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02 January 2017 @ 11:59 pm
Lethal Weapon Fic: A Happier New Year  
Written for yuletide 2016


Title: A Happier New Year
Pairing/Characters: Martin, Roger/Trish, Maureen, Riana, RJ, Sarah, Ethan, Naomi
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: 1x1-1x9
Summary: They say time heals all wounds, but Martin finds that Maureen is right: it's people who make the difference.
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at Yuletide/AO3.


November 2016

Martin hadn't meant to linger at Maureen's office door. His normal response any other day would have been to toss off a snarky remark and make a quick exit before the doc threatened him with more therapy.

Not today. Not after what he'd been through. Not after how close he'd come to joining his wife in the afterlife.

Maybe it was the exhaustion that made him pause and search for something more genuine to share with the doc than a chuckle about his sleeping problems. Maybe it was the torture that loosened his tongue or perhaps the threat against Roger's family. Maybe it was just that this Christmas was just as rough as last year only now he had to work instead of maintaining a constant drunken stupor against the vicious lashes of grief strafing his psyche.

"You know, it's not getting any easier. And time's not helping."

"Why would it?"

"'Cause everybody says that it does."

"People who say that don't understand. Time is cruel," Maureen mused. "It punishes. I mean, we sentence people to time. I don't know that it makes it any easier."

"Then what am I doing here?" Martin asked, annoyed at the idea it had all been for nothing.

"You're looking for a way to make it hurt a little less. And in my experience, the only thing that helps is other people. Try connecting with the living."

December 2016

"Are you sure I can't talk you into some more to eat, Martin?" Trish asked, eying the plate that Martin had nearly finished clearing for the second time. The kids had long been excused from the table, but that hadn't stopped Martin from making the rounds again of the well-laden table as Roger and Trish lingered over their wine.

Martin forced himself to stop, wipe his mouth with the cloth napkin he'd almost forgotten during the meal and respond.

"What? And risk not having room for pie?" he joshed. "Though if you really are cutting off Roger from more mashed potatoes and gravy and you need some help removing them from temptation in the fridge later…"

"Hey, give me some credit," Roger huffed genially. "I can resist a side dish or two overnight." He lowered his voice in a mock conspiratorial whisper directed towards Martin. "I have my eye on the pie too, you know?"

"Fine," Trish rose. "Pie all around. But no ice cream a la mode or whipped cream for you, my darling husband. You only get so many passes for a holiday season and I think you used most of them up on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve."

"Probably," Roger conceded, leaning back in his chair with a contented air. "But it was worth it as these spectacular leftovers proved."

"Spectacular's a good word for them," Martin agreed, finishing off his plate. "Best meal I've had, since, well, the last meal I had with y'all."

Passing behind Martin, Trish gave his shoulder a squeeze.

"You're always welcome at our table, Martin. Remember, you're family."

The last bite was hard to swallow, but Martin didn't let the Murtaughs show how choked up he felt in that moment.

Family.

His in-laws had tried to make him feel like he was still part of the Delgado clan, but it hurt too much. He could see how much love was there and he knew the love he'd tried to add to the family was gone now, replaced with sadness, regret and an empty picture frame that had been set aside for a grandson who never drew his first breath.

But his partner's family? They had adopted him before he realized it and Trish, as matriarch, was not going to let him disappear into the night to mope alone in his trailer.

Once they were alone, Martin cocked his head to Roger.

"Listen, man. I just wanted to say thanks again for bringing the fam over to my place. It meant a lot to me that you guys brought Christmas to me."

Roger nodded his response. "Well, when you didn't show up here, Trish – and I, of course – decided we needed to bring the festivities to you, even if that meant keeping lil' Harper up past her bedtime."

"Paid for that, did you?"

Roger let out a groan which he cut off with a glance towards the kitchen to make sure Trish hadn't heard.

"She kept us up until after 1AM," he whispered over to Martin.

"Lil' rebel," Martin responded with a grin, taking a long swig from his bottle of beer.

"She gets it from her motorcycle ridin' papa," Roger said proudly.

"Here we go," Trish announced herself upon her return with two plates she dished out to Roger and Martin with a flourish. "Pie." As she put Martin's in front of him, she explained, "I didn't know which kind you wanted so I gave you a slice of both pumpkin and apple." She lowered her voice a little and leaned down to him. "And about those mashed potatoes? I'm making you a care package to take home to that little trailer fridge of yours."

That choked up feeling came back with a vengeance and Martin had to still the fork ready to dig into the luscious pies in front of him.

"Thanks," he told her, warmth in his voice he felt deep inside as well. "Really appreciate it."

January 2017

Martin lolled against the door frame of Maureen's office waiting for her to finish up the phone call she'd been on when he arrived. She'd gestured to have him wait and since the door had been open he'd assumed the call wasn't private.

"Don't worry. I'm working on it and I'm sure we'll get it taken care of by the end of the week," she said into the receiver. "And if they won't hold the space, then have them call me and I'll make sure that timeslot is reserved for the group. Okay, take care. Bye."

Once she hung up she gestured Martin into the office.

"You rang?" he said, sauntering in with his hands in his pockets, shirt rumpled as always and untucked over his jeans.

"I did! Thanks for coming." She nodded towards a chair and Martin slung himself into it, throwing a leg over the arm of the chair casually.

"What can I do you for, doc?"

"I have a favor to ask," she began, her expression one of cautious optimism. "Do you remember Naomi Abernathy? Her sister Haley was killed by that robbery team running out of valet stands late last year."

Martin's expression darkened. "Yeah. I was on the phone with Haley, just before…" His voice trailed off as the bad memory of hearing her shot to death over the phone when he was just minutes away returned as quickly as his scowl.

"I remember," Maureen's face grew grave at the mention of the young woman's senseless death.

"Naomi's a little like me," Martin continued, pensive in reverie. "Her sister was her only family so when she lost her…" He gave a helpless little shrug. "So neither of us had anyone left."

"Well, she's been working with me to help set up a new support group for those who've been through trauma and loss," Maureen explained. "The precinct will give us a meeting space for free, but they have two conditions: we have to have a minimum number of people signed up before we can begin and at least one has to be an employee of the precinct."

Martin thought for a moment. "Sure, I guess I could ask around… See if anyone…"

"Actually," Maureen interrupted. "I was thinking about you." After Martin blinked in surprise a few times, she continued. "I know it's been over a year now, but given your loss, I know it still hurts."

Martin fell quiet again briefly. "Like someone carved out a piece of me," he admitted eventually. "A missing piece that'll never heal."

Maureen came around from behind her desk and sat beside Martin, leaning forward.

"See? You of all people understand their pain, their sadness and yes, probably even the guilt some of them have at still being here while their loved ones are gone forever."

Martin swallowed hard and looked away. "Yeah, but understanding's not the same as helping."

"It's a support group, not a therapy group," Maureen explained. "No one has any answers, at least not more than anyone else struggling to move on with their lives."

"So why bother?" Martin asked.

"Because they want it," she said plainly. "They need the support from each other they can't get in their empty homes. And because getting a meeting space here means there's the potential for other employees to consider joining despite the macho cop persona that says 'we don't need no stinkin' support group' even when they do. Besides…" She tilted her head, examining Martin in a way no one else ever tried to do. "I think it would be good for you."

"To get support from a bunch of strangers? Please," Martin scoffed. "Not my thing, end of discussion."

"No," Maureen explained patiently. "To reach out and give it."

March 2017

Martin fetched a box of tissues as most of the group members started filing out of the room at their normal slow post-meeting ambling pace, talking amongst themselves. He handed it silently over to Naomi who thanked him with an appreciative smile then pulled out a few tissues and pressed them into the hand of their newest member. She'd joined the group with a heartbreaking tale of her husband left brain-dead due to a drive-by shooting. As if that wasn't horrible enough, instead of support his and her families were arguing over cutting off his life support.

Even Martin had teared up at her tragic tale and he'd made a point of trying to stay strong for all the others in the group, especially after three fellow officers – two of them male – joined the group.

As he set himself to straightening up the room, he saw Naomi eventually escort the new woman out, arm around her shoulders in a comforting manner. Martin hadn't believed in the value of small comforts, but he had to admit that Maureen had the right idea: other people could help lighten the burden a little. Nothing could erase the devastation of losing his family in one violent moment, but coming to the meetings and seeing how even those who'd lost the most had something to offer others allowed him to open his eyes to how much he'd been shutting out those who cared about him like Roger and Trish and his in-laws.

"Wow…" Naomi walked back in the room and started helping reset the room. They'd always start with the chairs lined up nicely, but as people shifted around to hug or hold hands with those who were having a hard time, the chairs wound up in little groupings, often circles, so people could be closer. "That Jolene? She's in a world of hurt."

Martin paused after moving a chair back into position. "I can't believe with all she's dealing with – the medical bills, the court case, having to sell their house – that her family is worried more about waging war with his family over pulling the plug. On their own son!" he exclaimed, shaking his head in consternation. "For chrissake, the guy's not going anywhere! Let his wife have a little time to deal with the fact that the love of her life will never open his eyes again! He'll never hold her in his arms… He'll never tell her he loves her…" The familiar emotions rose quickly again and Martin could tell by Naomi's sniffling that she wasn't unaffected herself. "Jolene just deserves a break, you know?" he managed then fell silent, going back to the chairs.

"At least she's got us now," Naomi said, clearly forcing a smile. "I mean, I'm not sure what's worse: not having any family to turn to or having family turn against you when you need them most." This time the sniffles threatened to morph into greater grief so Martin crossed the now empty room and enveloped her in his arms, an act that was starting to feel familiar. She melted into them, breath hitching out a tiny "Thanks…" as he patiently waited for her to regain her strength and composure.

In the weeks since they'd started the group the two of them had become sort of de facto leaders. Naomi, having been the original organizer, ran each meeting and made sure everyone had a chance to talk if they were ready. Martin, urged on by Maureen, had discovered he had a penchant for plumbing depths of strength he hadn't realized he had when it came to helping others. The group considered him their rock, even joking nicknaming themselves "The Family Stone" as a result, much to Roger's amusement. He had humorously suggested "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" as their theme song. Naomi was less jokingly and more affectionately nicknamed their "Den Mother" for how she looked after them all.

"You know," came the muffled voice from his chest, "I couldn't do this without you."

"Likewise," he echoed, holding her tightly and letting the contact soothe him as well.

May 2017

"Martin!"

Ethan visibly brightened when he opened his front door to discover Martin waiting there. He threw his arms around Martin's waist and gave him a hug.

"Hey, little man!" Martin returned his greeting with enthusiasm of his own before scanning the open space behind him. "Where's your mom?"

"Right here!" Sarah emerged from one of the bedrooms down the hallway, putting on an earring. "Good to see you, Martin."

"Good to be seen," Martin volleyed back as Ethan closed the door behind him and they all walked into the living room. "Been a tough week." He nudged Ethan affectionately. "Bet yours was tougher, what with final exams and all. How many more days before school's out for summer?"

"Not until the 26th," groaned Ethan.

"Could be worse," Martin told him. "Some kids are stuck until mid-June."

Ethan made a childish face – half horrified and half disgusted. "That would totally suck!"

"You two still on for… What was it you were planning for today?" Sarah asked.

Martin enumerated on his fingers, "Batting cages, burgers and milkshakes, then – if Roger was able to find a small enough helmet – a short ride on the back of his motorcycle."

Sarah pursed her lips. "I'm not happy about that."

"Mom! You promised!" Ethan protested. "You said if I got all Bs or better I could ride the motorcycle!"

"It's only going to be some quiet backroads," Martin assured her. "Nothing with any sort of traffic. And we won't do it at all unless the helmet fits."

"All right," Sarah surrendered.

"And you said after school was done we could go camping on the beach by Martin's trailer!"

"When Martin's ready for us," she reminded her son. "Now go get your stuff together. I need to leave too." Once Ethan headed down the hallway, Sarah looked to Martin to explain. "Baby shower. Cecelia, the cousin I bought this condo with…" She laid a hand on Martin's arm. "And I couldn't have done it without your check, so thank you again…"

"My pleasure," Martin said simply, gesturing her to go on.

"Anyway, Cecelia's got a friend from our old neighborhood who's having a baby and same old story, the father's out of the picture." She let out a long huff. "I tell you, I can't get over how many women are stuck like I was in a dead-end job that they hate but have to keep to put food on the table for their kid. Your check got me out of the casino waitressing gig, into this condo and into community college so I can get a degree. And this condo deal gave Cecelia and her son a place to live too. Not only do we share the mortgage payment, we share childcare – about half the cost with two boys instead of one."

"Glad I could help," Martin told her. "And nice to know it helped two families instead of just one."

Sarah glanced over her shoulder to make sure Ethan wasn't back yet and lowered her voice. "You know, I didn't really need all the money you gave us. I wanted to use the rest of it to help the other Cecelias in the world. I asked that doc at the precinct – the one that helped you set up the support group. What is her name?"

"Maureen," Martin supplied.

"Maureen," Sarah repeated as if trying to make herself remember. "Yeah, she put me in touch with your friend Naomi so now we're working on a project together using what's left over of your house money, the insurance money Naomi got when her sister Haley died and some donations Maureen finagled."

"What kind of project?" Martin asked quizzically.

"One that will help a lot more families," Sarah assured him. "I think you're going to like it."

October 2017

Martin and Naomi stood beside Roger and Trish staring up at the newly unveiled signage over the door to the quaint yet good sized Craftsman style house in Tarzana.

"I can't believe it's finally up and running," Naomi marveled as Sarah joined them. "After all these months of planning…"

"Hey, it wouldn't be possible without a certain person's check," Sarah winked at Martin. "And without your sister's insurance money," she added, nodding to Naomi.

"I just couldn't keep it," Naomi admitted. "It felt wrong. I make a nice salary so I didn't need it, plus I like to think Haley would have wanted me to do something good with the money. So this? This would have made her happy."

"Personally, I think the world could use ten times as much housing for women and children in transition," Trish added. "But this is an excellent contribution. How many families are moving in?"

"Four," Sarah replied, "in addition to our in-house grandma, Eugenia. She'll be in charge of managing the house in return for room of her own and a small salary. As a bonus, her social work background means the four women and their kids will have someone supportive there in-house. I'm so glad you helped us find her, Roger."

"Hey, she was Grandma to half the hood we came from so ain't nobody better than G'ma Genie to keep the home fires burnin'," Roger stated with pride, puffing up his chest a bit only to earn a light smack from a bemused Trish for his ego.

"Regardless," Naomi interjected. "She's a treasure. The kids adore her and the moms feel like they've got a new best friend and a therapist in one. After all they've been through, this will be just what they need to help them get on stable ground. Maureen thinks most of them will need about six to eighteen months here before they can move into a place of their own. Then a new family can move in and so on."

"The help keeps on giving, family after family," Sarah agreed.

"You're a little more quiet than normal," Trish mentioned after everyone fell silent, nudging Martin. When he failed to speak, she continued. "I agree with Naomi; I think Haley would be glad to see this house helping so many women. I know how you feel about it, given how much work you did to help make it a reality…" She moved in closer, her voice lowering. "So tell me… What would your wife think of it?"

Martin gazed at the sign over the door, joy and grief dueting inside him, making it hard to speak.

'Miranda House: Established 2017.'

"I think she'd be damn proud."

December 2017

"How's the new place working out?" Roger asked, passing the mashed potatoes to Martin as they sat at the Murtaugh family's holiday dinner table.

Martin shrugged genially.

"I miss the view, being on the beach, but I have to say the modern conveniences of plumbing and electricity don't suck. Also, real bed? Not as overrated as I once thought."

"Personally I think the washer and dryer have made a huge impact," Trish interjected, "on your appearance."

"What? I've lost my scruffy charm?" Martin mocked being stunned.

"Yeah, round about when you shaved off that old school mustache," RJ teased.

"Don't worry," Riana tossed in. "Clean shaven has its own kind of charm."

"You don't say?" RJ stroked his own hairless jaw and chin, making those at the table erupt in laughter.

"There's a 'those who can' joke in there somewhere," Martin teased. After a good chuckle, he leaned back in his chair taking in the table and the family seated around it.

It was Christmas again and while he never would experience that holiday with the full joy he once knew again, the warmth and contentment he felt inside this evening came with such a lightening of his burden that there was no doubt in his mind where he'd be a year from now, next Christmas.

"Is anything the matter?" he heard Trish ask and broke free of his reverie.

"Nah," he waved her concerns away with a gesture. "Just trying to figure out if there's enough room in my truck to bring the precinct's food drive donations over to Miranda House in one trip tomorrow."

"Hey, if you need another car!" RJ proudly dangled his new car keys, having finally gotten the present he'd wanted for years: his own vehicle. "I can drive!"

"Well," Trish said, beaming, "I must admit how pleased I am that my selfless son's first impulse is to use his new car to help others."

"Oh, I'm for sure taking it over to Mickey and Jay's to show it off in the morning," RJ hastened to clarify, "but after that I can do the food drive thing."

"I think we can still call that a win," Roger stated, holding up his glass. "Okay, all… A toast! To family and found family…" He raised his glass around the table, nodding at Trish and at Martin. "To knowing abundance and helping those facing scarcity…." He gestured to the table, busy with dishes filled with the remains of their holiday feast. "And to the future – may we all be here happy and healthy a year from now and beyond…" His voice shifted lower as he winked at his offspring. "Including certain young people who aren't going to want to fly home for the holidays from college."

Martin raised his glass, smiling both inside and outside in a way that was starting to become easier to him once again after such a long time lost.

"I'll drink to that!"

LW
 
 
 
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 27th, 2017 12:48 am (UTC)
Confession
This fic was written as my main Yuletide assignment for recipient jedi_penguin as part of the 2016 Yuletide challenge. LWTV was a new fandom for me – one I hadn't written yet – but since I'd really been enjoying the TV show (much more than the movies) I decided to take a chance and sign up for it. The request was for a character driven piece and Martin is perfect for that, with his tragicomic persona and heartbreaking backstory.

The request offered quite a few prompt ideas, but this one pinged: “1) Riggs stays in contact with the expectant mother from ‘Surf and Turf’ and helps her out when the baby is born.” It led to a flyover fic where we check in with Martin over the year to come, seeing him recover from his crushing grief and his deathwish to re-engage with others and become a part of the world again. I used the prompt as inspiration to tap a couple of characters from episodes, with a particular emphasis on Haley’s sister since her loss was so immediate for Martin.

BTW, if anyone who reads this didn’t know Clayne Crawford (Martin Riggs) before LWTV, look him up in an old series called The Glades. It’s a fun binge watch to begin with and CC plays the recurring role of the husband (in prison) of the woman the lead male (cop) is falling in love with and the father of their son. He does a great job, especially given how much you are rooting for the woman and the cop. Fair warning though: unresolved hardcore cliffie ending due to series cancellation after four seasons.

My Yuletide gift! I got The Magicians this year! Pre-angst Eliot being his supersexy self!

We Had Been Golden by iamtheenemy.

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

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
life is short, and you are hotiamtheenemy on December 27th, 2017 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
I genuinely hope that you enjoyed the fic! The Magicians was really outside of my comfort zone, so I'm not sure how it turned out. Hope this year's yuletide is grand, and that you have an awesome holiday! Happy new year!