Title: Never Forgotten
Summary: He just couldn't get the gentle giant out of his mind and so with this next day off decides to show Malcolm that he'll never be forgotten. Post ep 3.07 'Nightmares' 'Contains spoilers' Jamie centric
Disclaimer: Um you know by now write? Lol I own nothing but my hard working muse Alice.
A/N: Okay so most of my comments are posted in my BB forum, but not liking Danny's new partner and will miss Jackie for sure but happy for some more great Jamie moments in this week's eppy and finally was inspired enough to write this small piece and hope you all like it. Its Jamie centric this time.
"Words in double quotes and italic's taken directly from the eppy"
"Then right in the middle of it…out of nowhere he looks at me like he remembers me," Jamie recalls his interactions with Malcolm to his family at the table.
"Sounds like Alzheimer's," Frank comments. "Once and a while the curtains open."
"That's exactly what the doctor at the hospital said," Jamie adds with a small sigh.
"Lost a few old pals to that one…they're a real nightmare," Henry interjects with a grave tone.
"Thinks he knows me which is a start, so I went down to the hospital to see what I could do and guess what…"
"He's dumped back out on the street," Linda concludes.
"Lots fall through the cracks unless they come under the radar of someone who gives a hoot," Frank tells Jamie.
"Yeah. Sounds like you've been elected," Erin confirms.
After that family discussion Jamie had allowed his father's and sister's words to sink in; heading to the computer afterwards to see if he could find someone who had been in the NHL with the name Malcolm. The process was a bit slower as he wasn't sure of all the stats and stuff, most happening before he was even born.
His search however wasn't in vain and a few moments later he had found then something of interest, something he could arm himself with the next time they were called to deal with the gentle giant.
"Malcolm Laroche. Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens right out of high school and ended his career as a fourth line winger with the '82 New York Rangers. Now lives out of an assisted care home out of Albany."
"Albany…long way from home," Jamie muses as he leans back in his chair and stares at the small computer screen before him before casting his glance out into the night air with a perplexed expression. He had told Vinny what he had learned, but there was just something so lost and vulnerable about Malcolm that instantly earned his way into the youngest Reagan's heart.
What if it was my grampa? I'd want someone to look out for him…to treat him kindly…to help him. He thinks back to chasing after him on the street and learning the hockey tidbit before being slugged. But it wasn't until he had read up a bit more on how Alzheimer's affected some that he really understood the mentally dark hell that Malcolm Laroche had unwillingly been forced into.
"Man that would suck," Jamie huffs as he looks back at the computer screen, his eyes resting on what people can do to support those living with the incurable infliction.
He finally flips off the computer and pushes himself away from the small table, heading for the bathroom and looking at his somewhat tired expression in the mirror; his mind travelling back to his last encounter with Malcolm before he was taken back to the nursing home.
"Third period, playoffs, game two against the Islanders. One goal, one assist and one player sent to the hospital."
He felt a brief leap of joy when Malcolm looked at him like he knew him; the light bulb going off for a few seconds and Malcolm's large frame relaxing against the wall.
"Thank you very much. Jamie."
He offered a small 'you're welcome as he and Vinny waited; the talk revolving around hockey and whatever snippets Malcolm could remember and participate in. Jamie turns on the hot water to have a shower and get some muchly needed rest; his mind seeing the almost panicked expression on Malcolm's face as he was finally escorted to a waiting transport to be taken back to his permanent home in Albany, two and a half hours away.
"Can't imagine," Jamie whispers as he pushes himself under the hot water and closes his eyes for a few brief seconds, allowing the hot streams to try to soothe his tired frame, his mind trying to picture Malcolm getting himself to Manhattan and going to the only place his mind could remember. What if that happens in our family? What would we do? How does Malcolm cope being alone?
"He has no one," Jamie utters in quiet misery as he finishes his shower and then reaches for a towel; his brain formulating a new plan for his day off tomorrow. The most important thing is for them to know they are never forgotten, his father had told him after family dinner a few nights back. Most are just put away and left there. Some are hard to deal with and it puts a strain on the family and they…well they don't want to deal with it.
"Not fair," he mumbles as pulls on something to sleep in and heads for bed. But as soon as he slumps down into bed his body begs him to shut down; his brain, however, being too alert to just shut down right away. He remembers the sorrow filled expression on Malcolm's face as he was being taken away to his home in Albany and wonders if he at least has someone there to engage him a conversation about hockey…something…anything to let Malcolm know he wasn't just alone. Not just another number in the books or a name on the door.
"Not just another patient," Jamie whispers to himself as he finally climbs into bed and turns off the light; flipping to his side and staring out the window of his loft apartment into the sparkly Manhattan skyline wondering what Malcolm's family was like. Of course those records were classified and there wasn't much about his home life online. He remembers seeing a newspaper clipping about his wife dying of lung cancer but there wasn't anything mentioned about children. Did he have any?
"Maybe he is alone," Jamie muses softly as he finally allows his mind to shut the rest of his body down and follow suit; darkness enveloping him but a clear goal fixed in his mind for the following day.
Jamie awakens early the next morning and looks at the clock, his mind almost having second doubts about his plan and wondering how well he'd be received by a total stranger.
"One time…he looked at me as if he knew me…". His mind replays that verbal sentiment over and over again.
"Right…" Jamie nods to himself as he gets out of bed and heads for the kitchen, flipping on the coffee maker before he reaches for his phone; wanting to check for messages to make sure he wasn't needed anywhere and then to put his plan into motion. It doesn't take long before he's done with breakfast, jacket on, keys in hand and heading downstairs to his car and then to the road for the drive to Albany.
The day is a very pleasant fall day and Jamie can't help but feel his mood lift as he leaves the Manhattan city limits heading for the freeway. He had read that the best times to visit someone suffering from Alzheimer's are in the morning…or basically any time before the supper meal; morning working best for him as well. He goes over and over in his mind what he'll say but as he nears the Albany Seniors home he feels his stomach starting to tighten and his mind wondering if this was the right thing to do.
Yes…just go and…talk to him. What if he doesn't remember me? It's not about that…just go talk to him, let him know…how him he's not forgotten.
Giving himself a firm nod, Jamie heads for the front of the seniors home, offering a few polite 'hellos' to those he passes on the way to the sign in desk.
"I'm here to see um…Malcolm Laroche," Jamie states quietly as his fingers automatically reaches for his badge.
"And you are?" The clerk asks automatically.
"A…a friend," Jamie replies as his fingers leave his badge in place as he's given the nod to proceed to the given room number. You're here as a friend…not a cop, his brain correctly reminds him as he slowly walks down the quiet hallway. He feels a small lump of emotion starting to form in his throat as he passes the quiet rooms and wonders how many of the older ones in the home have family and friends that come to visit them on a regular basis and how many have no one.
Jamie reaches Malcolm's room and pauses outside, peering through the open door but holding back a few seconds before he enters.
"You can go in you know…just give a light knock so you don't startle him," a soft voice from behind is heard. Jamie turns to see a young nurse with the nametag 'Alice' on her uniform and offers a small nod.
"I know. I just…"
"Haven't seen you before? Are you his grandson? Because I didn't think he had much family."
"No…just a friend," Jamie confirms as he looks away. "Maybe this wasn't a good idea."
"It's a good idea."
"How is he today?"
"Today…I think today's a good day."
"A good day," Jamie repeats as he turns back to the nurse and gives her a small smile. "I just wanted to say hi and um…talk hockey or something."
"I think he'd like that. And you know…we do have an air hockey table in the games room. Just left of the common area."
He watches the nurse who could be about his age, turn and leave, his eyes then turning back into the room and stopping a bit short as he looks at Malcolm who is now watching him intently. There is no turning back.
"Hey…" Jamie offers a small wave as he enters the room. He quickly looks around the rather bleak surroundings and once again feels pangs of loneliness starting to cover him as he dwells upon the fact that Malcolm's life has been reduced to a small box with very few possessions. And how lucky his grandfather is to be surrounded on a daily basis by love and warmth.
"Remember me?" Jamie asks with a small hint of nervousness and then cursing himself as he had read that it wasn't a good idea to play the 'do you remember me game' as it might frustrate them further. "Jamie," he states, not wanting to put him on the spot in case it wasn't really that good a day. "It's Jamie. From the city the other day. I took your picture," he mentions as he pulls his phone. "See. That's you. I'm Jamie."
"Jamie," Malcolm repeats as if trying his name out for the very first time. "Jamie."
"Yeah. We talked hockey."
"Used to play with the Rangers."
"Yeah. I remember the game with the Bruins."
"Was a good game," Jamie replies with a friendly smile.
Of course he wasn't there…he wasn't even born yet but to Malcolm it didn't matter, as soon as he launches into a memory of the game and his face lights up, Jamie knows his efforts is worthwhile. He looks up to see the young nurse watching with a smile before she disappears and then turns his full attention back to Malcolm.
"You ever play?"
"Some street hockey with my brother," Jamie answers in truth; wondering if maybe he'd bring Danny next time or even Jack or Sean, just to bring a bit more happiness into Malcolm's life. "You wanna…um…go for a walk or something?"
"Sure. Jamie," Malcolm says his name again, his tone almost bordering on desperation; Jamie now wondering if perhaps he was saying it a few times out loud to help him remember.
"So which goalie did you fear the most?"
"Hextall," Malcolm answers without haste, Jamie's mind sipping briefly as he tries to remember something about the rough housing Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ron Hextall. Malcolm didn't offer too much but the few words that he did told Jamie a lot about the kind of man he was; passionate about the game he used to love to play and missing his wife terribly.
"Carol. I miss her every day."
He didn't want to pry into Malcolm's personal family life too much and ask added details his wife or if he had children and where they could be; he just wants to enjoy the time with the man he's come to silently but affectionately refer to as the gentle giant.
They head down to the inner courtyard, the talk coming in rather sporadic conversations; each of them just enjoying the warm sunshine and each other's company.
"Why are you here? Jamie?" Malcolm asks as they both sit down beside a basketball court, watching two young teenagers play a friendly game of hoops.
Jamie looks at Malcolm and slightly frowns. Is he slipping back already? If so then the most important thing to do was to be calm and not get frustrated. Be kind and truthful. "I'm your friend Malcolm," he replies softly. "And um…and to make sure you aren't forgotten."
The older man looks at him, his brain trying to process the kindness from the young stranger before him, his hand coming to rest on Jamie's shoulder and giving it a small squeeze.
"Do you like hockey?"
"I do. I like the Rangers," Jamie answers with a smile. "You know they have an air hockey table inside. Do you wanna play?"
"You wanna play? With me?"
"I do," Jamie nods as he slowly stands up, Malcolm following suit. "So what's the food like around here?"
"I like Sunday's best. I get meatloaf on Sundays."
"I like Sunday's best also," Jamie agrees as they slowly enter the building once more, heading for the common area and past the nurses' station.
"This is Jamie," Malcolm announces to a few other elderly patients in the room who look up to see the handsome young man accompanying the older one, giving Jamie a friendly hello and asking him questions.
"Who are you?"
"Are you his grandson?"
"Where do you live?"
"Haven't seen you here before."
"So nice for you to visit."
And so forth, most just happy to have a young one among them; all of then enjoying Jamie's easygoing personality and kind tone as he tries to give each of them some of his time in the form of an answer before he turns back to his game with Malcolm.
The game is easy and fun, neither of them caring about who is keeping score or who will win as that isn't the point of the match; it was to engage and entertain. The morning passes by faster than expected and soon it's time for the patients to come for lunch.
"You can stay for lunch you know," Alice tells Jamie as he follows beside Malcolm toward the desk, Alice stepping in line beside him.
"It's the happiest we've seen him in weeks. The food isn't five star…but it's edible."
"Besides…you're kind of a celebrity today," she warmly laughs as she nods to two older female residents giving him a warm smile.
"Right," Jamie smiles back as he agrees. "Okay." He heads into the eating area and takes a seat beside Malcolm and another one of the older fellows from the games room.
"This…is Jamie," Malcolm introduces him with an almost hint of pride in his voice. Jamie offers a few more sheepish hellos, almost feeling a bit embarrassed by all the attention that is being showered upon him. But as he takes off his jacket and engages a few of those around him, a sense of endearment starts to envelop him and as he looks over at Malcolm and smiles he knows this is one friendship that will last as long as he does.
'Jamison you remember…always follow your heart and don't let anyone else tell you differently. It has always been your strength.'
'But it could be a weakness.'
'You won't let it. You have your father's strength in you and my love. You cannot fail if you balance them both.'
"Jamie," Malcolm's tone breaks into his thoughts and forces him back to reality; making him get back into the conversation and rejoin the interested crowd once again.
Never forgotten…Jamie's mind offers as he continues his modest meal and enjoyable conversation. Many would have just brushed the older man off as a burden, maybe helped him get back home and then left him as so many were; but inside he knows his mother would be happy that he not only listened to her advice but allowed it to shape him into the kind-hearted man he was.
He would never be forgotten; neither of them would.
A/N: And yes okay so my muse got to make a cameo hahaha (oh dear Alice what I do for you hehe) and it um turned out a bit more emotional in parts than I thought *eeks*. But I hope you all liked this and please do review before you go and thanks so much.