TITLE: Home 9/?

AUTHOR: Kylie (kyliesmilie26)

SUMMARY: See Chapter 1

NOTES: Again, my apologies for the very long delay in getting this update up. Hope the wait is worth it! *crosses fingers* I also hope this makes TDBM fandom feel just a smidge better after the sad news that the ABC has pulled the pin on our beloved show.

As usual, the Muse likes to draw it all out; lots of introspection, and probably not much in the way of plot development… that seems to be how the Muse rolls, well for this story anyway! You should get some answers this chapter, and it's probably only going to get more, err… sad (if that's even possible). Thanks for sticking with it guys; it's turned into way more than I ever anticipated when I first sat down to write something based on S2 finale.

My sincere thanks to all who are taking the time to read and/or leave a review on my first attempt at a DBM fic. Whether you have read from the beginning, or stumbled across this now, or at any time in between, thank you! It means so much to receive your reviews. xoxo

Enjoy, I hope – it's probably rusty as hell… xo


*L&J*

Previously on Home…

"Alright, it's time to get Mrs Beazley down for that x-ray." Nurse Jenny Patterson, ever so cheery, announced. Mattie knew Jenny well, and liked her. She was with a serious looking porter who would be responsible for wheeling her to radiology. Jenny gave them a friendly, sympathetic smile. She could see how much this was taking out on both the kind Dr Blake, who was a favourite with all the nurses, and their dear friend and fellow colleague. "Don't worry, I'll take good care of her."

Mattie nodded, "I know you will."

They watched as Jean was temporarily unhooked from the IV drip and taken out of the small room to have, what could be the most important health test of her life. And the outcome could have a dramatic impact on their lives.


*L&J*

Lucien continued to stare at where Jean had been whisked away. Several minutes had passed since she had been taken to have the all important x-ray on her brain. He was both relieved that, finally they should get some answers, and on the flip side, absolutely terrified of what the x-ray might reveal. As a doctor, he was only too aware of what might be causing Jean's symptoms and he dreaded the thought of Jean, his dear, sweet, wonderful Jean having any of them. Not for the first time since she fell ill, (more like the fiftieth if he were to hazard a guess), he felt completely and utterly helpless. He couldn't stand seeing Jean so sick, and any one of the numerous explanations for Jean's sudden illness could be fatal.

He shuddered at that. He couldn't lose her. No, not when he had only just realised that he was in love with her. He'd already lost one love… she just had to pull through.

Mattie watched her landlord sadly. It had been a good five minutes since Jean had gone for her x-ray and he'd barely moved. It was almost like he was paralysed with fear. She had to do something, anything to try and take his mind off what was happening…

"Will it hurt her?"

Lucien looked at Mattie, perplexed.

"The x-ray?" So much for taking his mind off it, Matilda.

Lucien shook his head, "No, it's a relatively simple scan, despite it being for such a delicate part of the human body. They've come a long way our x-ray machines over the years. Radiography has become much more safe over time." He wasn't sure whether he was saying this to comfort Mattie, or himself. Probably both.

"How long will it take?" Despite being a fully qualified nurse, she didn't really know much about radiography and x-rays, bar the basics she picked up as part of her training. It was a specialised field, and she figured that Lucien, being a doctor, and of more experience than herself, would know at least a little more than she did.

"Not long, no more than fifteen minutes to half an hour." It was going to be the longest fifteen to thirty minutes of his life. Then the wait for the results… He sighed, "Why didn't I realise that she had a probable concussion sooner?"

Mattie touched his arm supportively. "Oh Lucien, you didn't know she'd had taken a knock to the head." She said soothingly, "She suffers from migraine, and because there hadn't been, to your knowledge, a head injury, a bad migraine explained all the symptoms. Especially given she had been doing her darn best to ignore it."

He shrugged. "Maybe, but I'm a doctor and I should have at least suspected something more, even if I didn't know." He paused for a moment. "And I had no idea she suffered from migraine; she'd never told me, so I should have suspected something amiss then."

"You can't blame yourself." Mattie replied.

The doctor shrugged again. "Can't I?"

Mattie sighed, she knew, no matter what she told him, that it was useless. He'd blame himself for Jean's illness, and he'd never forgive himself if… no, don't go there. That was not going to happen…

Another nurse poked her head through the curtains of the cubicle. "Doctor Blake, Nurse O'Brien?" She asked, smiling kindly at the pair.

They looked up, "Yes?" Lucien asked, trying his best to return the smile in kind, but not quite being able to do so.

"Mrs Beazley will be admitted into a ward upon her return from radiology." She informed them, "If you would follow me, I can show you the way."


*L&J*

Jean had been settled into her new room, her x-rays taken, and now for the wait for the results. Thankfully, it was a private room – Lucien was adamant that no cost would be spared when it came to ensuring that his Jean could receive the best of care that the Ballarat and District Base Hospital could offer. And if he wasn't satisfied they weren't doing their very best; he'd have no hesitation in sending her to Melbourne. He didn't much care that they were fellow colleagues in his profession in this country town… if they weren't doing what he deemed to be everything possible well, so be it. It wasn't as if he put several of the many doctors in Ballarat noses out of joint before.

He sat himself down in the chair that was closest to her bed, and took her hand in his, encasing hers gently in-between his. She was reconnected to the IV drip, a second bag of fluids working their way through her bloodstream. If it weren't for the fact she was now wearing a hospital gown, hooked up to the IV and looking oh so pale, Lucien could have pretended she was merely dozing on the couch or something.

He could not possibly feel more responsible for how ill she was if he had given her a deadly poison and left her to die. Mattie had meant well earlier, but no amount of platitudes, regardless of the kindness and good intent from whence they came, would make him feel any differently. He should have seen the growing bruise on her forehead, even if it was continually covered by the strands of dark hair that formed her fringe. That was no excuse in his book. And even if there had been no physical signs of a head trauma; he should have done something. Anything.

He glanced down at their entwined hands and his blue eyes caught glimpse of the fading bruises and almost healed grazes from when he had punched the living daylights out of that thug who had had the gall to hurt his Jean. Even worse, the damn brute had seemingly created a massive health scare for his beloved housekeeper. If I could get my hands on him now…

Lucien shook his head, trying to clear his mind, and stop himself from going down that path. Getting angry at that… that… man would be no good to anyone, least of all the woman lying on the hospital bed beside him. His mind drifted back to that moment in the sunroom, where she had so tenderly kissed away his pain on each graze, which in turn gave him the confidence to kiss her for the first time. Her lips were so soft, so tender and it was like they moulded perfectly onto his. And the way she had felt in his arms… He smiled at the memory; his heart skipping a beat and his stomach responding in kind with a flip-flop of its own. He returned her gesture from the week before in kind, bringing her hand to his lips and placing loving, affectionate kisses on first her hand, then pushing himself up to where he could reach her the bruise on her forehead; brushing her dark tendrils away to kiss the injured spot tenderly.

Nurse Patterson was about to enter the room when she stopped at the door. She smiled sadly at the sight that greeted her. Jenny didn't know Doctor Blake very well personally, but she knew from the gossip that went around how the other nurses liked and respected him. She could also tell how much he cared for her patient; she could see the myriad of emotions in those crystal clear blue eyes of his, (well… she couldn't help but notice those startling blues; she wasn't blind), and the love mixed with both fear and concern was obvious for anyone to see. Jenny could only hope someone looked at her like that one day. As ill as Mrs Beazley was right now, she was one lucky woman to have someone so devoted to her, especially a second-time round.

"I'm here to do Mrs Beazley's obs." She said, as she fully entered the ward.

The doctor looked round, startled. "Err, oh, yes of course." He hadn't realised that much time had passed since she had been brought into the room. "Did you want me to leave?" He asked, hoping that he didn't need to make himself scarce, merely asking out of politeness only.

Jenny shook her head. "No need Doctor." She replied, her tone both kind and cheery. "I will have to ask you to move for a bit, if that's alright? Just so I can see how she's doing."

He stood up, somewhat reluctantly. "Of course."

Lucien watched as Nurse Patterson went about her task. He was very relieved to find she was extremely capable, and of possibly even more importance, she was both caring and friendly, chatting to Jean as she checked her temperature, pulse, and blood pressure, and explaining to her what she was doing. This was despite the fact that Jean, in all likelihood could not hear nor understand what she was saying.

"Well, good afternoon Mrs Beazley. All settled into your room I see. Between you and me, you've got one of our finest rooms. Aren't you lucky? I'm just going to check a few things alright? Got to make sure my favourite patient is doing well." Jenny proceeded to check her vitals and jotted them down on her chart. "There, all done. I'll be back to check on you again in half an hour."

"And you, doctor… don't go snooping in her chart now, will you?" She warned, keeping a straight face as she left the room.

This one could be Jean's personal nurse, Lucien mused to himself. He liked her.

He sat back down again, slipping her hand into his again almost without conscious thought. "Just us again, Jean." He said quietly. (Lucien had insisted Mattie go home and get some rest for a few hours; between the two of them, they'd hardly had a night's sleep since Mattie had returned from Melbourne) "She likes to chatter that one, doesn't she? But she is good at her job, and only the best for you, Mrs Beazley."

Lucien wasn't sure why he suddenly felt the need to talk to Jean, rather than just watch her lying in the hospital bed in silence. On some level, he thought, quite possibly irrationally, that it might help her; not to necessarily get better, but if she could hear him, he hoped that it would make her feel safe, and that Jean would know someone was there for her. If nothing else, it distracted him from his chaotic musings and constant worry over Jean… who was fast becoming someone he couldn't live without, and arguably the most important person in his life. He sent silent apologies to his dear late wife and long lost daughter for that notion, but couldn't help think that the nagging thought had at least some element of truth behind it.

"Doctor Blake?" He heard, and turned around to see Dr Forsyth enter Jean's room.

"Doctor Forsyth." Lucien greeted, feeling his heartrate go through the roof as his anxieties seem to crash in around him. "Do you have any news?"

The other doctor was a picture of calm, at least externally – the complete opposite of how Lucien felt, and he supposed, looked. He hoped that this meant either no news, or "hey relax all, it's only a nasty concussion." Deep down, he knew this would not be the case.

Dr Forsyth walked over to the end of Jean's bed to read over her chart. "Has she woken since I last saw her?" He enquired, as he took in the notes written in the folder.

Lucien shook his head, wanting so badly to look anywhere but at the neuro-specialist, but forcing himself to keep his blue eyes focused directly at him. "What are your thoughts Doctor?"

"Alexander, please?" He replied kindly.

Lucien nodded. "Lucien." He responded in kind.

Alexander cleared his throat, preparing himself. No matter how much experience one had, this never got any easier. The fact the family had a deep medical knowledge probably made his job a little worse if anything.

"Well, given the symptoms Mrs Beazley has had over the last few days, and from what I have observed since her admission, I am in little doubt that she is suffering from a grade three concussion."

Lucien nodded, not surprised at this diagnosis. His eyes returned to the woman lying on the bed, oh how he wished she was merely sleeping peacefully at home. I am so sorry I didn't do something about this sooner.

"Have the results of the brain x-ray come through?" Lucien asked him, his voice betraying his deep fear and worry through its unsteadiness.

Doctor Forsyth nodded. "Given how ill Mrs Beazley is, I asked for the results to be made a high priority. Unfortunately, the news isn't as good as what we hoped."

Lucien's insides turned to jelly, if he felt fearful for Jean before, it had gone up to outlandish proportions now. Yes, his fear had just reached its peak, just when he thought he couldn't possibly be any more worried. His thoughts raced at a million miles an hour; she had an aneurysm, didn't she? Oh, why hadn't he got her here sooner?

"The x-ray showed a cerebral edema, Lucien."

This piece of information stopped those chaotic depressing thoughts in their tracks. "Cerebral edema?"

Alexander nodded, "Yes, in the right lower quadrant of the frontal lobe."

"That makes sense. It's where she sustained her head injury from the fall she had about a week ago."

"I agree." Doctor Forsyth replied.

"She'll need surgery to reduce the swelling won't she?"

The neurospecialist nodded. "Yes, and today."

"How bad does it look?" Lucien asked, not sure he really wanted to know the true extent of the swelling, yet needed to know rather desperately at the same time.

Alexander hesitated, "It is hard to say until I can get her into theatre."

"You must have some idea Alexander."

"You know I can't really know until she's in surgery Lucien." The doctor sighed, he knew how difficult it must be for the country GP. Alexander was aware of how extensive Lucien's education was, which made this all the more difficult for him as a loved one than the norm. "Look, it's not great Lucien, but it could have been worse." He put a hand on Lucien's shoulder as a gesture of support. "Are you her next of kin?"

Lucien shook his head. "No, her son Christopher Junior is. He is based in Adelaide."

"Are you able to call him for his consent to the surgery?"

Lucien nodded. "Of course."


*L&J*

Lucien looked at Jean lying in the bed and his eyes were drawn to her beautiful face; and was again both surprised and saddened at how pale she was, save for those dark circles under her closed eyes. He squeezed Jean's hand gently, and held it just that little bit more tightly. "Don't you worry Jean, I'll call Christopher and let him know. Then we'll get that swelling taken care of and you'll start to feel much better." I hope…

How in the bloody hell was he going to break the news to everyone? Least of all Christopher. And as her eldest, he would be the one who had to give consent to Jean having this essential, but highly risky surgery. He needed to do it, and fast.

Finding strength from somewhere he didn't know he had, he got up, kissed Jean on the forehead and promised her he'd be back as quickly as he could. Taking one last look at his housekeeper, friend, and love, he left her room to find a phone.


*L&J*

Where on earth was she?

Why does she feel so… so…. she can't put her finger on it, but she does not feel right.

She's never felt like this before.

The feeling is so hard to describe.

And it hurts to even try.

She just wants to be back in familiar surroundings.

She wants to see those blue eyes she has come to love.

She wants to be back in those arms.

She wants…

Him.


*L&J*

By the time Lucien had made what had to be one of the most difficult and harrowing phone calls of his life, their friends had all arrived and were waiting for him in the waiting room.

To say he was touched would be somewhat of an understatement. To see Matthew, Charlie, Mattie and even Alice there was heart-lifting. They all stood when they spotted him, and went over, anxious for news on Jean's condition.

"Any news doc?" Charlie asked. He could see how this was hurting the police surgeon. It had taken Charlie a while to fully trust Lucien given what he'd been told by the head honchos in Melbourne, but he liked the doc, and respected him. That incident at the stairs of the council building on their first introduction, now forgiven – not forgotten, but Charlie could deal with it. There was something about the relationship between the doc and Jean, he thought. He'd sensed something between them from the small number of interactions he had witnessed and the hearsay he'd heard at the station and in town, and how Lucien had so quickly leapt to the defence of Jean when she'd been knocked over had confirmed in his mind that there was more to their friendship than what they let on.

"Lucien?" Matthew asked, noticing the stricken look on his long-time friend's face.

"What's going on Lucien?" This time it was Mattie's turn to enquire, she was getting more worried and anxious by the second and did not like that almost tormented countenance on his face.

How the bloody hell do I tell them? Kept rolling around in his troubled thoughts. For goodness sake Lucien you're a doctor, you've done this sort of thing before! It was questionable though whether it had ever been this close to home. No, definitely not.

He sighed, taking a deep breath. "Jean has a grade three concussion."

Alice and Mattie knew this was the most severe form of concussion that could be diagnosed, and to Mattie, this wasn't a surprise. But she also knew, from what she had observed in Jean over the last few days, there was going to be more to it than that.

While the two men didn't know exactly how serious a grade three concussion was, they knew it probably wasn't all that good, considering she was in hospital. And especially from both the look Lucien had currently on his face, and his behaviour over the last week since Jean became ill.

"There's more to it though, isn't there Lucien?" Alice queried, her tone soft. While she often came across as cold and insensitive, she could plainly see how much of an impact Jean's illness was having on her colleague.

He took another deep breath, nodding. "Err, yes. She also has a cerebral edema." Saying it aloud stung. Really stung. It pierced at his already battered heart. He needed a drink. Or five. And a cigarette.

Mattie's heart sunk, oh no… not good. She had to tell herself to breathe. It could have been a tumour or aneurysm.

"A what?" Lawson asked, it didn't sound good, whatever it was.

"Cerebral edema. In layman's terms, it is basically swelling of the brain." Alice explained simply, trying not to sound like her usual blunt self.

"Bloody hell." Lawson cried, yet his tone of voice portrayed an element of quiet shock.

Charlie couldn't help but echo that sentiment, at least to himself. Aloud he said, "Jesus, Doc. What can they do to fix it?"

"They can take her into have emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain." Lucien again found his voice, and some of his composure, after having being almost overcome with emotion.

Mattie burst into tears. "Surgery?" She knew surgery was a possibility… but hadn't really wanted to believe Jean would actually need it. Any surgery was risky, but brain surgery… she felt sick.

Lucien wrapped his arms around her in a fatherly embrace, relieved to be able to give someone else some comfort and take his mind off his own misery. "Yes, not the best outcome we would have liked, clearly, but it's the only option Dr Forsyth has. It's the only way to relieve that pressure that has built up on her brain." He rocked her liked a child, "She'll be alright Mattie, we have to believe that."

"When is she having the surgery?" Alice asked.

"As soon as the theatre can be made ready." Lucien paused, looking down at his watch. "So, it should be in the next few hours."

His four friends and colleagues all took pause as everything they'd been told sunk in. This was not the news any of them wanted to hear, but realistically, they all knew – irrespective of their medical knowledge – that the true extent of Jean's sudden illness had to be serious.

"But what about Christopher Doc?" Charlie asked, seemingly out of the blue. "He'd be her next of kin wouldn't he? Don't they need to wait for him?"

"Normally yes, but we got his consent over the phone. She needs this surgery now, and they won't be able to get here until tomorrow morning." Lucien replied.

"Consent over the phone?" Lawson mused, his long fingers stroking his chin, portraying a look of someone deep in thought. "Is that legal?" As soon as he asked it he felt the guilt creep up on his conscious, but he couldn't help it, keeping the law intact was his livelihood.

"It isn't something we normally like to do, but given the circumstances we didn't have much choice." Lucien replied, his shoulders slumping at the thought of Jean, his dear, sweet Jean, needing to have this delicate surgery at all.

Nurse Patterson came out from where she had been standing some discreet distance away to meet them. She had overheard the latter part of their conversation and felt deep pangs of empathy for the forlorn group. When it was as serious a situation as Jean's was, was by far and away the worst part of her vocation.

"Doctor Blake?" She asked, schooling her now well trained nursing skills to maintain a kind and compassionate tone.

They all turned around to see Jean's nurse. "What is it Nurse Patterson?" Lucien asked.

"They're prepping Jean for surgery now." She informed them, "Did you want to go and see her for a few minutes before she goes in?"

There was absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in the police surgeon's reply. "Take me to her." He said, nodding resolutely.

The others sat down in the rather uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room as they watched the nurse and Lucien go to Jean.

TBC…

Thanks for reading. Thoughts? :)