2007-10-27: The Last Piece


Niki_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif

Summary: In the aftermath of being hospitalized due to disastrously conflicting medications, Niki is forced to face reality — a reality that might change her and D.L.'s relationship irreparably.

Date It Happened: October 27th, 2007

The Last Piece

New York Hospital Queens

There doesn't seem to be a time of day here in the hospital. It's been a few hours since Cam called the ambulance that ultimately brought Niki somewhere she didn't want to go — but somewhere she, in all likelihood, needs to be. She was rushed in and quickly stabilized. Pale and drawn with dark circles under her eyes, she's been lying in a hospital bed for awhile now, an IV driven into her arm and the sheets drawn up around her. She looks fragile, broken; but a hospital bed has that effect. So does being rushed to a hospital with too many conflicting drugs in one's system. Niki doesn't look awake in the slightest, but the doctors give the OK for family to come in. No one questions Cam.

Cam hangs back just a little. He's probably the one who woke up Micah, when he scrambled to get dressed before the ambulance got there. He's been quiet since then, and now hesitates near the door as they enter her room.

Being woken up from sleep to finding out that an ambulance is coming for your mother. Is it really real, or just a poorly directed dream? It certainly doesn't feel like a dream when they're at the hospital. Having almost no time to get dressed, he looks rough. Curls sticking out in every direction. Eyes still hinting just a tad of sleepiness. But that fades as they are cleared to enter the room. And wasting no time, Micah's through the door and heading for the bed. "Mom?!"

"Careful, Micah." D.L. states, though he's entering almost as fast as his son. Unfortunately, though, he's not going to just let Cam hang back. If it wasn't for Cam, there might not even be a Niki in the hospital bed right now. In fact, he's even planting a hand on Cam's back to push him further into the room, as he's staring intently at the body on the bed. This could've all been avoided if he had been paying more attention to his family. This is definitely going to have to be something that changes in the near future. Like… in five minutes near.

Niki's head is turned away from the door, the light, the world; her cheek presses into the crisp fabric of the pillow. When Micah comes in, however, with his shout of "Mom?!", she gives signs of life — but every movement seems weighed down, as if by lead. Even so, she rolls her head toward them, and her eyes open — they're dull, without sparkle. "Micah?" It's just a hoarse whisper, but what do you expect. "I… shouldn't… I can't stay here…"

Cam stumbles a little at first as D.L. pushes him forward, but after a step moves forward on his own, stepping up to the bed to stand beside Micah. "You gotta," he finally says as he speaks up.

Micah glances to Cam and offers his friend a smile before turning back to the bed. "Cam's right, mom. You have to stay." There's almost a firmness to his voice, as if he is trying to be the man of the house and make sure his mom gets the help she needs. "She is going to get help, right Dad?" Questioning eyes look up at D.L. as he reaches out a hand towards his mom's

"Your mom's going to be fine, Micah." D.L.'s words are as true as they can be, for someone that could probably talk to the machines in this room and get a more honest answer. But as the supportive parental role, D.L. has to provide those words of encouragement. "The doctors are gonna' take care of her and she'll be home before you even know it." He comes up behind the two kids and tries to offer a little smile.

"Oh God…" Niki breathes out. That doesn't sound promising. It's not pain that brings on her words, but rather, panic-stricken realizations. They sound the same. She closes her eyes, taking a deep breath; when she opens them, there's a hint of warmth in her gaze, fighting to the surface, focused on the family-plus-one beside her. She zones in on Micah. "Hey, baby, come here." She drags a forearm through the guardrail on the bed, the IV trailing with it, to reach out for him. "I'm sorry you had to see this. Both of you," she looks to Cam as well, "But— I'll be okay," she echoes D.L.'s reassurances, the corners of her mouth trying to smile.

Cam smiles just a bit at the double reassurance, looking up to D.L. and back to Niki. Then he's serious again, and asks, "This was an accident, right?" Not the most tactful thing to ask, but given what he's seen in his time at the shelter, he has to ask.

Yeah, but Micah's more concerned with his mom right now than talking to the machines. A faint smile tugs at the corners of his lips as his hand closes around his mom's. "I think I've seen worse, mom." Micah laughs, trying his best to brighten the moment. A hint of concern flutters across his face at Cam's question. Does he know something Micah doesn't?

Neither of the things Cam and Micah say make Niki look anything but heartbroken. That Cam knows to ask whether or not it was an accident, that Micah's seen worse — from her, from D.L. getting shot, from the world and its horrors, like the night in Central Park. She smiles at the boys - sad, and in a way wistful. Moistening her lips, she tries for a bigger and brighter smile. "Yeah. Yeah, it was an accident. I just— took the wrong medications together by mistake." She squeezes Micah's hand. "I have to talk to your dad alone for a few minutes."

Cam looks relieved at that answer, nodding a little bit and smiling. Suddenly a lot more himself than since this whole thing began. But at her last comment to Micah, he nods and says, "We can go get some pop or something."

Micah nods his head as well, though it could easily be read by the look on his face he's not buying the 'wrong medication' excuse. Yeah, lots of pills…but he's never known his mom to confuse them before. Unless he missed something somewhere. Gently he squeezes his mom's hand in return and offering the best reassuring smile he can. "I think I saw a vending machine at the corner of the hallway." Oh, and the best part, they don't need any money! "We'll be back in a few minutes." A few steps back from the bed, he starts to move towards the door and the hallway.

D.L. just watches as the children head out to probably get into some mischief. He ends up pushing the door up behind them, not quite closing it but enough to keep them from from sneaking back in without one of the adults noticing. Not that Niki's in any position to notice anything. D.L.'s by her bed as soon as he possibly can. But then there's something amiss, as he's not really looking at her. He's looking at the machines, trying to figure out how this conversation is going to go.

Now that there's no one under the age of thirteen in the hospital room, Niki's smile disappears. She sinks further into the pillow, as if smiling, and talking, and saying everything is going to be okay drained her last stores of energy. D.L. may not be looking at her, but she's looking at him - genuinely, painfully apologetic. Add in a dash of fear, and… her eyes are watering. "I know I screwed up," she whispers brokenly. "I was trying, D.L. Really, really trying to make things right."

"You don't trust me." D.L. says this ever so quickly. He continues looking at the machine. Mostly, well, because he's not even sure he can look at her. Not because of her own mistakes, but his own. Maybe they're both making too many mistakes. "Or. At least, you don't think I can help." He shrugs his shoulders and peers at the monitors. "Maybe I can't. I don't know what I can do that your pills can't."

"I don't trust myself." And that's the first step, right? That's what they say? Niki stares up at the turned face of D.L., imploring — for him to even look. "I should've… at least told you about the meds." It's her turn to look away. Instead of monitors, it's the windowless wall. "I didn't know what you'd think of me."

"I'd think you were makin' a mistake." D.L. doesn't feel the need to just come about and say all that he was right. Since, well, she's in the hospital right now and that's enough to basically explain what he's thinking. He just gives a wave of the hand at the bed that she's laying in. "But I would've supported you, if you felt you needed to. I just…" And this may be a little selfish or something. "I'm not sure you still love me."

That brings Niki's gaze around fast. She's struck speechless, staring with an expressive cocktail of emotions. Incredulity, alarm. Hurt, that he'd even say something like that. "All… of this— " She sweeps the hospital room —- the monitors, the IV - with her eyes. "I know it didn't exactly work out, but everything I've done, I've done for us. So we can be a family. You and me and Micah."

"I don't mean that in a bad way, Niki. It's just… you're so fixated on on trying to get better, that you're missing everything else." D.L. sighs and pulls his gaze down towards his wife. He sighs a little bit more, not really sure that there's anything else to say. But at least he's looking at her now. Right? "I love you, Nicole. More than I can deal with. And Micah loves you. I love Micah. But…" This is not a good idea but he's saying this. "… I'm not sure how much longer I can watch you do this to yourself."

The view from the outside is kind of brutal, because it's the truth. It cuts. Niki's mouth moves to form some kind of reply, but she only turns her gaze toward the ceiling. She shuts her eyes with a flinch, every feature tense despite her pose of rest. Tears trail down both sided of her too pale face, veering toward the pillow. "I just… I want to lose myself."

"It's not just your life, Niki. It's my life. It's Micah's life. It's Cam's life." Yes, D.L. went there. "Jesus, it's even the dog's life." Whatever that damn dog's name is. He just sighs and steps away from the bed, he moves backwards to look off to the side. "I want to be here for you, Niki. I have to be here for you. I need you to be able to count on me. I need you… to need me." And this part may hurt a little bit more. "For more than just picking up the pieces."

Niki blinks her eyes open, on the verge of more tears. No, never mind that, they're already falling. She pushes her hands determinedly into the bed. She'll sit up all the way, damn her weak arms, she'll climb out of bed if she has to. She reaches out, scared he'll leave. He's too far away. "Baby," she says warily, unnerved, voice shaky. "I love you."

"Niki." And this is probably the hardest that he's ever said anything right about now. Especially because of the fact that she's lying in the hospital bed right now. Post-Too Much Medication. He actually comes back over to the bed, but stays out of arm's reach. "I love you." And then he's moving to head away from the bed and towards the door. "I just don't know how much longer that's going to be enough…" Time to go scoop up Micah and Cam.

This is one of those times a glimpse of Jessica would appear and warn Niki. Tell her that D.L.'s going to leave and take Micah away. And she might have been right. Again. Isn't this what Niki's other self had been trying to prevent?

If you take control, she won't have to. Advice echoes in her head — from Nathan, of all people. It seems both too true and out of place here in the hospital room that's about to be empty save for Niki. "D.L…" She doesn't know what to say to make it better, except, "Please…"

D.L. sighs as he gets to the door. In fact, there's a moment of him leaning his head against it and just trying to calm himself down. "We'll be back through tomorrow. I'll see how fast they can get you discharged." And now for the kicker. "Micah's going to need you." Yeah. D.L.'s probably leaving.

A flare of anger that surprises even her overcomes all the drugs in her system - and all the drugs combating the drugs in her system. Niki hears that subtext, that tone of voice. "Micah also needs his father." Not that he hasn't been without D.L. before. "He needs something stable."

One final turn from the Daniel of Lawerence and he almost glares at Niki. It's a glare that doesn't mean he hates her. It's a glare that doesn't mean anything except that he's enjoyed every waking moment (except the deaths and what not) with her. A glare that could be construed as something akin to I'm The Man, You Listen Woman. "Then… get stable."

Not waiting for another word, D.L. disappears out into the hall. Gone. Forever?

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