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01 June 2006 @ 12:31 am
Numb3rs Fic: Still Life  
Posted to numb3rs_fic


Title: Still Life
Pairing/Characters: Don/Robin
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Guns and Roses
Summary: When Don married Robin he dreamed of having a son of his own
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


Don paced the hospital ward anxiously, hating the helplessness of waiting. He wondered if his father had paced the same when his mother was pregnant. Don had been an early baby and Charlie had been officially premature.

Charlie had turned out all right though – better than all right. He managed a super genius level mind albeit in a body slightly stunted in size and height. Still, he was Charlie and there was no doubt that the complications surrounding his birth had not prevented his exceptional self from coming into being.

Don spun when the door to Robin's hospital room opened and headed towards it immediately. The doctor ushered him in with a gesture and a kindly face.

"You can go in now, Mr. Eppes."

+

24 Hours Earlier

"Can we tell them this weekend?"

"Did I not just finish saying I don't want to tell anyone until the first trimester is over?"

"Yeah, but I figured you meant everyone else. We have to tell my family!"

"And mine?"

"Oh yeah. Them too."

Robin smacked Don playfully with a pillow. "You hate my family."

Don tried to look innocent. "No, I don't! You just love mine much more by comparison."

Robin shook her head and settled into Don's arms. He automatically encircled her and laid his hands protectively on her belly.

"I hope it's a boy."

"I just hope for a healthy kid."

Don kissed Robin's temple lightly. "All parents wish for that."

"For good reason."

"Nothing will go wrong. This kid has great genes. Don't worry..."

+

Don's heart raced as he stepped into the hospital room. His hand hesitated a moment before pulling the curtain aside to reveal Robin reclining in bed with her eyes closed. She looked wan and exhausted, but opened her eyes as she heard Don approach.

He took her hand in his own gently and looked down at her. Their eyes locked and understanding passed between them.

"Our son..." Don murmured.

+

8 Hours Earlier

"Do you want me to call in sick for you?"

"No, I'm going to try to go into the office."

Don frowned and put out a hand to stop Robin from picking up her briefcase.

"If you're not feeling well, take the day off. I'll stay home with you if you need me."

Robin smiled and brushed him off with a light kiss.

"I get the feeling that I'll be having morning sickness for a while if this is how I feel now. I can't let a little nausea get in the way of my work. I'm going to have to take off soon enough. I'd like to get as much as I can done before I go on maternity leave."

She finished gathering up her purse, briefcase and jacket and Don kept her from leaving long enough for a real kiss.

"Okay, but you call me if you start feeling worse. I'll come pick you up. Lunch at 1?"

"Better make it 1:30. You're always late," Robin said with a grin.

"Not me! I was even born early."

"Very funny. I have to run. I'll see you at lunch!"

Don waved her off and started packing up for work himself. He picked up his cell phone and speed dialed his family's house.

"Hey Dad, hey Charlie... Listen, I wanted to see if you guys have a night free this weekend. Robin and I wanted to see about taking you both out for dinner. We've got a bit of an announcement to make..."

+

Don's hand grasped Robin's tightly as his other hand unconsciously drifted to her stomach.

Robin placed her hand over his and bit her lip fighting back tears.

"Don..."

"Shh... Just rest okay. You're tired and you need to rest. I'll be right here. I'm not leaving you."

+

2 Hours Earlier

"It's a good thing you didn't order the lamb. You wouldn't have liked it. It was way too spicy for you." Don held the door for Robin as they left the restaurant and then took a moment to put his wallet away. "All I have going on is paperwork today, so if you want me to..."

Don realized Robin wasn't beside him and turned to see her leaning heavily against the exterior wall of the restaurant. Feeling a sudden rush of concern he hurried to her side.

"What's wrong?" he asked, fighting down his fear.

"Don't feel so well..." she muttered, putting out a hand to steady herself. "Hurts..." Her other hand gravitated to her abdomen and a spike of panic ran through Don just as she began to collapse.

"I've got you," he soothed, lowering her safely to the ground. He whipped out his cell phone and called for help. "I need an ambulance at 1213 Whitman Lane!"

+

Robin shook her head vehemently. "No. I can't rest. I can't... I can't believe..." She looked up at Don again, this time with tears streaming freely down her face. "I'm sorry, Don. I'm so sorry."

"Shh... No... Don't say that. It's not your fault." Don enveloped her in his arms, letting his own tears flow as the enormity of their loss finally sunk in.

"A son..." Robin whispered through her tears. "We would have had a son..."

+

48 Hours Later

"Robin asleep?"

Don turned around from staring out the window. "Dad! I thought you left with Charlie."

"How could I leave when my son needs me?" Alan said sadly. He laid his hand on Don's shoulder to comfort him. "Robin's a strong woman. You're strong. You'll both get through this together. I know you will."

"How can you be so sure?" Don asked, his tone uncharacteristically plaintive.

"Because your mother and I got through it."

Don looked at his father in disbelief. "You and Mom?"

Alan nodded. "A little over two years after Charlie was born your mother lost a baby. We never told either of you, but it devastated us. We wanted to spare you the pain of knowing you lost a brother."

"Another son..."

"Yes. I liked the name Jacob, but your mother wanted Thomas so she could call him Tommy." Alan took a deep breath before going on. "I never told her, but I was going to give in and let her name him Tommy. I knew how much she'd like having sons named Donny, Charlie and Tommy."

"I could have had another brother..."

Alan straightened himself up, trying to be strong for Don. "And you'll have another son. Robin's young enough to try again and as long as you two love each other – and I know you do – you'll get through this."

Don went back to staring out the window.

"Does the pain ever go away?" he asked quietly. "Do you ever forget?"

Biting back a gasp of agony at his son's pain, Alan pulled him into his arms and held him close.

"No, you never forget. But remember this... The people we love may die, but the love we have for them never does."

Alan let the tears flow unheeded down his face as his grieving son broke down and sobbed in his arms.

+

3 Years Later

The invitations were baby blue and Don handed them all out personally.

'Don and Robin Eppes cordially invite you to celebrate Jacob Thomas Eppes's first birthday...'

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 1st, 2006 07:37 am (UTC)
Author Notes
Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
Jestana: #s: Don playing pianojestana on June 1st, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
You killed me! *pushes back tears to keep typing* I felt so sorry for Don and Robin. Losing a baby like that is never going to be easy. *sniffle* I do love the name they chose for their son, though. *grin* So sweet. Bravo!
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 1st, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you, jestana

/offers tissue/

It was hard to write a summary line for this that described the fic without giving it away. It's true that Don ends up with a family of his own, but the road there is an angst ridden one.

With Don and Robin being older it felt plausible that there might be complications and hinting that there were issues in Don's own family right off the bat implied that this was not going to be a happy fluffy family fic.

I wasn't sure who'd like reading this, but it felt right to write it. Part of what's great about fic is our ability to share the human condition with others around us using these template characters we all automatically understand.

Sometimes we share joy and sometimes we share pain. In this instance, it was both.

I'm glad you liked it and I appreciate your heartfelt comments.

-Emma

Jestana: #s: Don playing pianojestana on June 1st, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
No problem. *grin*

We all have our share of hardships at times. Two of my teachers in middle school got married and she got pregnant (naturally), only she ended up miscarrying the baby. I was in high school by that time, though, so I don't know how much it affected them. About like Don and Robin, I imagine.

Thank you for writing this. Life isn't always sweet and fluffy and I appreciate the writers, both original and fanfic, who take on the harsher aspects of life like death and illness.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 1st, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Sadly, I had a plethora of experience to draw on when it comes to people I know who've gone through this kind of tragedy. It feels like people who don't get it seem to think of it as the loss of the potential for a child and those who have recognize it as similar to losing a baby that's already been born.

Life is drama so writing the human condition includes pathos. I want to write so that people feel something. There's a time for light frothy fun and a time for substance. Reading lets us experience so much vicariously it's nice to try on emotions without having the onus of the causes in our own lives.

Thanks again,

Emma
Jestana: #s: Don playing pianojestana on June 1st, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
The teachers are the only people I've known who've had to go through the experience. *nods* Yes, I would imagine it'd be tough. Oh! I just remembered. My dad's parents lost several babies between my uncle and my dad. I'm not sure how many. Grandma's gone and we haven't seen Grandpa since she passed away.

Exactly! If someone writes well, though, they'll wring strong emotions out of the reader anyway. I've seen RENT several times and I still cry at certain parts.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 1st, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
Wow. Lucky for you they kept trying. I had friends try and fail for a decade before finding a specialist who helped them conceive successfully. You can bet that kid is the most spoiled on the planet. I've had others too and it's heartbreaking each time. There is nothing you can do to soothe that kind of hurt, just be there and be a friend but understand it's something parents ultimately go through alone. The one thing I learned not to say was to remind them they can try again. Implying one child can be replaced by another is as callous with a miscarriage as it would be with an infant but I think a lot of people don't get that.

It seems quite a few of my friends are Rent fans, and even though I never had any interest in it they've finally convinced me to *rent* the movie. /snicker/

Thanks,

Emma
Jestana: Larry fountainjestana on June 1st, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
*giggle* Yeah. Oh, I totally understand. I read a story once where parents who'd lost a baby to miscarriage 'buried' the baby, complete with tombstone, and had a short memorial service to help them find closure. I'm pretty sure it was fictional, but it was so moving.

I'd heard of it and wanted to see it when I heard they were doing a movie, but I was content to wait until it came out on DVD and video.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 1st, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
That kind of makes sense. Having lost family members I recognize that memorials/funerals/wakes are the publicly accepted ways of asking for and accepting support from friends and community members.

To not have a casket or ashes removes that method of asking for public support and means the couple has to grieve privately with less of a show of support than if they'd lost an infant. (There really is nothing sadder than a parent burying a child. It's happened in my family and it's so tragic and unnatural.)

While I hope that no one reading this has to endure it or have someone they love endure it, discussions like this help people understand what they can do to help if it does happen.

Thanks for the interesting comments.

-Emma
Jestana: Tuberosesjestana on June 2nd, 2006 05:35 am (UTC)
There really is nothing sadder than a parent burying a child. It's happened in my family and it's so tragic and unnatural.

Yes, I've seen this sentiment several times, both in real life and in fiction. It always get to me.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 4th, 2006 06:49 am (UTC)
/nods/

I think if you didn't feel it... Well, I just can't imagine what kind of person couldn't feel that.

-Emma
Tellitelligirl on June 3rd, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)
*wipes tear from eyes* That was very touching. I loved it.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on June 4th, 2006 06:50 am (UTC)
I was hoping for that reaction from readers. Thank you very much.

-Emma
the angst bunny: numb3rs-charlie and larrymakeitstopjamie on July 5th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Very sweet and sad! Really enjoyed reading it:)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 6th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
Thank you. I like writing sad stories, especially when they don't have to end that way...

-Emma
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 2nd, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this one still makes *me* teary rereading it. /wipes eyes/