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18 February 2006 @ 11:52 pm
Numb3rs Fic: A Lifetime of Love  
Written for numb3rsflashfic Challenge #8 - Love


Title: A Lifetime of Love
Pairing/Characters: Alan/Margaret
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: UP, Harvest, The Running Man
Summary: Margaret gave Alan the gift of a lifetime of love
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at numb3rsflashfic.


Alan Eppes had never been in love.

He'd had plenty of girlfriends in high school and gone steady, as they called it back then, with a couple of girls in college. But he'd never truly been in love before.

Margaret's delicate fingers moved across the piano keys with such grace, and the music - her latest composition - was as lovely and amazing as the woman before him.

When she looked up at him and smiled, her hands still dancing over the ivories, he felt the force of her gaze in his chest and found himself breathless at the depth of emotion he saw there and felt in himself.

The next day he paused for only a second before taking a nervous first step inside a jewelry store. When the woman behind the counter approached him and offered her assistance, he took a deep breath and asked to see engagement rings.

He brought her a bouquet of red roses for her birthday with one white rose in the center. He tucked the diamond ring inside the single pale blossom to surprise her.

Her trembling 'yes' was so soft, Alan almost asked her to repeat it.

She said yes to him from then on.

They were married in May.

+

Alan hadn't seen the crash, but from where his car was stuck on the freeway, he had seen the rising plumes of smoke that followed. It had been a good twenty minutes since the emergency vehicles had screamed past the waiting cars, sirens wailing as they raced up the emergency lane.

He'd long since turned his car's engine off, like the rest of the drivers around him had done, and just sat and listened to the news radio station reports on the tragic accident.

Seven dead. The pilot and his wife in the small plane that had crashed into the freeway and five people in cars on the ground, one a ten year old boy whose parents had survived and been airlifted to nearby trauma centers with all the other injured.

Alan fidgeted anxiously, wishing there was some way he could call Margaret, to let her know why he wasn't home from work on time. He knew she'd be worried. He'd called from the office to say he was on his way, then been held up briefly by a coworker whose son was selling candy for a school fundraiser. Alan had stopped to buy a few bars and encourage the young man in his efforts.

Having nothing else to do but wait, Alan picked up one of the chocolate bars and ate it absentmindedly. By the time he finished it, he could see cars moving in the distance.

Eventually he made it through the one lane that was open, driving past the wreckage slowly and carefully as police officers waved the cars around the emergency flares. Although he tried not to, he couldn't help but glance over as he passed.

He caught a quick glimpse of the coroner bagging a body, seeing only a pale and slightly bloody feminine arm before it was obscured from view.

Alan turned away and swallowed hard. Suddenly life seemed so capricious, so easily taken away. Had he not stopped to buy the candy it could have been his car among the wreckage. The woman in the bag could have been Margaret.

Alan sped home, desperate to see his beloved wife, to hold her in his arms, to assure her everything was all right and to be reassured himself.

He burst into the house calling her name. She was in the living room by the phone, her eyes filled with tears. She leapt up at the sound of his voice and flew into his arms, dissolving into sobs of relief.

Alan held her close and whispered reassurances. He glanced down at the coffee table and saw the pad of paper she'd been writing on. It had the names of all the local hospitals on it with check marks beside them, some checked more than once.

He scooped her up in his arms and wordlessly carried her upstairs to their bedroom.

The fear of loss and brush with mortality infused their lovemaking with first a desperation, then a hunger for closeness and finally a celebration of their bond.

Don was born nine months later.

+

Alan made a bad patient, like most active men sidelined by injury, but Margaret was forgiving with him, juggling taking care of him and little Donnie as well as all her other obligations.

The cast on his foot annoyed him and he hated being stuck in bed. Trying to review large blueprints without a drafting table frustrated him. Every time something fell on the floor, he had to wait for Margaret to come pick it up for him, else risk aggravating the back muscles he'd injured in his fall.

She never complained, but still chided him gently for his churlish behavior, at which he immediately became repentant and apologized profusely, kissing the inside of her wrist in apology. That had always charmed her and since he was stuck at home, he craved her company and was not above using romantic gestures to get her to stay longer with him.

After lunch one day she took away his blueprints and work files and urged him to take a nap in the waning December sun, reminding him that too much work would slow his recovery. He agreed reluctantly yet quickly dozed off once she left the room with all his paperwork.

He woke refreshed a short time later and glanced at the clock, wondering why the house was so quiet and not filled with the raucous noises of little Donnie playing cops and robbers with his neighborhood friends. He listened more intently and could briefly make out the sound of his son's voice through the bedroom window and then the sound of his neighbor calling to Donnie and her son to come play in the back yard instead.

He yawned and stretched just as Margaret came through the door with a glass of lemonade for him. She put it down on the nightstand next to him then leaned down to kiss him lightly. When she tried to pull away, he wrapped his arms around her to keep her from leaving and kissed her more deeply.

She pulled away with a smile and got up from the bed, Alan's hand trailing reluctantly down her arm as she rose and stepped away. Before he could entreat her to stay, she walked to the stereo on the dresser and put on one of her favorite Mozart albums. The opening movement was complex yet playful and when Alan held out his arms to her, she sank down onto the bed with him, her affections as playful and lively as the soundtrack to their romantic interlude.

Charlie was born the following September.

+

Alan held Margaret's hand gently, even though she was asleep. This last round of chemotherapy had taken a great deal out of her and he was grateful for the reprieve sleep gave her from the pain and discomfort of the treatments.

Charlie had already been in to give her a kiss on the forehead before heading to the garage and Don wasn't due from the office until dinnertime. For the moment, they were alone and somehow Alan didn't feel lonely even though her presence was merely physical at that moment.

She stirred, frowning in her sleep, and Alan stroked her hair to soothe her. She turned into his touch and her expression calmed as she settled back down again. He gazed down at her sleeping form, still in awe of this beautiful creature who'd agreed to share his life so many years ago.

The thought of their life together ending so soon filled him with grief, but when he saw that she might awaken, he quickly pushed his emotions aside. He put a smile on his face for her as her eyes fluttered and then finally opened.

She gazed up at him and smiled. The love shone in her eyes and was reflected in his, the years between that moment when he first knew and then had not dulled his love for this remarkable woman who took his name, bore his children and stood by him in good times and in bad.

He lifted her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist tenderly.

When he released her hand, she brought it weakly to his temple, running her fingers through the gray hair there, before slipping her hand to the back of his neck, pulling him down to her for a kiss.

Their lips met and for a few seconds they were merely a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, two people in love.

Three months later, he stood at her grave and said goodbye to the love of his life.

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 19th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC)
Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
melissimamelissima on February 21st, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
You're welcome! This is a gorgeous portrait of their love that I wish TPTB could see-- They go on about fanart that really captures the characters, so I know this would touch them, if not for all that legal-vetting stuff that keeps them from reading fanfic.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on April 13th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)
Well, I doubt TPTB would read fanfic even if they didn't have the legal issues. I mean these are their characters, they're probably pretty possessive of them.

It is a shame though. I've read some fic that were easily on par with the writing we see in the real episodes.

There is some bloody awful fic out there too though. ;-)

Thanks again,

Emma

(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on April 13th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
Mary? Sounds like you're a Supernatural fan in addition to Numb3rs. ;-)

I do like exploring Margaret since we know so little about her. I think I may have to get more into Mary as well.

What is it about absent mothers that's so compelling?

Glad you liked it.

Thanks,

Emma