Monday, 22 September 2014

A Bit of Writing: Limbo

I've never actually posted anything I've written on this blog before. Well, that's kind of a lie, obviously I write everything that I post on here but I mean written-written.

And two weeks ago I decided that had to change, so I scheduled this post plenty of time in advance so I could pull it if I changed my mind. If you're reading this right now, I didn't.

Way back in 2008, in October, I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo and I was desperate to start but there were still nearly two weeks to go. So what's a girl to do?

Write AU fan fiction for your own story, of course!

I should probably explain. My NaNo began with Liv's return to work after being caught by the serial killer she was chasing (believe it or not, before I'd ever watched Criminal Minds, the team in my story are basically the Scottish version of the BAU). He'd held her captive and the team, lead by Stephen, found her just in time. Limbo is a 'what if' of what might have happened if they'd not made it in time.

Enjoy it and be gentle.


There were several night nurses working on Liv's ward. Stephen didn't know their names but he always nodded when they smiled at him and listened while they filled him in on Liv's status. They expected him to show up, long after visiting time had ended, and there was always a soft-seated chair waiting for him beside the hospital bed. He was grateful for this; he frequently fell asleep during these visits, the soft chair helped a little.

Today had been a difficult one. Any case involving children usually was. He was aware that he didn't look his best; unshaven, bags beneath his eyes, blood stains on his shirt. It was probably for the best that Liv was unconscious. She would have been worried to see how he'd let himself go.

Liv looked the same as ever. No. That wasn't right. She looked the same as usual since she had come to this place. She had been beautiful; petite, thick blonde hair, surprisingly strong for her build. If he hadn't witnessed the transformation first hand, Stephen never would have believed that he was sitting with the same woman. Now she looked so fragile. Her skin was thin and papery, her hair brittle, and her muscles wasted.

Some nights Stephen felt the need to talk to Liv, to tell her what was happening at work as though he could wake her up if he could just pique her interest with the right topic. Tonight he just whispered 'we got him' and knew that would be enough. He couldn't relive the events of that day again.

When it had first happened they had visited in shifts. Stephen had been adamant that when she came round there would be a familiar face waiting for her. They might have been doing it for Liv in the beginning, but as the time passed it was clear that their concern was for Stephen instead.

Alistair had been the first to stop taking a shift at Liv's beside. Stephen had been angry but he understood. Alistair barely saw his children anyway and things hadn't been brilliant with his wife; he didn't need to spend his free time beside the bed of another woman. Chris had stopped visiting soon after. That was easier for Stephen to understand. Chris and Liv had been close, it was hard for Chris to see her like that.

Occasionally Stephen would find flowers beside Liv's bed. He knew that if he was to speak to the nurses he would know for certain who they came from, but he was already sure that they came from Chris. Probably marking some significant date for the pair. He couldn't ask her, he wasn't sure if they knew he still came here every night and what their reaction would be if he made it known.

He wasn't even sure why he still came every night. In the beginning he had clung on to the tiny ray of hope that Liv might wake up. Gradually the doctors had stopped suggesting that she might come round and instead spoke about keeping her wasted body comfortable - whatever that might mean.

A tiny part of him, the part that he tried desperately to ignore, thought that perhaps things might have been better for all involved if her attacker had been successful. The vital evidence needed to catch the guy wouldn't have been destroyed in a bid to save her life. She wouldn't have been forced to suffer this long, undignified death. He would have been able to grieve for his fallen colleague, come to terms with the loss, and move on.

Stephen hated to find himself thinking like that. What ifs consumed him. What if he'd been stronger? Faster? Smarter? What if he'd saved her? They never got him anywhere. The latest one was what if I don't come tomorrow? It could be easily justified; busy day at work, tired, going out with friends. Liv probably wouldn't even know.

He pushed the chair away from the bed, stooped, and planted a gentle kiss on the back of Liv's pale hand. He couldn't stay tonight. He was tired and there was no way he would function properly after another night in that chair. As he approached the door Stephen had almost made up his mind. There was only so long he could keep this up. Tomorrow would be different; he would go for drinks with Russell, a meal with Hannah, invite Chris to a movie.

But at the door he paused. Another what if at the back of his mind. A familiar one. What if she wakes up alone? And he knew, tomorrow he would be back, and the day after that.

Maybe then he would be ready to let go.


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