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23 December 2011 @ 11:59 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Not Fade Away (The Fleinhardt Remix)  
Written for numb3rs100 2011 Drabble Remixathon - Remix of Not Fade Away by ladygray99/Challenges #99 Fight, #102 Confession, #28 Chemistry, #15 Home, #150 Prayer, #140 Generations, #48 Pill, #136 Resemblance, #53 Support, #73 Bullet, #40 Loss, #21 Survival, #2 Starting Over


Title: Not Fade Away (The Fleinhardt Remix)
Pairing/Characters: Megan/Larry, Charlie, Don, Alan, Amita, Millie, Rachel Osaki, OC
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 1300
Spoilers: Seasons 1-2
Summary: Larry's loved ones won't let him just fade away
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


Larry let out a beleaguered sigh and went into his normal routine without skipping a beat.

"Now Charles, while I appreciate your concern..."

"Larry, just stop!" Charlie cried, adamant. "You've been putting me off for three weeks now. You need to see a doctor."

"It's just a little bruise," he protested.

"Bruises don't last four weeks. Please..." Larry tried to retreat, but Charlie grabbed his wrist to make him halt. "Just go see..." His voice faltered as his hand fell away from Larry's wrist.

As they both stared, marks appeared where every finger had burst the capillaries under the skin.

+

Larry staggered out of the exam room, letting his feet lead him, where he wasn't sure. Away. Away would be good.

"Lawrence?"

A familiar voice turned him like a sunflower and he directed himself toward it, seeking its comfort.

"Charles."

A chair appeared and he sank into it.

"The doctor said this bone marrow test would be conclusive. Did he tell you the results? Is it positive?"

There were so many things Larry wanted to say, to do, but suddenly his time seemed so scarce it overwhelmed him.

Once he said it aloud he knew the countdown would begin

"Yes."

+

Professor Osaki drew the molecular structure for him when he asked. As a physicist Larry knew plenty about chemistry, but he wasn't exactly practiced in the fine art of making hospital visitors comfortable. Giving them something to do helped. People wanted to help and no one wanted to hear that there was nothing they could do. It was down to the chemicals now.

Larry would watch the IV drip, fingernails pressing crescents into tense palms, waiting for each treatment to be over with. He told the doctors that it burned, but they assured him it was all in his head.

+

Larry never missed his old Victorian more.

Friends kept offering to take him in, but in the end he accepted Millie's offer to use Cal Sci's short term housing, normally set aside for visiting academics. The simple furnished apartment met his needs: it didn't have any stairs, it was close to the hospital and the building was secured enough so that he could avoid well-meaning visitors dropping by to supposedly check on him.

It wasn't home, but it was a haven of sorts and that was more of what Larry needed now anyway.

At least that's what he told himself.

+

Larry never really could explain his relationship with the divine other than to go on about the wonder of the cosmos. He did believe in God, but it was more via the God Particle than any ritual in a place of worship.

Illness, it seemed, brought out the religion in just about everyone though. It seemed each time he woke someone was by his bedside with head bowed.

Alan prayed for him in Hebrew. Amita in Tamil. Charlie in math.

He got cards saying people were praying for him from afar.

They didn't heal his body, but they still helped.

+

"What's on your mind?"

Charlie always could tell when Larry was being truly thoughtful.

"Wormholes."

"Schwarzschild or Einstein-Rosen?"

Larry shook his head, a weak smile on his pale face. "No, children. I fear there will be no next generation of Fleinhardts."

Charlie reached over and squeezed his hand.

"You can't give up. Not when there's still hope."

"Hope that I'll beat this disease or hope that I'll find a woman willing to bear my wormholes?"

Charlie chuckled. "Okay, you actually might have more trouble with the second one. I don't think women would welcome space time anomalies in their bellies."

+

He had a checklist to follow.

6AM: Dose one of his treatment meds and a pain pill
7AM: Appetite stimulant so he'd eat breakfast
8AM: Anti-nausea meds so he could keep down his breakfast
9AM: Another pain pill

Then he'd fall asleep reading a journal and lose track of his pills until Amita or Charlie came by to check on him and get him back on schedule.

Megan would come after work and stay until the 10PM sleeping pill dose. Those were the easiest nights, when she would sit by his bedside and hold his hand until he drifted off.

+


Larry stared at the stranger in the mirror: a man who barely resembled his former self.

Gone was the curly hair, the quirky grin and the spark of mirth in his eyes.

The face staring back at him was that of a dead man and he was dead, he just hadn't stopped walking around yet.

His will was double checked and filed with his lawyer, his possessions set to be distributed as per his wishes.

He'd even gathered up his work in order to leave it, en masse, to his academic son, Charlie.

He was prepared; he just wasn't ready.

+

"So, what shall I read to you today? Some Stephen Hawking?" Megan perused the shelf of books, running a finger over their spines as she read them. "Feynman? Dilbert?"

Larry let his head fall back against the pillow.

"Just come sit with me."

She drew up a chair close and sat, lacing their fingers together as she always did when she sat with him.

"Whatever you want," she said, giving his hand a squeeze.

"Just this."

Larry closed his eyes, focusing on the feel of her hand, of her presence.

Sometimes just being there was the support he really needed.

+

"Have you ever..." Larry faltered, cocking his head towards the gun on Don's hip to clarify. "I mean if you were me... Would you..."

"End it?" Don ran a hand over the butt of his gun, looking pensive. "I've thought about it, I won't lie. When my life was so bad..." He just shook his head. "But I didn't and I'm glad I didn't. Some day you'll be glad you didn't either."

"I don't have a gun," Larry pointed out.

Don gestured to the copious pill bottles on Larry's dresser.

"There's more than one kind of bullet to the brain."

+

"I'm sorry."

Megan pressed a kiss to their joined hands.

"Don't be sorry. Be strong."

Larry turned his gaze to her, vision blurred by tear-filled eyes.

"I can't. I tried, but I'm losing. I can't fight anymore."

"Yes, you can," Megan's voice was firm yet kind. "You have a lot of life left to live."

"Everyone dies," Larry said dismissively. "Some of us just get less time than others."

"If you don't fight you won't get that extra time," Megan stressed.

"I don't have any strength left to fight with."

Megan lowered her forehead to touch his.

"Then take mine."

+

Each day became about only one thing: survival.

Larry took all the pills, endured all the treatments, saw more doctors than he could keep straight. Each breath, each heartbeat was a tiny victory. He'd stopped asking about the odds months ago, depressed enough whenever his doctors told him he was beating the odds by staying alive as long as he had: cold comfort indeed.

It wasn't much of a life though. The pain was constant, food was the enemy and sleep was his sole respite.

He had no more faith or strength or hope.

All that was left was instinct.

+

"Remission." Larry had to say the word aloud himself. It hadn't sounded real coming from the doctor's mouth.

"We'll have you come in for regular check ups, but for now, you're all clear." The doctor shook his hand. "Congratulations."

"Thank you," Larry managed somehow, still in shock as the doctor departed.

"You did it!" Charlie's embrace was both abrupt and heartfelt and Larry took comfort in it.

"I did," he mumbled in awe. "What now?"

Charlie ruffled Larry's newly regrown curly hair.

"You start over."

Larry nodded, pensive, a world of possibilities opening up before him.

"I can do that."

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on December 29th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
Confession
This fic was written for the 2011 Drabble Remixathon at numb3rs100. The original author was ladygray99 whose fic I remixed was Not Fade Away.

The original was an emotional series where Charlie faces down a serious illness and beats it in the end. I first thought about just redoing it from outsider POVs (Alan, David, Megan, etc.) and then all Don POV then Don being sick and then it hit me: Larry! So I gave Larry a horrible disease and then let him survive it.

Hope you like the remix LG and thanks for the amazing 500 plus drabbles you've contributed to N100 over the years. This remix is such a tiny reward in comparison, but please know that your efforts are valued beyond words.

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais

Edited at 2011-12-29 03:05 am (UTC)
ladygray99: Larryladygray99 on December 29th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
I know I squealed over this in chat but I just had to do it again.

You managed to keep everything from the original and add so much more. Doing it from Larry's end gave it a lovely spiritual feel but I think the one that got me the most was actually Larry talking with Don. Don seems very straight forward about it like he's had the conversation before. It makes me wonder if maybe he had a conversation like that with Margaret.

Thank you so much again for this. You've been so good to me this year and I've really been kinda slack. I'll try to give you more in the new year. Promise.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 30th, 2011 08:30 am (UTC)
Slack? OMG, this from the woman who gifted my comm with 500 fic! Are you crazy?

Hon, I'm the one who has been falling by the wayside!

I tell you what, let's just focus on the year to come and fill it with great N100 and WC100 fic. That's my gift to you and your gift to me and ours to both fandoms.

/huge hugs/

I'm so pleased you liked this. You know I would only take on a big drabble series remix like this for you. You're totally worth it. ♥
(Deleted comment)
lilacs_roseslilacs_roses on January 25th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Wonderfully, wonderfully done, Em!
msgrahamcrackermsgrahamcracker on March 23rd, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how the same basic storyline can be so different depending on the main character. Giving Larry cancer instead of Charlie changed so much. I feel you captured Larry's outlook; his need for simple surroundings, his inability to make hospital visitors comfortable, his need for Megan's comfort. Two lines really stood out; "The pain was constant, food was the enemy and sleep was his sole respite." and "He was prepared; he just wasn't ready." They are both so powerful, so descriptive of the hopelessness of fighting something like cancer.

Every bit as haunting as Ladygray's original. Very well done.