Note: 'Home is where the heart is'... The question off course stays – where is the heart?
It is not like I'm opening a poll or anything, but quoting Alice in Wonderland it gets 'curiouser and curiouser' how you see who would be Mr. Right for Gill...
There was no other term to use, but kidnapping. How else would you characterise deluding law enforcement to snatch unconscious patient who at the same time happens to be a valuable witness from the hospital bed to hide in undisclosed location? Well, that would be Adams interpretation anyway.
Cal and David had a different perspective. It was not often they saw eye to eye, but this was one of rare times when they did. With Gill's security at stake, they were able not only to agree, but even work as a team. David had ensured the window of opportunity while Cal had literally snatched Gill from the bed, more precisely – with the bed.
Sitting in the back of the ambulance and holding pale fingers in his huge grip David kept rewinding the attack scene in the hospital. Not for the first time he had come too close of losing her forever. Eventless week had given them all false hope that the worst was behind, lulled into false sense of security. That is what happened when you are too involved emotionally and under too much pressure. One of the agents was dead, two more were still missing, Gill was in the hospital, and his own daughter feared him. Everything was already fucked, without Adams and DEA breathing on his neck.
At least with Gill the luck had been on their side. There was no other word than 'fluke' to characterise the outcome of the evening. If the stupid phone call had taken even a second longer, he was not sure Gill would have made it. The dose of the drug that reached her bloodstream had caused serious damage. Whole syringe would have killed her for sure, especially considering her weakened state.
Truth was he wasn't thrilled to leave Gill under Cal's care. Not because he believed that Cal was unable to protect them. It was more jealousy than reason. David still didn't understood how he had managed to simply walk of her life first time. Now it was not even an option, especially considering strong bond between his daughter and Gill.
Nevertheless, try as he might, he couldn't come up with a better plan. At the end of the day safety was more important than feelings. If it had to be Cal Lightman who kept them out of the harm way, so be it. David was not ready to lose 'his' girls because of his own stupidity or jealousy, and especially because of Adams or the case.
Cal went to get Emily and Lena. They would hit the road, leaving David behind to deal with the mess. It was for the best. Anyway it was easier to deal with everything and everyone if he was alone and didn't have to look over his shoulder to check if everyone else was fine too.
Gently brushing hair from Gillian's face David leaned closer and whispered against her ear "Just hang in there, ok? I will do my best to keep you safe, keep you all safe, but you have to get well. Promise me. I can't imagine this world without you in it. Even if you are not by my side, the knowledge that you are there keeps my spirit up during the darkest hours. Lena needs you... I need you... I told you once that I never thought to fall in love in this job and it is still true. Never, until I met you... Gillian."
In the distance he saw approaching figures of Cal, the girls and nurse who kindly agreed to help. He had to flee before they arrived, or Lena would get into hysterics.
Kissing Gill's forehead David took one last look over unresponsive form and exited the car.
They had driven for hours. In the back of the car Gill was hooked up to the machines and nurse was monitoring her vials. The girls were snoozing on the front seat.
Countryside road bent and curved in front of the car like a colourful never ending snake. They had left densely populated areas and were headed to the mountains. It was not simple drive to unknown direction. Cal had precise location in mind.
It was a cottage near the lake that he had found some time ago, even thought about renting and spending some quality time there with his daughter and if stars were lucky – his partner, but never had an opportunity to do. Maybe the opportunity was not the issue. It was more a question of free time and his obsessive streak of control. Although rational part of his mind knew perfectly well that one day or even a week without him at the office wouldn't stop the earth from spinning, he simply couldn't let it go. Force of habit.
The owner of the cottage was an old buddy of Cal's and lived nearby. If the cottage Cal had in mind was occupied, his friend owned several other places in the area. Either way it was best solution Cal could think of. He had never mentioned the place to anyone and now it became really handy.
Two weeks had passed since they moved in the wooden lakeside cottage. The place was amazing, even better than Cal remembered. The two storey log building hidden under tall pine trees offered spectacular view on the lake. Although it was already second half of the summer, the weather was more than generously warm and most time it was sunny. The girls spent a lot of time outdoors, especially in the water. They had their own sandy beach. Although it was small, it was more than enough for two of them. If not for the circumstances of their stay, these would have been best holidays of his entire life.
It had been a little tricky to explain to his friend why they were travelling on a vacation in an ambulance and with practically no suitcases, but Cal had come up with more or less plausible reasoning.
Gill was making slow, but steady progress. Cal still remembered vividly the fear he felt when she hadn't woken at all for first three days. Nurse Betty kindly and patiently explained on more than one occasion that Gill's body simply needed time to heal itself, that all the vials were stable and there was no immediate danger to her life. Even that didn't ease his mind and most of the time Cal sat by her bed. Usually he was not the only occupant, as Lena preferred to stay there and only on rare occasions Emily was able to interest the girl in some activities.
They all lived on standby waiting for the magic moment when Gill would wake. If it was a fairy tale, a simple kiss would have done the trick, but unfortunately it was not the case in real life.
It was evening of day four, when she finally opened those grey orbs. Lena was the first one to notice, as she was watching her like hawk.
Gill was completely disoriented and delusional from the drugs. Her first instincts came from where the picture was cut off and she tried to fight her un-existing attackers. It scared Lena into hysterics and Cal had a hard time to keep Gill in place, as he was afraid to put too big pressure on her fractured ribs.
After that things began to go uphill. Gill was staying wake more and more each day. Most of the time she spent with Lena, Emily often joined them. Cal liked to observe the ease and warmth that radiated in the room. Even beaten and battered Gill had this calming effect of peace and tranquillity on everybody, even him.
When Gillian woke for the first time Lena didn't speak, but with woman's hard work and Emily's assistance and time they had managed to get at least some small replies and short sentences. It was better than nothing and one evening Gill had confessed that after everything that happened, it was more than she had hoped for.
Hematomas on her face and neck were almost gone as was the swelling. Most hurtful part was fractured ribs and worrisome – the concussion. The dizziness and headaches didn't subdue, if only – they grew stronger, but that part Gill kept to herself. She didn't want to worry people around. They had already gone through hell because of her.
The recovery would be much faster, if Gill would receive proper nourishment. Although mere thought or smell of food made her nauseous, she tried to eat. Tried over and over again, but nothing settled down. As soon as she finished a simple toast or porridge, it quickly found its way up.
Nurse kept insisting that physically there were no indications that she was sick to the stomach or any of her other injuries would cause such an effect. In her opinion it was psychological trauma, but Gill refused to acknowledge the fact. She kept denying that there was something wrong, saying that she was fine and it would pass soon.
The truth was she was not fine. Far from it. Psychologist in her knew that she was displaying some early symptoms of PTSD, like terrible flashbacks and violent nightmares. Luckily for now they mostly happened during night when no one was around and strong sedatives mixed with pain killers that kept her usually sharp mind foggy helped to live through them more easily. No one knew about those episodes but her.
Gill dreaded the moment when the nurse would lessen the sedatives and she would be forced to live a night without them. She had some demons to face, but she didn't feel strong enough to do it. Not yet.
One day Gill had asked about the attack and Cal told her general outlines, at least to a level he knew himself. The particular conversation resulted in their first fight after she had regained consciousness. One that Cal still couldn't forgive himself. If it wasn't for his damned pride and jealousy, he wouldn't have acted so foolishly. Why he kept screwing up was beyond Cal.
"Oh my God!" Gill looked at him with huge terrified eyes. The fact that Cal and the girls had been in danger was huge shock. Surprise and quilt was playing on her face "Luckily David pulled out the tubes from IV and sent the cops to your house. Without him we all would be lost."
Last statement was said with such an awe and gratitude that it got Cal's blood boiling "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place!"
"It is not fair Cal! He never wanted for any of this to happen."
"Well, regardless of what he wanted, he let it happen."
"It was beyond his control..."
"If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't be hurt, wouldn't have to fight for your life in the hospital bed..." Cal almost shouted.
If it wasn't for the bloody man, I would never have gone through the nine circles of hell raised out of fear to lose you! was left unsaid.
"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have met Lena." Gill calmly replied to his outburst "Besides he did try his best to protect us all". She knew Cal well enough to know the roots of this outburst. Suppressed emotions of fear and helplessness were finally slipping over the top. He had every right to be mad. Drawn in the middle of sickening carousel he had been a great support. She was not sure she would have made it this far without him. It was feeling of security when he was around that kept her sane, otherwise the nightmares and memories of the events would have engulfed her in the depth of their insanity. Off course he didn't know that he was a steady anchor in the hurricane of her emotions and that mere fact of his presence helped a great deal. It was one more reason why she didn't take any offence of Cal's tantrum.
"One hell of a job he did! You almost died twice. I was almost attacked in my own home".
"The key word is almost."
"Cal, you have every right to be angry at the situation, but not everything is David's fault."
"The bloody hell it is not!"
The way she kept defending the man stung. There was a time when she had made excuses for his actions the same way she was now justifying David. The anger that overtook Cal was irrational; she had done nothing wrong, but still he wanted to smash everything on his way. The fucking Captain America didn't deserve such loyalty, especially considering all of his secrets and lies. The fact that in this regard Cal was the same as the man in question only fuelled frustration.
"Maybe some of it is my fault too, have you thought about it?" she asked in a same calm tone "I knew David was hiding vital information, but never really pressed for it. Maybe if I had, there would have been way to prevent it all, at least to keep you out of this mess."
"You really think that is what bothers me?"
"I don't know. What is it that bothers you Cal?"
"He lied to you."
"So have you on number on occasions."
"He put your life in danger, all of our lives in danger!"
Gill didn't reply to the latest remark, but they both knew the truth. As much as he wouldn't like to admit it, Cal had done exactly the same.
"Why are you defending him?"
There it was – the truth. That was what had been bugging Cal, the sole reason of their argument. He was jealous. Of what she still had to guess. Most probable reason was the fact that her loyalties went outside the Cal Lightman universe.
"Really Cal? Is that what this is all about?"
Cal stared at her pouting, but didn't say a word. What was there to say? That he was a jackass? That when she was alone he mistreated her, but once she found someone, he was not able to let her go, acting like a dog on a haystack.
"As I said, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have met Lena. For that I will always be grateful. The girl had been through a lot. We have gone a long road together and I care for her deeply. Besides she doesn't have anyone else..."
"Well, that is not entirely true, is it?'' Cal interacted indelicately. Somehow even from a distance David Burns managed to get under his skin and it pissed him off. "She has her biological father!"
As soon as the words left his moth, Cal was ready to put a foot in his mouth and stomp it so deeply that it met his guts. What the fuck was he thinking about? Was he thinking at all? To put such a bomb on Gill in her weakened state without a warning. Fuck!
Momentarily paleness and expression of utter shock on Gill's face confirmed his fears. It had been too much to digest. For a long time she was silent and Cal was worrying that he had pushed her beyond the limit. There was no justification to the way he had put Lena's parentage in the open. None whatsoever.
"What do you mean – her biological father?" Gill asked in a rusty voice when she finally got hold of her vocal abilities. Whatever the truth was, it was a major cliff changer.
Cal opened and closed his mouth like a fish on a dry land. The truth was out there in the open and no matter how he tried there simply was no way he could take it back. Not anymore.
He just stood there motionless, looking like a lost sheep. If it wasn't for the gravity of the situation, one could enjoy the fact that Cal had finally been left speechless, most probably for the first time in his life. Gill didn't care for any of that. Words 'biological father' kept playing in her head. There was someone in Lena's life after all. It meant that she would lose the precious girl just like she had lost Sophie. It was inevitable. The question stood only when and how.
Cal saw the myriad of expressions changing on her pale thin face. Disbelief, shock, fear. The latter brought out physical pain and unknowingly Gill's hand reached over her heart, putting a light pressure to ease the ache. He had opened a can of worms, old wounds she had been working so hard to conceal. How didn't he see it before?
"David is Lena's father." Any truth was better than pained expression on her face.
Absolute shock mixed with relief didn't go unnoticed by Cal.
She had never seen it coming. That much was clear. The only thing was that instead of being mad at the man for lying, she was rather relieved with the turn of events. It meant that Lena wouldn't be snatched out of her life unexpectedly. There was no other word than happiness to describe the realisation.
"I'm sorry, luv, that you had to find out this way" Cal said remorsefully "Sometimes I'm such an ass."
His confession brought Gill back from the thoughts she got lost into. This explained so much. David's worry for the girl. The way he indirectly tried to make her tell about every little detail of their day. Tension between Cal and Lena. It had nothing to do with their mutual dislike, he simply was associating her with David and the girl sensed his reservations.
Gill took one of Cal's hands in a reassuring manner to let him know that she was not mad.
"You knew it from the start, didn't you?" It was not an accusation. Simple statement. "Why didn't you say anything before?"
"As much as I wanted to, it was not my secret to tell." He replied simply, sitting down on the bedside in a way than his back was against the bedpost and stretching out hand in an offer of a hug.
"Why everything always has to be so complicated?" Gill sighed leaning into comforting embrace and closing her eyes too tired to stay awake. Her energy was still draining quickly and when emotions were high, the exhaustion was almost immediate.
"Don't know, luv, don't know..." Cal replied thoughtfully, enjoying the feel of her warm body against his side.
If only the circumstances were different.
Right place, wrong time.