Rachel rifled through her room, pushing aside clothes, piles of magazines, her bedside lamp with the dead lightbulb she hadn’t been bothered to fix, but she couldn’t find her phone anywhere.

She crawled under the covers of her bed, groping down the far corners of the sheets in case it had slipped down, but it wasn’t there either. Where had she put it?

She couldn’t remember where she’d last seen it. Maybe she’d left it at Zoe’s place at dinner the other night? Maybe in Cai’s car? But they would have found it and bought it back, surely. Did she have it yesterday? What did she do yesterday? Napped a lot and watched most of a season of America’s Next Top Model and ate peanut butter sandwiches while the rain hammered down on the windows, too wet and dark to go outside. Or was that the day before? Or both?

All the days lately were one miserable blob, punctuated by distracting moments with her friends, wonderful moments with Danny, and moments of panic like now when she couldn’t find her phone. Bad moments – when suddenly every failure was amplified and she was overwhelmed by the knowledge that she was shit, she was useless, she couldn’t even keep track of a phone and Danny gave her that phone and she couldn’t admit to anyone she’d lost it because only idiots couldn’t keep track of their phones and they’d all think she was stupid.

And one of them would probably buy her a new phone but the thought filled her with self-loathing because they shouldn’t have to, and surely they knew it. They’d run out of charity soon enough, and patience.

She cried till her face ached then lay silent and still on her bed staring out the window at the next tower block over. Her head hurt, a banging headache like she used to have in the old days. In her early teens, she used to get migraines all the time. The pain so bad it would wipe out days at once.

The first time it happened she thought she was dying. It was around the time she turned twelve, in the children’s mental ward in Plymouth. Her head hurt like a cold fire when she first woke up, and continued, fading in an out of severity for ages, months and months till eventually she only got a couple a year. And then, barely at all since she and her dad had moved back to London. She’d hoped she’d grown out of them – this physical hangover from near-drowning. Something wrong with her, deep inside her brain.

But a lot of her health had improved when she moved in with her freaky step-family. Wheat toast and fruit and burgers made of nuts and a house that was heated all year round and no mould anywhere. Her body had been great – she’d started the year being totally unable to beat Zoe in a race but before Danny was taken she could match her, even beat her occasionally. She wouldn’t be able to do that now. She hadn’t been for a run for weeks.

But it wasn’t a migraine – just a headache from crying too hard. The world didn’t fade out, though she kind of wished it would.

Rachel’s hand went to her throat, where the heart necklace that Danny and bought her lay against Cai’s silver cross.

She was supposed to go and see Danny today. Nap with him in his room. Be a sleepy rebel against the doctors who might forbid it.

Surround herself with the sights and sounds and smells of a mental institution, surround herself with doctors and nurses who were trained to spot the craziness in kids. Risk one of them looking at her and knowing how much of a shitty mess she was.

But Danny.

Danny would wrap her up in his arms and Danny would not run out of patience. Danny would just love her, and she couldn’t leave him alone in the hospital wondering where she was. He needed her.

She would not be entirely good for nothing if she was good for Danny.

Rachel heaved herself out of bed. It was horrible and she hated every moment but she kept her hand clutched around the heart and the cross, kept holding on every moment when she wasn’t washing her face or finding clean clothes. She and Zoe had done heaps of laundry last weekend but already clean and dirty were mixing together on her floor – mostly clean, though, since she wore her pyjamas every chance she got. Day clothes, not so much.

Just get to Danny, she thought. Be a miserable little shit but when he sees you he’ll smile and that’ll make up for how much you hate putting on shoes right now.

She even managed to brush her hair, put on some makeup. It all felt fake and horrible but she managed.

Rachel stared at herself in the mirror for a long time. She glowed at herself – she needed to dye her roots again and her skin looked like shit. She couldn’t make herself feel pretty, even though she’d nailed her eyeliner. “Fuck it,” she whispered to herself, adjusted the straps on her bag and left the bathroom.

There on the kitchen counter, charging merrily near the wall socket, was her phone.

Rachel froze momentarily before stomping over to it, yanking it out of the charger and stuffing it into her bag. Anxiety spiked in her stomach. She didn’t want to look at it, didn’t want to think about it. She banged the door of the apartment shut and went for the stairs instead of the lift – she didn’t want to feel trapped in there and she needed to keep moving. If she was belting down the stairs she could almost ignore the panicky shakes that were starting to jolt through her.

She didn’t remember plugging in her phone to charge.

It meant one of two things. Maybe the first option; which was her dad had found her phone somewhere and plugged it in for her, was more likely. Maybe. But it was more like him to try and teach her a lesson by letting it go flat as a way of reminding her to be responsible for her own things.

The second option was the scary one: that she’d plugged it in herself and forgot about it. But she couldn't remember, even when she tried picturing herself doing it. Which meant that she’d lost the memory somehow, so casually, and with frightening ease.

Which meant that things inside her head were getting worse again.

Date: 2014-10-04 10:58 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Kiss Rachel)
Danny had been recumbent on his bed, ignoring Gabe constantly poking his head in the room to remind Danny about lunch. It was too much effort to go down to the dining hall and then chew things. Everything seemed too hard at the moment, and part of that was probably because he knew he was going to have to see Greg soon.

When he was told he had a visitor, however, Danny struggled to his feet. His ribs were still sore sometimes, and his chest ached occasionally and he had learned not to move too quickly. He was adapting.

"Your girlfriend here?" Gabe asked from the hallway where he had been leaning just near Danny's door. Danny was already used to the slightly overprotective way Gabe acted around him, but he was used to his mother, and so Gabe's actions seemed relatively normal.

"Yeah," Danny said, smiling despite himself. "You should meet her. I don't know if she'll want lunch though. I'll ask."

"Danny-" Gabe said, clearly about to lecture him.

"It's one meal, Dad," Danny shot back, waving his hands around. "Tell you what, I'll eat your dessert to make up for it," and he flashed Gabe an impish grin before walking off.

"Like hell, Marlow!" Gabe called after him.

Danny had a room on the ground floor in consideration of his health. It only took a few seconds to round the corner and find Rachel in the entry way. "Hey," he said gently, moving to hug her. "I'm so glad you're here."

Date: 2014-10-04 11:30 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Worried very wow)
Worry spiked in his belly and he forgot all about proudly introducing Rachel to Gabe. "What happened?" he whispered into her ear. He was clinging to her as well, rather reluctant to let her go if something horrible had happened.

Date: 2014-10-04 11:41 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Look aside)
God he was worried about her. When she wasn't actually physically with him, most of the time it felt like she was slowly slipping away. But then he would see her and everything felt okay for a little while, which was why he hadn't actually said anything. He could convince himself everything was fine when she smiled at him.

"Rach," he said sadly, "I wish I knew how to help you." He raised his hands so he could cup her face gently, "but I'm here now. You want lunch? Have you eaten today?" Perhaps it wasn't a fair question, since he certainly hadn't, but it was easier to look out for her than for himself.

Date: 2014-10-04 12:00 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Watching over)
"Okay," he said, leaning in to capture her lips in a kiss. "Let's go try to eat something and then maybe a nap?" God he wished he could hide her in his closet and just keep her with him all the time. That was normal, right?

He wrapped his arm around her and led her into the dining hall where they could choose from the food offered from the buffet. It wasn't great, but Danny was surprised to find the food here didn't suck completely too.

"Hey, they have chicken salad sandwiches," Danny said, trying to sound more pleased than he really was. "Since I probably can't get away with just eating chips."

Date: 2014-10-04 12:15 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Concern)
"He did!" Danny said, grabbing two sandwiches and chips and two juices as well, before placing them on a tray and carrying them over to a table. "And Zoe sent me some snapchats and they looked evil." He handed her half of the food and started by shoving a chip in his mouth. "I'm really glad you're here, Rachel. Thank you. I know it's not easy."

Date: 2014-10-04 12:30 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Quiet look down)
"I hate being away from you," he said, forcing more chips down before finally taking a bite of the sandwich. "You're brave for coming here. DO you want to meet Gabe, or would you rather just finish lunch and hide in my room?"

Date: 2014-10-04 12:39 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Rub Neck)
Danny chewed on his lip for a moment before realising he should put that chewing energy towards masticating some food. After devouring half his sandwich from pure willpower alone, he reached a decision. "Actually I kind of want to talk to you about something I think I need to do." And then, just so she didn't panic, he added, "it's not about you, I promise."

Date: 2014-10-04 12:48 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Not cool)
"It's not bad," he reassured her. "And we can talk here, but if you do decide there's things you want to say in private we can head up to my room."

And all of a sudden, eating didn't seem like the most difficult thing he had to do any more. Now he had to think about going to visit Greg. "Uhm...I know it might sound mad, but I want to go see Greg in the place he's being held. I need to see for myself he's locked up."

Date: 2014-10-04 12:59 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Wary)
He had expected that, and he leaned forward, forgetting completely about his lunch. He had been thinking about it for a while, and his thoughts on the matter were actually pretty easy to vocalise.

"I spent the last ten years just waiting for him to come out of the shadows. I've had night terrors of him finding me and I've been medicated and terrified and fucked up and a lot of that was just because I had no idea where he was. I can't- It's just going to be more of the same until I see him there. Otherwise he could be anywhere. If, every time I start to panic, I can visualise where he is and the fact that he's stuck there, I- I think I'll be able to get through it so much easier."

Date: 2014-10-04 01:20 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Profile)
The grip on his hand was reassuring, and he tried to repay her in kind by caressing her hand with his thumb.

"I don't think pictures will help," he said honestly. "I think it's something I need to see to believe. In person. There are some things I want to say too, if I manage to get them out. I guess...maybe part of me kind of wants to show him what he can't have too? Which is a little selfish, but meh."

Date: 2014-10-05 03:51 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Chinhands smile)
A few weeks ago a statement like that might have sent him careening over the cliff-edge of a panic attack, but now he just grinned widely and leaned down to kiss her hand. "Damn right," he said firmly. "I asked if people would come with me, but you don't have to if you don't want to. Zoe and Cai said they would. I think Zoe's gonna yell."

Date: 2014-10-05 10:46 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
"As long as you're sure," Danny said, giving her hand a gentle squeeze. "I'm going to be a mess and he's going to say some fucked up things because that's what he does. I fucking hate him so much, Rach." Danny leaned forward so he could rest his head on the table for a moment because holding it up seemed like a lot of effort all of a sudden. "He'll say things to you especially, if he works out you're my girlfriend. Just...so you're prepared. I didn't tell him about you. I didn't want him to- It seemed important not to."

GODDAMNNIT, MATT SMITH.

Date: 2014-10-05 11:25 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
Danny lifted his head, the frown on his face creasing his forehead. "It's something I need," he explained, though he sounded more like he was reasoning it out to himself. "So it's worth knowing he'll probably say fucked up shit, because in the end I'll get to leave and he'll have to stay there. He'll probably bring up the stuff he did to me to get a rise out of everyone, but I'm leaving with the knowledge that's the last time it will ever happen. I don't want him to mess with you.

"Rachel, if he was standing in front of us right now and he told me it was you or me, I'd throw myself in between you and choose me every time just to keep him away from you. That's why- I- This is up to you and if you don't want to come, that's okay. I love you. This isn't going to change that. You could even wait in the hall if you wanted to."

Date: 2014-10-05 11:25 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] thomas_kemp
thomas_kemp: (Questioning up)
Danny lifted his head, the frown on his face creasing his forehead. "It's something I need," he explained, though he sounded more like he was reasoning it out to himself. "So it's worth knowing he'll probably say fucked up shit, because in the end I'll get to leave and he'll have to stay there. He'll probably bring up the stuff he did to me to get a rise out of everyone, but I'm leaving with the knowledge that's the last time it will ever happen. I don't want him to mess with you.

"Rachel, if he was standing in front of us right now and he told me it was you or me, I'd throw myself in between you and choose me every time just to keep him away from you. That's why- I- This is up to you and if you don't want to come, that's okay. I love you. This isn't going to change that. You could even wait in the hall if you wanted to."

...fail. FAIL.

Date: 2014-10-05 11:26 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
Danny lifted his head, the frown on his face creasing his forehead. "It's something I need," he explained, though he sounded more like he was reasoning it out to himself. "So it's worth knowing he'll probably say fucked up shit, because in the end I'll get to leave and he'll have to stay there. He'll probably bring up the stuff he did to me to get a rise out of everyone, but I'm leaving with the knowledge that's the last time it will ever happen. I don't want him to mess with you.

"Rachel, if he was standing in front of us right now and he told me it was you or me, I'd throw myself in between you and choose me every time just to keep him away from you. That's why- I- This is up to you and if you don't want to come, that's okay. I love you. This isn't going to change that. You could even wait in the hall if you wanted to."

Date: 2014-10-05 11:45 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
Oh god, he'd said something wrong. "I- I don't think- I don't think that, Rach. That you're sad or- I would never send you into the hall, I just want you to know it's okay if-" In the end, it probably didn't matter, since she seemed determined to be there.

"Thank you," he said honestly, "thank you for coming with me and for protecting me. You do, you know? Coming here to be with me today even though it's not easy is protecting me."

Date: 2014-10-05 12:01 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Hospital Beds)
When she pushed back out of her chair, he thought for a moment that she was going to leave. For a split second his heart had relocated to his stomach and he forgot how to breathe.

The realisation that she could leave him at any time and that pain would be real and ongoing, was terrifying and as she pressed her face into his arm, he tried to push those thoughts away and relax. She hadn't run. She was still with him, beside him. He bent down to press a kiss to her hair.

"It's okay," he said softly, because he had never been upset with her. "It's always okay. I think maybe a week, maybe more? Have to wait until they'll let me out. But I want to get it over with."

Date: 2014-10-05 12:11 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (With Rachel~Looking)
Danny could tell it was making her uncomfortable, and honestly it would have been a little worrying if it hadn't. Still, he wanted to reassure her and there was just nothing he could really say.

"We can go out for something nice afterwards," he suggested. "Maybe even just you and me? Go on an actual date?" The idea seemed slightly ridiculous, considering the shit they had been dealing with for months and months, but they really hadn't ever had the chance to do something like that.

Date: 2014-10-05 12:17 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Smile Light)
"I actually am," he said, finally grinning as her hands settled in his. "I don't think there's anything that'll wash away a confrontation with Greg as well as spending time with you. It'll just make all that shit fade away. It always does."

Date: 2014-10-05 12:24 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (With Rachel~Faces)
"I love you too," he said, and he rather wished he could just pull her into his lap and kiss her hard, but they were still in the dining room of his treatment facility and it seemed a little awkward. "Want to go up to my room?" Then he laughed and leaned his forehead against hers, a smile still fixed on his face, "in a way that hopefully doesn't come off as sleazy!"

Date: 2014-10-06 03:32 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Glasses sweet)
"That's for the best," he said quietly. When he rose, he kept one hand in Rachel's so he could help her up. Together they walked slowly back out of the dining hall and into the corridor. "There's the little gym down that way, and the common room's there," he said, leading her past them all. Around the corner and seven doors down was his room and they reached it without being stopped.

He opened the door for her and let her in to the room he was currently occupying. It looked more like a hotel room than a hospital room, and Danny had already decorated it with drawings of his loved ones and a little collage of Wolf. He kept it tidy, and on the nightstand were a few of the LED candles from Rachel's birthday, there to remind him how nice it had been. "Here we are. I tried to make it just a little bit mine."

Date: 2014-10-06 04:55 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
Danny glanced sideways at her, glad they were still holding hands. "You okay? If you'd rather go outside we can." He really wanted to take a nap, but he was fairly sure he'd walk through glass if she asked him to. Going outside to lounge on the grass was hardly a big ask.

Date: 2014-10-06 05:03 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
Danny let out a breath and then he moved over to her so he could run his fingers through her hair. "You're so brave," he said softly. "The very bravest." He leaned down to kiss her hair, breathing in the scent of her for a moment. Rounding the bed, he climbed on up before offering her a smile. "Hey, baby, wanna nap?" he asked, winking theatrically.

Date: 2014-10-06 05:31 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
"They won't," he said, sounding much more sure than he was. If they tried though, Danny would get Abby to argue that Rachel was important to his healing or something. Manipulative, sure, but also true. "Anyway, we're not doing anything wrong." He slipped under the covers and held then up for her so she could too. "I just- I want to hold you. Is that okay?"

Date: 2014-10-06 09:33 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Default)
The moment she was under the covers, Danny pressed his body against hers, his arms wrapped around her. He was already dead tired and with Rachel beside him, he was more comfortable than he had been in weeks. "Mmm, love you," he murmured into her hair, once he was snuggled down into the pillow. "God, I always want to fall asleep like this."

Date: 2014-10-06 10:40 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] daniel_marlow
daniel_marlow: (Scared)
Danny managed to drift off, completely unaware of his girlfriend's inner turmoil. He slept, snoring quietly, and it was the best and most restful nap he had had in a long time.

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Darker London

October 2014

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