I told you I would keep writing!
This one takes place after Fear Itself, but you don't have to have read that one to read this one. What you need to know that happened previously: This is probably about two years after the end of the show, so around 2008. It takes place in the summer - late June and into July. Jordan and Woody are together, as was pretty much outright said would happen in the season finale, and they're living in the house they bought in my previous story.
Otherwise, this just jumps right into the action. Everything will unfold in coming chapters. The rating is for theme and language.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. Also, I do not have a medical background and, though I did do some research, I don't claim that any of this is correct.
Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree.
"What the hell is this?" Woody asked in confusion, dropping the card and the envelope it came in on his desk and looking up at the courier who had brought it up to him. That was all it said, scrawled out in small, tidy print across a square piece of expensive-feeling cardstock.
"I don't know, sir," the young man said with a noncommittal shrug. "Someone just dropped it off for you at the front desk and asked me to bring it up to you thirty minutes later."
Woody flipped the fancy envelope over. His name – Detective Woodrow Hoyt – was written on the front in that same neat, scrawling handwriting. "Thanks," he mumbled, starting to feel odd.
As the courier left and Woody was about to put the things away to study later, he felt something else inside the envelope and looked again. A grainy color photograph, the kind that comes out when you're too far away but you try to get the camera to zoom in as far as it can anyway. The photograph was of Jordan. There was no timestamp, but she was on the porch of their home, mindlessly checking through the mail before going inside. It could have been taken any time since they had moved in there.
His heart tightening suddenly, he turned it over. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation.
The same handwriting.
He stood so quickly his chair flew out from under him and hit the ground with a loud smack.
When he arrived at the house nearly twenty minutes later, the front door was wide open. He ran inside, radio out and calling for a squad car and an ambulance as his brain quickly filtered through the broken bar stool against the wall and tossed furniture, broken glass, ripped papers, and strewn books from the countertop. There was a cast-iron pan in the middle of the floor, too, well out of place from the kitchen. But it was the blood spatter right in front of him that caught and held his attention.
She was lying face-down in the living room to his right, having almost reached a phone on the side table by the couch but not quite. Blood stained the floor all around her and tracked out into the kitchen and hallway, where she had obviously struggled and finally given up when she had nothing left to fight with.
"Jo. Jordan." Woody ran to her side and gently rolled her to her back, his heart pounding so hard it felt like a hummingbird was trapped in his chest. The rest of the room – the mess, the broken glass under his knees, the torn sofa cushions nearby, even the fact that the person who did this might still be there – faded from his mind as he blindly felt for her pulse. Tears blurred his vision when he found it, and he choked out her name again. "Jordan, please. Jordan. Jordan!"
Her eyes fluttered, unable to focus but hearing his voice and trying to find him anyway. "T-tension pneumothorax," she rasped, using all of her energy to concentrate.
"What?" Woody asked, confused and horrified at the medical jargon coming from her mouth.
"Left…left lung collapsing."
Her breathing was shallow and labored, and he noticed then with a sickening jolt in his stomach that the majority of the blood was pouring from a deep wound on the left side of her abdomen. His hands rushed to it in a vain attempt to staunch the bleeding, but the fluid seeped easily through his fingers as though they were fine mesh. The damage was done. "No…no. Jordan. Jo. No…please…"
"Three m-minutes," she said so softly he had to strain to hear. "Oxygen starvation. Already…can't breathe."
"I've called for help," he begged, having to resist the urge to scoop her into his arms so he wouldn't hurt her more. "You just need to hold on a little longer. Please. Please, Jo." The tears had turned into desperate crying and he found he couldn't take his gaze away from her face, afraid that if he did for one second she would disappear.
He was about to argue with her when she pulled in another ragged breath and forced her eyes open again, though only able to stare blankly at the ceiling. "One thing you can d-do."
"Anything!" Woody all but shouted. "Oh, God, Jordan, I'll do anything if it will keep you with me. Just tell me what to do. Tell me what to do, please." He had given up trying to cover the wound, and he ran one of his hands urgently over her hair, not caring that it was covered in blood, smearing it into the strands or across the bruised skin of her face. She tried to take a breath to respond but was unable to, and he couldn't hide the sob that escaped as he watched her struggling. He lowered his forehead to hers, wishing with all his might that he could fix this. "Jordan…"
Finally she was able to get enough air into her failing lungs to speak again. "Field kit, scalpel. Number twenty-t-two. Hurry."
He was loath to leave her side, but he ran to the front closet where she kept a spare field kit for when she was called on an emergency and didn't have time to go by the morgue first. He ripped the bag open and dumped the contents on the floor. He had never noticed before that she'd kept scalpels in here, but it made sense. There were three of them, each individually sealed in sanitized packaging, and he was able to find the one she had asked for. He brought it back to her and set it on the floor, still sealed. "Here, I have it."
"Good…" she exhaled softly. Her eyes were closed again and her lips were turning blue. "Now need a tube. Like…outside…of a pen."
Woody's face paled. He'd seen enough movies to know where she was going with this, and the sick feeling in his stomach quadrupled. "Jordan, I…I…"
Shaking, he pulled his favorite pen out of his pants pocket. "Here."
Using what strength she had left, she stretched her arm out to find his hand with her own. He grasped it tightly in his, bringing them both toward his lips to kiss her knuckles. But before he could, she tugged at him and weakly pressed his fingers to a point on her side under her left arm. "Cut here."
"Then…put in the tube." She forced her eyes open one more time. There was no spark in them, but she turned her gaze toward his voice even though she couldn't focus on him. "D…don't be scared. And if…something happens…not your fault. Hear me?" Woody started to shake his head, to ask if there was some other way, when her fingers still in his spasmed briefly as her muscled convulsed from lack of oxygen. "Few seconds…" she hissed. "Love you, Farm Boy. Do it."
Acting quickly and trying to ignore the bile rising in his throat, Woody took the inkwell out of the pen and unwrapped the scalpel. He ripped the clothing away to expose her skin, which was growing pale. The point she had shown him was burned into his brain, and probably would be forever. Taking the scalpel into his hand the way he had watched her do hundreds of times before, he pressed the edge to her skin without any pressure. He couldn't do it. He could hardly even watch her autopsy a dead stranger! How in the hell was he supposed to do this to the woman he loved more than anything in this world, cause her pain while she was still alive?
He looked back at her face. Her eyelids, now closed and unable to open again, were as blue as her lips. She was dying. Her lungs couldn't take in any more air, and she was dying on their living room floor. She had told him not to be scared, and he knew that held two meanings: Don't be scared of this task before him right now and don't be scared of losing her if the worst should happen. He had to take it as the first.
"Oh, God, I'm sorry," he moaned, putting more pressure behind the blade so that fresh, bright red blood welled under it. "Jordan, I'm so sorry!"
Pushing the rising vomit down – at least until he knew she was going to be okay – he made the incision deeper and deeper until he realized he had done enough. Then he pushed the pen casing through the skin, tears falling continuously down his cheeks. There was a faint hiss as air was released from where it shouldn't be and suddenly her breathing became slightly less labored. She was fully unconscious, though, and she made no movement, no sign of coming to.
All he could do now was wait for the ambulance to arrive. He had only called for it less than ten minutes before, but it felt like hours. Adrenaline, panic, and horror intermingled and he lowered his forehead to rest against hers again, crying uncontrollably as he cupped her face, uncaring of the tears dropping down to look like her own. The faint puff of her breath against his lips was the only thing keeping him from breaking down completely. "Jordan, Jordan…."
It was only a minute later that the EMTs arrived, but Jordan had been right – she would have died if he had waited. No one's fault but for the matter of circumstances. He heard the siren wailing up the street and stopping outside the house and, using what energy he could muster, he sat up and placated himself now by running his thumbs over her cheekbones instead.
"We're in here!" he called as soon as he heard them on the porch.
The front door was still wide open, and a man and woman came inside with medical supplies and a stretcher. "I, uh, I think she was stabbed," Woody said, refusing to move away when they came over and the woman – Walsh, her nametag read – leaned down to check her heart with a stethoscope.
"Did you do this?" the man, Doyle, asked when he saw the pen sticking out of her side and the bloodied scalpel tossed aside.
Woody wiped at his face with the back of his hand. "She's a doctor. She – she told me her lung was collapsing and w-what to do before she…" He couldn't say any more as the tears began anew.
Doyle looked at his partner, who gave him a brief nod. "We need to get her stabilized and transported."
"Are you family?" Walsh asked, gently pushing him away so the two EMTs could lift Jordan onto the stretcher.
Woody just nodded silently.
"Then come on, you can ride with us."
He heard her shoes clacking on the tiled hospital hallway as she ran toward him before he heard her call out his name, and Woody turned away from the window of Jordan's private room in the ICU to see Lily rushing toward him. Her eyes were red from crying, though by this point Woody felt oddly empty as he looked at her.
"Oh, Woody – oh, I'm so, so sorry!" she said sincerely in that way Lily had as she drew him into a tight embrace right there in the hall. "Everyone is trying to get away from work, and I came as soon as I could get Maddie to her sitter. Garret is on his way back from Italy, too. What did her doctor say? Is she going to be okay?"
He drew away from her and crossed his arms over his chest, feeling numb. Jordan had only been in surgery for two and a half hours, long enough to stop the internal bleeding, start a transfusion, stabilize her lungs, and find out her brain was swelling from blunt force trauma; whoever had done this had hit her in the head at some point, too. Her vitals had started to plummet then, though, and the surgeon didn't want to risk any more. They had her on a ventilator now, and they didn't know when she would regain consciousness.
That wasn't what Lily wanted to hear, and Woody shrugged. "Too soon to tell."
He had also sent a crime scene unit over to his home the second Jordan had been taken back where he couldn't follow, in the hopes they'd be able to find something useful. He'd called Santana, too, to tell her what was going on. This had to be related to something he was working on. It had to. It couldn't have been random. But he also knew there was no way he'd be allowed to investigate it himself, and he wanted a detective he trusted to be aware of the case before anyone else so she'd be able to request it. He was going to fucking kill the bastard who did this, God help him if Jordan died.
Lily drew in a sharp breath, on the brink of tears again, and Woody snapped back to the moment. "It was nice of you to come, Lily, thank you."
She nodded and gave him a shaky but kind smile. "You're welcome. Can I do anything for you? Bring you clean clothes, maybe?"
He almost accepted, but then he remembered the bloody mess she would walk into if she went to his house and he shook his head. Still…he was covered in blood – Jordan's blood – himself and, though he was trying hard not to think about it, the smell and memories were going to make him violently ill very soon. "You can give me a ride home."
"You…you're going to leave her? Here, alone?" Lily's voice wavered a bit, and she looked at him warily as though seeing him for the first time.
Woody sighed and leaned forward to brace his hands against the sill of the window, his head starting to hurt. "Just to get my car, since I rode in the ambulance. And some clothes, yeah. I'm going to come right back."
But then, before Lily had a chance to respond, he couldn't hold it back any longer. The only warning he had was a warmth at the back of his throat to tell him to turn away from her, and then he was vomiting all over the floor at his feet. All he could see was Jordan, bleeding out on the living room floor, her breath rasping out between her lips as she told him she loved him that last time.
"Help!" Lily called, kneeling beside him and tossing her purse aside so she could rub his back without interference. "We need some help here! Woody – it's okay."
Two nurses came rushing over and guided him to a bank of chairs against the opposite wall while another started to clean up. One of them gave him a plastic bucket and took his pulse. Lily followed them, concerned. "It's all right, Woody," she said softly, still rubbing his back. "Sometimes grief -"
"Jo's not dead!" he exploded at her, not able to keep the rage and panic under control. "She's right there! Right…right there."
"Grief and pain can express themselves in ways we don't expect," Lily continued, unperturbed by his outburst. "You're frightened, and honestly, I don't thinking leaving her here is going to help. I'm going to call Nigel and have him bring you your car and a change of clothes."
One of the nurses smiled and quietly interrupted, "We have some scrubs that will fit you, if you want to wear those until your own things get here."
Woody just nodded silently, feeling like he was in a nightmare he was unable to wake from.