A/N: Sadly, PERCEPTION is not mine. PLEASE review! This is my way of dealing with the complex emotions from last night's incredible episode. From Kate's POV.
"My name is Dr. Daniel Pierce. I'm a paranoid schizophrenic, and I need to be admitted."
I had to bite my tongue to keep a tear from falling. I couldn't cry, not now, not in front of Daniel. It must've taken everything for him to ask for that ride to the hospital.
I shuddered, thinking back to the moment I'd walked into the apartment. I'd never seen it so dirty and disorganized. And then I saw Daniel… in shorts and a t-shirt stained with sweat.
"Kate! Thank God you're all right…"
And he'd hugged me. Daniel, who was repulsed by almost all form of physical contact, had wrapped his arms around me. That was when the smell of his sweat from not showing for two days hit me. Luckily I've had practice not reacting to bad smells, thanks to the countless crime scenes I've worked.
But beyond the normally taboo touch and the smell were Daniel's eyes. The genuine fear that had filled them scared me, as it made it clear just how real his belief was that I had been in danger. They were also… wild. I have never seen Daniel so… out of control, so detached from reality and logic…
The nurse handed Daniel an admitting form, and Lewicki stepped forward to try to offer to fill it out, but Daniel brushed him away. "I've got it, Lewicki." He glanced over toward me. "Why don't…. why don't you go back with K-Kate?"
My throat tightened a bit at that. Really? Daniel didn't want me here? After everything I've done to try and help him, to understand him, he is pushing me away?
"Message received, Daniel. I'll head out. I'll get the car ready, Lewicki. I'll try not to take too long." I hated myself the minute it came out of my mouth, especially seeing the expression on Daniel's face. But damn it, I was tired of this. I stepped out of the hospital doors, tightening my coat around me. I swallowed fast multiple times to hold back the tears threatening to fall.
Daniel. I stopped, but didn't respond. I couldn't trust myself not to start crying, or say something to make things worse. He came up and stood next to me.
"Kate. P-please don't do this," he said softly.
I turned abruptly to face him. "Do what? Shut you out? Pretend you're not an important part of my life, or that I want you to be? Because that's exactly what you're doing to me, Daniel!"
After a minute or two of silence, he said in barely a whisper, "What you saw at my house… that was m-my life. That's… who I am, Kate. That's why I shut you out… because I n-never wanted you to see that."
"Well I did. And I'm still here," I said, grabbing a hold of his hand. After a moment I continued, looking him directly in the eyes, "And I wished you trusted me enough to know I'd never give up on you, or even think any less of you."
"Honestly, that's exactly what I didn't want," Daniel said. He pulled his hand away from mine and glanced away. "You deserve better, Kate. I'm… I'm crazy. I-I've tried coping, tried denying it. B-but I can't anymore." He was silent for a moment. "Wh-what if I'd left my house?"
"But you didn't."
"O-or tried to use the oven? Or gone out into traffic?" Daniel said, speaking over me. After a brief silence, he added softly: "Wh-what if… you had come before Lewicki, and… I-I didn't know it was you?"
I didn't have a good answer for that specific question, but I put my hand on his shoulder and made him look me in the eyes again. "Daniel… you are the reason I asked to come here. There are neuroscience doctors and professors all over the country, but I chose you. Because I trust you, and I want to be here with you."
He gave a small, slight smile at this. Then he gave me an odd look, and said in a hesitant voice, "Um… th-there was something… in th-the… hallucination… that I… I would like to be real."
I raised my eyebrows quizzically. Daniel took a deep breath, leaned in, and kissed me deeply on the lips.
At first I was shocked by this… this huge show of physical affection by Daniel. And I knew how much it meant to him. I put my hand on his cheek as a sign that I wouldn't pull back.
He broke away a minute later, taking my hand in his. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Kate… will you wait for me? You'll stay here, in Chicago?"
I nodded. "I'm not going anywhere, Daniel."
He gave a serious look and said, "Because I… I don't think I can do this if you leave." His eyes were down at the ground, contemplating the incredible thing he'd just said.
"This is what this is, isn't it?" I said. He looked at my quizzically. "Us. Your life." He nodded silently. "I promise you, Daniel. I will be here with you. I'll visit you every week, every day until you can come back."
Daniel looked at me again and said, "Wait… can I ask you a favor, Kate?"
I nodded. "Of course."
He inhaled deeply and then said slowly, "W-will you let me… wait until I-I'm… ready to… to have you see me in here?"
My initial instinct was to refuse to let him hide from me anymore, to tell him he couldn't pick and choose when he wants be close to me. But I stopped and considered exactly what he'd been through in the past few hours, and what he would be going through these next few months. So I said, "Of course."
Lewicki came out of the hospital doors. "Dr. Pierce?"
Daniel looked down at our hands, still clasped together. He took a deep breath, and he kissed my hand one last time. I could've sworn I heard him mumble softly, "That was even better than the hallucination…" I gave him one last hug, wishing it could last forever.
Daniel let go of my hand, and he followed Lewicki back through the double doors. I watched through the glass as a nurse came and put an ID bracelet around Daniel's wrist. I saw him flinch as she took his canvas bag. Finally the nurse put a hand on Daniel's upper back and began leading him away. Before he turned into the hallway leading away from admitting, he turned around one last time to look at me.
He gave a small smile.
And I could no longer hold back my tears.