Sanctuary of Light - 5/10
Fandom: The Killing
Pairing: Stephen Holder/Sarah Linden
Category: Angst, Romance, Humor
Series/Sequel: Oh Snap!
Summary: They find comfort in each other
Warning: Adult Fanfiction, Spoiler for season two
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I'm writing for free.
Feedback: You feel me?
Released: February 2015
Word Count: 4186
"Holder!" A chill cut through him. His eyelids fluttered, his fingertips twitched. She was coming. "Holder?" She was on her way. He tried to open his eyes but couldn't. He tried to open his mouth to mock her for the fear in her voice. Didn't you say you never worry about me? He couldn't, though he kept listening to the sound of her footsteps crashing through the undergrowth. That particular sound was the distinct one between muffled noises of dogs barking and the police radio murmuring. Surprising warmth enfolded him and he felt tears sting his eyes. Yo, man, he was damaged goods but someone came looking for him. He wasn't some forgotten piece of trash after all. He was worth something. He was found.
The warmth lingered with him until he woke up in a bed, smelling bleach. He blinked. The hospital. Shit! His ribs hurt terribly and his right ear felt like a fucking balloon. And there was his sister, not looking concerned but rather pissed. Yeah, what else was new. "Linden?" he croaked. He needed to talk to her. He had to give her the message from the Casino´s maid. "Linden. Where is she? Is she here?"
Not amused his sister glanced at the window. "You almost got killed."
Just now he noticed that his nephew Davey was here, too. He clung to the bedframe at the foot. "Hey, little man." Davey smiled shyly. He was careful with men. Well, his father hadn't been the best role model to teach him about love, had he? Not that he had been any better. No surprise that the boy was shy. He winked at Davey then turned back to his sister. "Give me my pants."
"You stay where you are, you hear me? What do you want? I'll do it." She passed his pants over to him.
Okay. Fine. His ribs hurt so much he had no strength to complain. He fished for the small matchbook the maid had given him at the Casino. "That's for Linden. It's really important."
His sister grimaced in contempt. "Sure." She walked to the door. "Don't you move, you hear me."
"Yeah, yeah. Don't twist your panties." He tried to lift his head and catch a glimpse of the hallway beyond the glass. He knew now that Linden must be out there. She came to see if he was alright. Hey. That was a nice thing to think about. Her caring for him. Yeah... something to dream about... but not yet, he wanted to wait for his sister's return to ask her about Linden... he wanted to....
...he woke up to his phone ringing. Oh, shit. He must have fallen asleep again. Davey was still sitting at the foot of the bed watching him, eating. "Yo, half-pint," he teased the boy. He groaned.
"Does it hurt?" Davey said.
"Nah, just looks worse than it is," he lied, hurting all over. "Just got to roll with the flow like my man Bruce Lee." Davey didn't get the joke. "Come here," he said softly. Davey walked to the bedside. "Gimme some." He gave the boy a high five. "Phew!" He sighed. Yeah, he was lucky he was still here, safe and sound for the moment. "Where's your moms at?"
"She's outside, smoking."
"Bad habit." Yeah, right! Don't you dare judge her. "Better not take that up, now." He tickled the boy. "You hear?" He groaned. The pain was feeding on his insides.
Davey moved away from his touch, but he smiled. "Are you gonna come over again more now?"
He froze for a second, surprised by Davey's question. Did the boy miss him? Did he really want him to come around? "Give me my jacket over there." Even after what he had done to him? "Got something for you." He searched his pockets. "Been carrying it around with me. Waiting for the right moment, I guess." He gave Davey a coin, similar to the one he had once stolen from the boy. Davey looked confused. "Looks like the one I used to have."
"Yeah. D..." He took Davey's hands, holding them. "I just want you to know...your mom's really great. She's the best. She's there for you. And I'm gonna be there for you, too, now. 24/7/365." Gently he stroked the boy's cheek. "You feel me?" He was making promises he really intended to keep this time, because he had learned how hard it was to be a good and caring parent. Davey said nothing, though. He was used to promises that were never kept. His cell started ringing again. He tried to ignore it. "Now show me some of them Bruce Lee moves I taught you, D."
Davey jumped into action.
"Oh - ho - ho," he laughed. He noticed his sister standing in the doorway, smiling. She left. Davey showed off. "Kktggg!" he hissed to make the proper sound to the boy's movement. "There you go. What more you got?" His phone rang again. He finally answered it thinking it was Linden. It was Jack.
"Hey. How are you? Mom told me what happened."
"I'm fine. Don't worry about me. What's up little man?"
"I wanted to say good-bye. I'm leaving for Chicago. Mom allowed me to live with my dad."
Oh, shit! "Where are you?"
"Already at the airport."
Okay. He got up, no matter how much it hurt. Never had she needed a friend more than now, seeing her kid taking off. "What's there to say, little man. I wish you the best. Keep in touch."
"Yeah, you too." Jack hung up.
He slipped into his pants, groaning. That hadn't been too hard. Davey stopped showing off his moves, googling at him open-mouthed. "All fine," he assured and tried to put on his shirt. It was hell. He groaned and cursed and spit with pain. His sister rushed back into the room. The smile he had seen on her face only a minute ago had vanished.
"Why are you doing this? Isn't it her fault you ended up here?"
"Yeah, maybe. But she's my partner. And she needs me." Putting on his shoes was even worse. He was dying here.
"Oh, I see. Finally someone who needs you. That's it, huh?"
"Cut it out. I'm going, no matter what you say."
"Don't I know that, Stephen. You always did what you wanted. Never listened. Never thought about something twice."
"Shut up!" He staggered to the door. Davey was looking scared now. "Hey, little man. I'm sorry. I'll see you later, okay?" Ha. He knew that was a god damn lie. He wouldn't have time as long as the murder of Rosie wasn't solved. He would never make time to keep all of his promises. He fucking knew that.
"Okay. Just leave then," his sister bitched. "Run. That´s what you're good at."
Nah. He did not run. He could barely shuffle his way to the car. His ribs hurt like hell. He was wheezing like an old timer. He was not fit for anything. Yeah. Still he went to comfort a woman who never asked him to come anyway. Yeah, I'm goin' nuts.
There she was. He stopped his crawling to catch his breath. She was standing at the window, obviously watching for Jack's plane to take off. He shuffled over to her. She turned around as if she had sensed his presence, and he gave her credit for not even wincing at the sight of him. He must look like shit. Her eyes were swimming in tears. "Hey. Little man called to say good-bye," he said softly. She nodded and turned back to the window. She didn't want him to see her crying, yet she didn't tell him to go away. He patted her shoulder. Gently. Okay. That's enough. Don't scare her. Don't push her. You know she hates that. She allowed his solace and they remained standing there for a long time. Thirty minutes maybe, but every minute felt like eternity with his ribs torturing him constantly.
Finally she was able to let go and they drove back to the city. As usual she only talked about the case. He said nothing in return. He was dead beat. He could have fallen asleep walking if not for the pain tormenting him. Still he sneaked in to their office because she wanted to know what Carlson was up to. She couldn't go herself because she got suspended. Her suspicions were right. All their stuff had been transferred to county, and they were off the case.
"Look," Carlson said, "in a way it's not your fault. You had some bad luck being paired with Linden."
"Hey, Linden ain't so bad," he replied, mulish. No matter what Linden had done he didn't want anyone to talk about her like that without her being present. It was not right. Whatever happened she deserved to be treated fair.
"You know she spent a month in a psych ward? Completely lost it working a case. I wouldn't put my career in her hands if I were you. My advice. Find yourself a new partner."
Yeah. But I am me, not you, asshole. "Like I said," he went on lying. "I'm just looking for my stuff."
Having nothing accomplished but meeting a brick wall they arrived at his dojo.
"Holder, I'm sorry. We shouldn't have split up."
Oh god. He was stunned. Her apologizing turned him all mushy. "It happened. We're good, Linden. You're still my BFF." That made her smile. Hey. He meant it. What's done was done. No hard feelings. She hadn't left him there to rot. That's what mattered. So he plucked up all of his courage. "Don't go to that lousy hotel. Crash at my place tonight."
"You need to rest, Holder."
"Don't worry about me, Linden," he joked, while a fierce spark lit up his heart. Oh, hell. Three weeks, my god. Three fucking weeks. I don't even know anymore.
He grinned. "Good." I don't know how she does it. How she makes me happy by just sitting here with me in this stupid car. I just know that I feel, and that's better than feeling numb.
Upstairs he couldn't talk her out of crashing on the sofa herself or taking care of the injury at his temple which had started bleeding again.
Unusually gently she checked out the edges and put a fresh plaster on it.
He winced. "Enough."
"Right. Off to bed with you."
"Whatever you say, boss." He smirked. Shut up!
"You can barely stand up straight, Holder."
"You'd be surprised what I could get done, if you'd give me a chance." Oh fuck. Now I'm trying to flirt again. He wasn't sure, though if he was only joking or making a serious move.
"Go and lay down before I change my mind and go back to that lousy hotel."
"Okay. I behave." He shuffled to his bedroom. Surprisingly having her close this night didn't make him feel restless but calm and at peace. He wrapped himself in the blanket. "She's not for you. She's for Sonoma," he murmured to himself. How he hated the very sound of that place. Yet he wondered once more why she didn't go there after all? And why he had fallen for her so quickly and wanted her to stay instead of leaving? He didn't want her to go back to the psych ward, that's for sure, for whatever reason she had been there. Having her seen obsessing over a case he could only guess. He didn't want her hurt. He wanted to protect her. He wanted her happy. Oh, Jesus. That's a miracle to achieve.
Somewhere during the night he thought he heard her crying but didn't dare to get up and check on her. She wouldn't like to be embarrassed by being caught acting so weak, even if she had already cried twice in front of him. No. She wouldn't like that. He already knew her too well. He had to let her go through this alone. He knew how much she loved her son. He knew she must be feeling devastated right now.
In the morning a phone rang. It was hers. He tried not to listen in but he heard very well what she said.
"I'm okay. No. I'm crashing at my partner's place. No. Nothing is going on with him. He's not... just... I'm not crazy to get it on with someone like him. Too much baggage, okay. I'll talk to you later. Bye."
He sighed and got up. He was hungry. He was frustrated. Well, she didn't look any better than he felt when she strolled into the kitchen. Both of them would need much more time to fully recover. If they ever could.
"Yeah." She sipped at her coffee. "We have to review the evidence."
"Sure, boss." He yawned. "Just give me ten minutes. Deal?"
She nodded with the door in mind.
The night's good sleep went down the drain due to the news the Larsen case files were gone. All the evidence they had gathered had simply disappeared. He was concerned she would flip and do something wrong, yet he didn't do much better by visiting Gil's flat, tossing the place. He didn't find the files; it was fun, though seeing his former sponsor squirm in fear. Then they drove to all the places Gil visited on a regular basis, and finally he remembered a storage locker Gil used for all his stuff after his old lady had thrown him out.
During searching the place Linden talked to Jack on the phone. The boy got his own room and an iPod. He could imagine what she was thinking. "You know, it's gonna take more than an iPod to win him over." She denied him an answer and talked about the key.
He didn't let her off the hook that easily. "You're okay, Linden?"
"'Cause you know... you can talk to me. About whatever. If you want. Look, I'm... I'm here." He shifted awkwardly. Jesus. He was so bad at this. Why did he even bother?
"I know you are." She smiled. "So, can we find the key now?"
Maybe he wasn't that bad. He lowered his head, hiding his joy. "Yeah, whatever you say, boss."
His joy doubled when she found the key. Yeah, now she had her reason to go back to the casino, meeting their informant.
Unfortunately the maid didn't come to their meeting point. She probably got scared. So, they were screwed. They'd got nothing to continue. Linden got out of the car. "Stay in the car."
"Linden!" He ran after her. "Linden, what are you doing?"
"I'm going in."
Sure. Not that he was surprised. He held her back by her sleeve. "That's a bad idea. Let me go instead." Hey! That he was ready to walk in there again that was fucking surprising. For her. For fuck's sake. Beaten up once was obviously not enough to put him back on the right track.
"You just got out of the hospital."
"They're gonna be right on you. You won't stand a chance."
"Okay," he gave up arguing. "I'll distract them. We do this together."
"Fine. Whatever. Just be careful."
"What was that?"
"You heard me."
That put a smile on his lips, a smile he had never worn for her, the smile of a much younger man, who wasn't fucked up by drugs, a smile without any bitterness or sarcasm. "No worries, Linden. I'm like a cat. Always landing on my feet."
She snorted. "I'm not a cat person."
"You ever tried?"
She gave him the most incredulous look and went in.
Hey! Didn't you learn your lesson? She's not into you. Yeah. That's why he went back into the casino distracting the guards by making a fuss to give her a chance to sneak by them. He confronted the thugs who had beaten him up with freshly crushed ribs. He stood beside her after everybody else had abandoned her. No. He wouldn't abandon her. He wouldn't let her down. Mad. Mad. Mad. He repeated the word like a mantra in his head to cover up his fear. He swallowed his fear until he was sure she got in. Then he walked away hastily. He didn't run, no, but he made a fast escape. "Sayonara, Hiawatha." Oh, man. He was sweating. He was gasping. He was tumbling back to the car. How could he be so stupid to fall for such a bossy woman, huh? A tigress. A warrior. Yeah. He had learned to respect her. He even liked her. The woman who never gave up. The woman who made him do the stupidest crazy-ass things.
In the car he was still shaking, calling her on the phone, again and again. Finally she got back to him, keeping him informed of what she was imagining happened to Rosie. He listened for a while, feeling strangely connected, but enough was enough. "Linden, you gotta get out of there. It's been almost five minutes." She didn't listen, goddamn it. He saw the lights flickering behind the window. "Damn it, Linden, turn off your flashlight!"
The connection was broken. He dialed her number again. She didn't pick up. His shaking turned worse. His ribs made his lungs burn. What now? What could he do? What was the best way to help her?
Not much later he heard sirens wailing. The police arrived. An ambulance, too. Shit! He went frantic with fear. What did they do to her? What had happened? What went wrong? He bothered the police and everybody available with a hundred questions. Finally he saw them bringing her out. She was strapped to a stretcher. She was unconscious. They didn't let him through to her even though he flashed his badge and explained his presence over and over again. He gave up and followed the ambulance to the hospital. There he received the next bad news. They didn't put Linden in a hospital room but in the restricted area for the mentally ill. Okay. He freaked. He shouted at the nurses. He shouted at everyone. He even struggled with a security guard. He barely held himself back from attacking Lt. Carlson, who was of course not of any help. He behaved like a loony. Finally he walked away, fuming. He would find a way to get her out. He would find a psychiatrist to sign her release. He would do anything in his power to get her out of this place. She didn't belong here.
First he sought out Regi, her social worker, to get help. She denied him the phone number of Linden's psychiatrist. She even implied that Linden was wrong and it was right to put her into the hospital. Fuck! He left, even more frustrated and angry. Why were they all against her? What had she done to deserve this? Whatever it was. He didn't care. He wouldn't let her down. He wouldn't betray her. Somehow he would find that psychiatrist and make him sign the release papers.
In the afternoon he was allowed to visit her. He was shocked by the way she looked. Pale. Exhausted. Drained. "Hey. How you holding up, Linden?" He pulled up a chair sitting close to her.
"We don't have a lot of time. What do you got?"
Knowing what made her tick he told her everything he found out during the day. "We're close, Linden," he finished, and realized she wasn't paying attention anymore. "Hey. Hey, look at me."
She did, but her eyes were dull and her movements were spiritless.
"What'd they do to you?" He was angry. He wanted to punch someone. He wanted her out of here.
She leaned closer. "Please, don't leave me here."
He startled. "I'm gonna get you out of here." He didn't expect her to be so helpless. As if she was broken.
The nurse came and touched his shoulder. "Sir, it's time."
"Just hang tight for a couple of hours. I'm not leaving you in here. You hear? I'm not leaving you here." He patted her arm reassuringly and walked away. Rather he wanted to grab her and run. Stupid idea. His throat was so tight he could barely breathe. He needed to find that fucking psychiatrist. He needed her out of here.
In the next couple of hours he got lucky. He found a new and promising lead. He waited in Carlson's car telling him everything. And guess what? A miracle happened. The Lieutenant was listening and even believed him. When he knew he got the man hooked he asked him for the psychiatrist's name and number. The Lieutenant granted his request.
Rick Felder. Yeah. First he thought it was a coincidence, but no, he remembered the name perfectly. Rick. Fiancé. Shrink. Mr. Sonoma. That's why the man got so close to her she even considered marrying him. He always wondered how any man could manage to get close to her anyway. The second Rick Felder came in he could feel he was being judged. The man was not looking impressed by his appearance, and Stephen was not surprised. Still. I'm here for her, not hiding in stupid Sonoma. What the fuck, man?
"She know I'm here?"
He shook his head. "No."
"I'll help get her out, but I can't be involved anymore. She's your responsibility now."
Whoa! That's it? Really? He was stunned. You just leave her alone? And what do you mean, huh? My responsibility? I'm not her boyfriend. There's nothing going on between us. You got it all wrong, Mister. Still he felt kind of satisfied that the guy considered him to be a potential rival.
Felder signed the papers and was gone before she walked through the door. She looked around, kind of disappointed. Had she seen Felder? Did she know he abandoned her like a piece of shit? He walked towards her. She noticed him. She put up a brave face. He hurt seeing her like this. He wanted to hug her. He wanted to make her feel better. He wanted to be that man. Yeah. He wasn't.
In the car she fell instantly asleep. He didn't dare to wake her up. She looked lost. Waiting to be found. But he did, didn't he?
He thought she was still sleeping when he put her on his bed. No. Her eyelids fluttered open. "Don't leave me."
"Chill, Linden. I'm just going to the bathroom." She nodded her agreement. He hurried back as if he thought she would run away. He found her under the blanket, panting like a sick dog. Her jacket, pants and sweater laid on the chair in the corner. "Yo, Linden, everything's fine. I'm right in the next room..."
"No, stay with me."
He frowned. "You sure?"
"I don't want to be alone." She turned her face away. "Please."
"Whatever you say, boss," he murmured fondly. In slacks and a shirt he crawled in next to her. There was no contact but they were close. He could hear her rapid breathing.
"Thanks for getting me out."
"Ain't no thing, Linden. Feeling okay now?"
"Yes." She pulled the blanket tighter around her.
"Get some rest then. You're safe here."
"Did they hurt you in there?"
"I should have gotten you out sooner." He sighed. Yeah. He shouldn't have let her go into that Casino in the first place.
"You did, okay? You did get me out. That's what counts." She patted his arm awkwardly.
For a few seconds he stopped breathing. Jesus! What now? Sure, he touched her off and on, but she never touched him. "Try to get some sleep."
"Yeah." She turned on her side, showing her back to him.
Okay. That was better. Keeping the distance. I need that right now. I need you to keep me from doing something stupid. I need you to show me that I'm only here with you because there is no one else. He sighed and turned to the other side. "Night, Sarah."
In the middle of the night he woke up, finding her head resting on his chest, and her hand on his hip. He startled. Shit! Why are you doing this to me, Jesus? What do you want, huh? Are you testing me? She looked so vulnerable right now he wanted to kiss her all over. He wanted to pull her into his arms and make love to her. He rolled his eyes. That he thought about love making rather than fucking was proof enough how much he was into her. Hey. No. He wouldn't do that. Okay. He could be her friend, not making her snuggling into something more than the need for comfort. He could be that man. Yeah. He slid his arm around her waist and closed his eyes again, feeling a strange kind of satisfaction. She trusted him. That was enough. She maybe even liked him. That was more than enough. So, don't fuck that up. You hear me? Just don't!
She shifted. "Thanks, Stephen."