"No," Cameron yelled. His voice echoed through the huge warehouse they were in and it continued on to echo in every lonely part of Lee Rosen's mind. Little did he know, those were the last few moments he'd have with Nina, the woman at his side. The man who worked for Stanton Parish stood opposite them, a gun in his trembling hand. Before anyone had a chance to stop him, he yelled and pulled the trigger back, gun pointed at Lee.
The older man braced himself for the shot, his eyes almost fluttering closed. There was another pull of a trigger, not his, for it was too loud to be of the same caliber. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Cameron move. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion and he'd never felt so helpless. Before he could stop her, Nina stepped in front of him. He could hear the tear of flesh and a fast 'thump' from the bullet hitting her. "Shit," he said and reached out for her. She fell, limp in his arms. It was like time had resumed at a normal speed. He shouted nonsense and held her in his arms, his eyes darting to her bleeding chest.
In the background he could hear Cameron as he struggled with the assailant. "Nina," Lee managed to say and he got out a strangled breath. "Nina, look at me." He fell to his knees with her in his arms. She blinked a few times, coughing. "Lee… God, I feel horrible." He looked down at her chest again to see her blouse was stained crimson. He touched his hand to her shoulder, lifting her shirt a little. The bullet wound was worse than he suspected and it nearly got him sick. She'd been shot just above the heart. There was no saving her…
"No, no," he said through gritted teeth. Tears threatened to spill from his dark brown eyes and he laid her out of the ground. He quickly pulled off the sweater he had been wearing over a button down. "Don't bother," she told him, her voice barely above a whisper. He ignored her and balled the material up, pressing it to her wound to stop the bleeding. "This time, I won't be making it," she said, her hand reached out for him. His glasses were beginning to slide from his face and a tear landed on her arm. "Stop," she told him, no fight left in her fragile-sounding voice. "Seriously, Lee. You need to stop."
He didn't stop, though. He continued to hold down his sweater and apply pressure. He could feel the blood beneath his fingers and it turned him even paler than he already was. That was Nina's blood on him, not just anyone else's. What does one do when the woman they love is dying? When the woman they love is slipping through their fingers? When they never got to say the words they always felt?
Nina pressed a hand to his cheek and forced him to look at her. By now, he was crying and he didn't care who saw him. No one else mattered right now, only Nina Theroux. He could hear Cameron and Bill yelling about something. One of them was on the phone and calling in EMT's. Lee reached up and pushed his glasses back in place so he could see her right. "Let go," she told him. "Please. There's nothing you can do. I took the bullet for you, now let this go." His eyebrows drew together and his voice was shaky when he answered. "I can't let you go, not when I just got you back. Don't do this to me, Nina."
She cupped both of his cheeks, her thumb caressing his bearded cheek. "You saved me. You've helped me. All you've ever done is help me. Now, I've done something for you. I saved you, Lee. Now, let this go." Her words made something in his chest tighten and he leaned in just a little closer to her. Out of the corner of his eyes, he could the team watching them, afraid to do so much as move or speak.
"Nina, listen," he started but she put a finger to his lips. "I love you," she told him. All of the sudden it got very quiet in that big warehouse, as if it hadn't been before. One could have heard a pin drop. Lee forgot to breathe and she pulled him just a little bit closer. "I do, I always have. I'm sorry about everything." He started crying again, even though he tried like hell to keep his tears at bay.
Cameron pulled Rachel to him and held her close, the perfect image of what a brother and a sister should be. Despite her senses, she needed this right now. She buried her head in his chest, not caring that he reeked of Dani's shower gel and her perfume. Bill just stood there, shocked. He had EMT's on the phone and he soon realized the lady-operator was still talking. He had to pull himself back into reality and he walked away from the group some to give directions to where they were. The assailant was out cold on the floor, just where Cameron had left him when he'd knocked him out with the butt on his gun, his leg bloody from a gunshot wound. He would soon be taken into custody and sent to god knows where for his crimes.
"God damnit… No, no. This wasn't supposed to end like this," Lee said, defeated. He finally let go of his sweater and he touched her cheeks, leaning down on his old knees. "I'm the one, Nina. I should have taken that bullet… You had so much life to live yet." His white and grey hair fell down and over his forehead, having been longer than usual. She continued to caress his cheek. "Maybe I did, but I'm glad it worked out this way. You need to help people. You know you do… Call it my last selfless act, I saved the person I love."
He could feel her fading as time progressed. The color was beginning to drain from her lips and her cheeks, her eyes were losing their glint, her words were more strained. He pressed his forehead to hers and whispered, "I love you, too. I'm sorry I never got to take you out on that date. I promised you I would all those years ago, but we never got around to it. I wished to god that I had at least kept my word on that." There was pain in his words. He held so much hate for himself, it all just seemed to tear him at the seams right then. She couldn't take it. It made her heart ache to the point where it exerted all the energy she had, so she leaned up a little and pressed her lips to his.
He cupped her cheeks just a little bit tighter and kissed her back. He didn't give a shit that the team were watching them, this was the last moment he would have with her and he wouldn't spend it worrying about them. Their lips moved together as if they were perfectly molded, his hand getting lost in her dark hair. He could feel himself beginning to lose control again, tears spilling from his eyes even though he had squeezed them shut, and his Adam's apple bobbed. She trembled a little under his touch, seeming so full of life at that moment and then like that, she faded away. He felt her go limp in his arms and then, as if a switch had been flipped, she was gone. A strangled cry left his lips as he pulled back and he let his forehead touch hers. He sat there for the longest of moments, her in his arms while he rocked her back and forth. She was really gone, and this time, there wasn't a god damned thing he could do about it.
Rachel came over to him and got down on her knees. She touched his back, a huge step for her, which he knew because the smell of blood must have been real thick to her. She rubbed his back a little and he finally let Nina go. He placed her on the ground and just looked at his blood streaked hands, disgust in his expression. He leaned up on his knees so his shoes weren't touching his backside, and finally got up, his hands touching his achy knees. A broken man turned and faced his team then. No one could have ever said they'd seen Dr. Lee Rosen break down or even come close to it, but tonight they sure had. An important member of the team was now gone, for good, and they knew now how the two had felt for each other. Everything was a shock. The one man who always kept things together was the one who couldn't barely keep his knees from giving out on him right now. Everyone just felt lost. Pure tragedy had struck them, yet again and managed to pull a rug out from beneath their barely stable feet. Life just wasn't fair these days...
Somewhere in the back of Lee's mind, he was glad Gary hadn't gone out with them on this mission. He would have been flipping out right now. He looked over at Cameron who looked just as lost as him, Bill was still on the phone, and then there was poor Rachel. She came right over to him and wrapped her arms around him. "I can't even…" she began and trailed off. He wrapped his arm around her and held her close. "I know," he whispered, his voice raspy. He held her close, and it was as if they both took bits of each other's strength away to keep themselves together.
It didn't take long for the EMT's to get there. Unfortunately, it was a body bag they were taking Nina out on, not a stretcher. Bill and Cameron walked in complete silence to the van. "I'll go with Dr. Rosen," Rachel said and nodded to them. Bill just gave her a little nod as he got into his van, the door slamming behind him.
She ran to catch up with the doctor. He was walking to his car, just where he had left it in the parking lot. He looked like a man who truly felt alone. His shoulders were slumped in a way that was so not Dr. Lee Rosen. She finally caught up with him and he looked at her in surprise. "Let me take the ride back with you?" she asked, a little out of breath. He just nodded his head and opened the car door, getting in quickly. His movements were totally mechanical and something in her chest tightened.
A silence enveloped them after she had gotten in and closed the door behind her. Their eyes met and he gave her a sad smile, one that was shaky and totally meant for her sake. "Thanks for taking the ride with me, Rachel." She nodded her head a little and reached out for his hand. "We're all a big family, Doctor. Family look out for each other, especially when one is lost. I know my family isn't quite like that, but that's how it's supposed to be, anyway. I'm here for you, just like you are for me." His eyes grew teary and he nodded his head. "You are truly an amazing woman. John doesn't know how lucky he is…" A beat passed before she smiled a little. He returned the smile and pulled away to start up his engine, feeling somewhat better as it roared to life. At least he had control over something, even if it was just his car starting.
He just needed to get home and scrub the blood off of him; the blood that he knew would never leave his hands or at least not in his mind, anyway. He wanted to burn his torn and stained clothes, drown himself in a bottle of scotch and listen to Matchbox Twenty, Nina's favorite band. The healing would come later, no, tonight he would feel the hurt, tonight he would let himself be overcome with grief. But first things first, he had to get Rachel home safe.
With a little sigh, he pulled out of his parking spot and drove away, never looking back.
(Author's Note: Just wanted to say I balled my eyes out writing this. I mean, I may be the only darn person out there who ships these two but I hardcore ship them, so writing this tore my heart to pieces. Also, I wanted to point out that this takes place towards the end of season two, way after she returns to the team, and everyone is starting to forgive her, hence the mention of John Bennette. Hope you enjoyed this little fic. I'd love some reviews.)