calmly, offering me a (slightly apprehensive) smile and keeping his eyes fixed with mine. "I can see you have something on your mind. Would you like to talk about it?"
I did and I didn't. If he had really assigned the diagnosis of personality disorder to my file folder, I wanted to know what it meant, what I had to do to make it better. But at the same time, I had no idea what it was, and I was worried about what I was going to hear.
"I'm not sure," I said at last, in all honesty. "Seeings how I wasn't exactly privy to the fact that I may have a personality disorder."
I watched his face fall quite suddenly, and at first his eyebrows furred as if in confusion and then his eyes flashed, as though they'd been electrically charged. He mouth tensed as if he meant to curl his lip and sneer, but he caught himself before he could. All in all it was surprising, and I watched it all unfold with what was probably a real dumbfounded look on my face. I'd never seen him taken aback like that.
And he did not completely recover, either. He shifted in his seat, somewhat uncomfortable, and his eyes flitted about the room for a split second. "I see," he said after awhile, tensely. "And just who gave you that information?"
I regretted mentioning it, and I was hesitant to say who'd mentioned it, given how he looked pissed off enough to kill whoever it was. "It just...I...my dad and stepmom were over for dinner and it just kinda...came out over the conversation."
Crane regarded me seriously for a moment, as though trying to figure out if I was lying to him or not, and then he dropped his eyes to review his notes in his little notebook, as if looking for a plan B. "I see..."
I rubbed my temple idly, staring at the tissue box sitting on the coffee table between us. "Why didn't you tell me?" His eyes snapped up at me as though I'd reprimanded him for something and I was quick to finish my thought. "I mean...didn't we agree to discuss a diagnosis? I...seem to remember a conversation we had about discussing a diagnosis..."
Truth be told, I was weirded out. Crane stared at me, his eyes shaking a little, like he was trying to juggle two conversations at once, the one with me, and another one in his head or something. His eyes were so blue, so blue, that I was convinced for a second they were going to catch fire.
"We did agree," he said tensely, and I could tell he was trying to maintain his temper. "but it isn't a solid diagnosis, Hanna. It's a..." he held out his hands, and quieted as though trying to affix the right word to it. "Possibility."
I watched him and took it all in, and then I had to look away, feeling somewhat relieved but at the same time weirdly disappointed. On the one hand, the news that he hadn't totally settled on the diagnosis of a personality disorder was welcome, but then it just opened itself up to the possibility of something else, something worse, maybe. If there was something wrong with me, and quite obviously there was, I wanted to do what I could to fix it, help it out a little, as soon as was possible.
I didn't say anything, I just let the news wash over me, and crossing my arms over my chest, I sat myself as far back into the chair as I could.
Crane watched me, and it seemed that in the silence that had settled between us he had taken the time to calm down a little. His expression wasn't quite as grim, his eyes not quite as flashy. He adjusted his glasses and shifted -almost sheepishly- in his seat, before letting the tiniest of smiles grace his lips. "How has your time off been so far?"
I looked down at my hands in my lap. "It's been good, actually. I got home and slept for a day and a half."
One of Crane's finely trimmed eyebrows rose in piqued interest. "On top of the rest from the hospital?"
I looked up at him and nodded. "Yeah..." I shrugged my shoulders. "Guess the doctors were right, maybe I'm just...really exhausted."
Crane held out his hands slightly, as though it were an entirely plausible explanation. "It's been an exhausting year for you."
I snorted a little in my throat, considering everything that had happened in the year, and about Crane's supposed theory that I had an Elektra complex. Just the thought of it all was fairly exhausting. "Yeah, I guess."
We sat in silence for a moment and then Crane shifted a little in his seat, turning a page in his notebook and reviewing what he'd written. I watched his eyes flitter over his notes; I don't know why, but the man's eyes were so blue they almost didn't look natural. Sometimes you just had to stare at them to really figure out what-
"So," Crane sat up in his seat and raised his eyes to me, and I sat up straight to attention. "Your father had a chance to meet Dr. Roberts at the hospital."
I resisted the urge to sneer indignantly as I remembered what had happened at the doomed dinner with Dad and Diana. I shook my head slightly, looking away from him. "Yeah."
"Did that go as badly as you feared?" Crane asked, quite delicately.
Scenes from the hospital came back to me then, a flurry of memories: Dean all excited because he had the sense the introductions had gone well, and then Dad telling me in the garden how he wanted to punch Dean out. And then the dinner, fuck...nobody would have called the whole thing a success, but on the one hand they had accepted the dinner invitation when they could have refused. Dean was as hospitable and wonderful as could be, didn't give them any reason not to like him. They hadn't gotten into a shouting match or a fist fight or anything of the sort...not a success. But it could have gone a lot worse.
"Well..." I was hesitant to describe it one way over the other. "I guess not. I mean, Dad wasn't over the moon about it, but we all had dinner the other night and Dad didn't seem so bad," He was more pissed off with me than he was with Dean, that much was blatantly clear. I managed a little smile. "Dean was charming as ever."
By the end of the night, despite the eruption over dinner, Diana had either liquored up enough or was polite enough to have a fairly enjoyable evening, or so she told us. She was rather taken with Dean, that much was clear, and in a sense I had to consider that a victory; maybe she'd talk some sense into Dad, convince him that Dean wasn't such a bad guy.
When I looked up at Dr. Crane, his gaze was hard on me, his blue eyes narrowing. "Did you tell Dr. Roberts about your hallucination?"
The question surprised me, because I hadn't considered it before. Dean hadn't asked about the details of the hallucination, not once. And I hadn't exactly offered any information about it myself, but I probably would have if he asked. It seemed kind of weird…surely Dean would have asked about it at some point, if not right away…but then again perhaps he felt it was none of his business or it would just make matters worse? I had no idea, but suddenly I felt a little put off. "No. He hasn't asked and I...haven't really said anything about it."
He nodded a little, as though he'd been anticipating that answer, and took a moment to write something in his notebook. I looked down at my hands and realized I was getting fidgety, picking at my fingernails and wringing my hands, even when I wasn't conscious of it. I stuck my hands in the pockets of my sweater and sat back in the chair, watching Dr. Crane write. I chewed at my bottom lip thoughtfully. "Y'know how..."
Suddenly, I wished I hadn't opened my mouth, or that by some miracle in the air of GothamU he didn't hear what I'd said…but Dr. Crane looked up with his eyebrows piqued in curiosity, his pen lying dormant between his long white fingers.
Part of me told me not to continue my question, but before I knew it, it had already left my mouth. "Y'know how you told me that Dean told the nurses he was my fiancee?"
Crane simply blinked at me and then nodded. "Yes?"
I swallowed while my cheeks burned, and I found that I was so mortified that I couldn't even look at him. I couldn't believe I actually asked that, that I let it slip out of my head as easy as that. I could feel Dr. Crane's curious gaze on me.
"Have you and Dr. Roberts discussed marriage?" He asked after a moment of silence.
I looked up at him, alarmed. "No!"
Dr. Crane shifted in his seat a little, tilting his head to the side, as though we had touched on a subject he was rather enjoying. I could see a little smile playing at his lips. "But you've given it some thought?"
I couldn't deny that; we were living together, it seemed as though the next plausible step was to get married, after all, though we'd never discussed it; we never discussed it because we both seemed perfectly tranquil with how things were at present. But I had thought about it from time to time, thought about the wedding we'd have, if there would be much of a wedding...it would have to be after my schooling was finished, which would have been fine...would things change that much if we did?
I found myself shrugging in response to his question. "Well, I would like to get married someday. I mean...I'm 25, not getting any younger," and then I smirked a little, looking up at him and giving him a smile. "Like you said, perfect specimen to get pregnant."
Dr. Crane considered me and his expression fell into a frown, and his eyes flitted off to the side for a moment as though he was trying to remember something. He crossed his legs, folding his arms in his lap, and then cradled his face with his fingers, looking at me curiously. "When did I say that?"
"When I was..." but I found myself fading out, realizing that he actually hadn't said it at all, that he'd said it in that horrible invasive dream I'd had.
He watched me quietly, and when I looked at him he still had that frown on his face, but looked to me expectedly. "Hanna?"
I shook my head, dismissing it; the last thing, the very last thing I wanted, was to discuss that dream with him. On top of everything, I didn't need to know that I was having dreams about my therapist showing up in my bedroom talking to me about pregnancy. "I'm sorry, it must have been someone else."
Whether he bought that or not was hard to gauge based on his expression. His eyes narrowed to me a little bit, but then he looked down at his notebook as though eager to move on to another topic, and I would have seconded that notion out loud, if necessary. I could feel the blood gushing in the apples of my cheeks from the embarrassment.
After a moment of silence, he sucked in a breath through his nostrils and let it out very slowly. "Hanna..."
I could tell by the tenuous air between us what he was going to ask. "I'm not pregnant," I told him, beating him to it. "If that's what you're thinking."
Dr. Crane watched me quite carefully with that frown. "You're sure? It's possible your exhaustion is being caused by a pregnancy."
With that, I felt my heart jump up into my throat.
"No," I said, shaking my head, not looking at him. "No, I can't be pregnant, Dean and I are always so careful, we use double protection."
We did partly because I had been on birth control before we even met, and then because Dean had been so insistent on it, specifically when we had just been fooling around, at first. We were on the same page, to be sure; we were having fun, and we were having a lot of fun, and that was all we wanted, and we were careful, we were so careful.
I couldn't be...I couldn't be...
I looked down at my stomach and felt it churn under my gaze. No...no, they would have done the necessary tests at the hospital that would have picked up on a pregnancy...wouldn't they? Surely they would have taken that into consideration, given my age and...well, I presumed since Dean said he was my fiancee, they would have asked about our sexual activity to rule out some things. But I didn't know, I didn't even think to ask him, or ask the doctors, and it had never been brought up at all. And with all the excitement over the therapy and the hospital stay and everything, I couldn't even remember for sure when I had my last period.
But...the hallucination wouldn't have been caused by a pregnancy. That was a head thing, a brain thing, not something that could be triggered by...hormone changes...
I sucked in a very alarmed breath and held it for moments while goosebumps rolled over my arms. Suddenly I had the greatest urge to hyperventilate, but I fought, absolutely fought to keep it cool.
If Dr. Crane picked up on my sudden anxiety, he didn't show it. "Are you opposed to the notion of having children with Dr. Roberts?"
I shook my head before I had a chance to really give it any thought, but of course that had crossed my mind once or twice too, same as the marriage thing. Dean would make an amazing father, I knew it, I knew he'd be very caring and attentive and nurturing, I knew he would be; I'd thought about what it would be like if we turned Dean's office into a nursery, but only fleetingly, never seriously. Never seriously enough to ever broach the subject with him directly.
"No," I said. "Not opposed, but..."
But somehow it didn't seem to come into the picture. Dean never mentioned it, ever, though surely he must have thought about it too, given how we were living together.
I could feel Dr. Crane looking at me, waiting. "But?"
I sucked in a breath and let it out in a sigh, not sure how to continue. I felt at a loss.
Luckily, I didn't have to, as the buzzer went off abruptly, interrupting my train of thought.
Dr. Crane looked lazily at the buzzer over his shoulder and uncrossed his legs, and then he leaned towards me and gave me a little smile. "Let's continue this on Thursday, shall we?"
I nodded, too happy to have the session done and over with. "Okay."
He stood up and set down his notebook on his desk, and then went to the door to open it for me. He nodded to me as I went towards it. "Until then, take care and get your rest."
I slung my purse over my shoulder and gave him a short but appreciative nod, despite the fact I was feeling a little sick to my stomach. "See ya, Dr. Crane."
I was barely in the door 10 minutes, having placed the box on the coffee-table, when Lydia knocked and let herself in, all smiles, until she started to unravel her scarf from around her neck and saw the pregnancy test. Her smile was gone, and her eyes went wide, and before I knew that she'd seen it, it was too late, and all I could do was prepare for the onslaught.
"Oh my gawd!" She shrieked, and pointed to the box. "This is why you called me over?!"
I clasped my hands together in front of me to beg her to be lenient. "Lydia, please don't freak out, please, I beg you."
There was no hiding the upset in my voice, I could hear it as I know she heard it, I could see it as her scowl softened and her eyes became more gentle. But she crossed her arms over her chest and her eyes went back to the box. I knew she didn't want to look at it but she couldn't draw her eyes away. I sighed heavily and sat on the arm of the couch, staring at the box.
"Do you really think you're pregnant?" she asked me, her tone just bordering on being very ugly, but I could tell she was trying to keep her temper.
I rubbed my face and shrugged. "Dr. Crane suggested that maybe my exhaustion is the result of a pregnancy, so..." I gestured to the box. "Here we are."
Lydia stood there with her arms crossed over her chest. "And...what, and the doctors at the hospital just missed it?"
"Well they were looking for a brain tumor, Lyd, not a fetus!" I was so close to yelling but kept my voice down, hard as it was. Fuck how I wished she was easier to talk to.
Lydia went oddly quiet, and when I looked up at her, her eyes were wide and disbelieving. "Jesus, Hanna..." she muttered under her breath, letting her backpack slide off her shoulder and unceremoniously fall to the floor. "It's bad enough you're sleeping with Dr. Roberts, but pregnant with his baby?"
"I don't know if I am yet, do I?" I shrieked at her, totally unable to help myself, and I watched the way the reprimand hit her like a slap to the face. She pressed her lips together and looked away, and suddenly there was nothing I wanted to do more at that moment than cry. "God..."
A dead silence polluted the air between us for a long time. Lydia stood there, not moving, not saying a word, and I sat there, staring at her boots. I understood why she was upset; I'd probably be upset too, if our roles were reversed. If I was pregnant, if I kept it, I'd have to drop out of school. I'd have to explain it to my father. Worse, I'd have to face Dean, and I don't know why but his reaction scared me worst of all.
After a moment, I heard Lydia sigh. "Have you told him?"
Her voice was softer, but I could still hear the disapproval in her voice. I looked up at her and met her eyes, her upset but non-judgmental eyes, and I shook my head. "No, and I'm not going to tell him unless I am."
She nodded her head firmly, as if she was positive that was the right way to go about it. "Right..."
I still wanted to cry, but I was so relieved that she wasn't about to storm out on me that I withheld the urge and instead let out the deep breath I'd been unaware I was holding in. I stood up and looked at the box, hesitated to pick it up, like it was some kind of land mine, and when I looked at Lydia, her eyes were wide and watching me calmly.
A single tear rolled down the apple of my cheek and I brushed it away. "I just...didn't want to be alone."
Though her expression remained the same, I could see the sympathetic smile in her eyes. Guess the philosophy major wasn't quite made out of stone.
"Okay," she said, and if I'd asked her to raise the baby with me, and she gave me this tiny little smile, as if to assure me everything would be okay, that whatever happened, at least she was there with me; and in that moment I loved her more than any friend I'd had before. "Here, let me see." she said, reaching for the box.
Later that evening, I was in the kitchen with a cold mug of tea and an abandoned critical article for class sitting on the countertop when I heard Dean come crashing in through the front door. He was late, but secretly I had hoped he'd be much later so I could go to bed and not have to face him till morning. No such luck.
"Heeeyyy," he called from the front room, and I heard the crash of what sounded like books on the coffee table, before he came lumbering in, looking tired and defeated. I smiled meekly as he pulled me into him with one arm and kissed me. "Sorry I'm late, that meeting went on way longer than it should have," he went to the fridge and fished around for a beer. "Did you eat?"
I stared at him and shook my head. "No."
He stood up and frowned at me as he screwed the cap off his beer with his sleeve. "Han, you gotta eat, you don't wanna relapse," he took a sip, but his eyes darkened as he stared at me, as if he sensed that something was desperately wrong. "Are you okay?"
I nodded, rubbing the back of my neck, not looking at him. "Yeah."
"Are you sure?" he placed his beer down on the counter and took one of my hands between his, probably to test it to see if I was clammy, the way my father used to. Then, he swept his palm over my forehead, and a perplexed look settled on his face. "You look really pale."
I took my hand in his and shook my head, giving him a weak smile. "I'm okay, I'm just...I'm just tired."
He nodded and made a contemplative noise in his throat, though I couldn't tell if he was convinced or not. "Did you go to your session today? Was it all right?"
I withheld the urge to be sick all over his mint green shirt and black sweater and struggled to nod. "Yeah."
I could see by the look on his face that he wasn't going to pry with any more questions; he was good at reading me that way, he knew when I didn't want to hear anymore, a man who knew how to pick his battles. So instead, he took my hand in his and grabbed his beer and dragged me out of the kitchen. "C'mon, I could use a shower before bed and I think you're gonna join me."