|Chicago Hope fic, Aaron/Jeffrey, PG-13, Once More with Feeling
||[Nov. 25th, 2011|11:45 pm]
Title: Once more with Feeling
Fandom: Chicago Hope
Rating: PG-13, for mild scenes of a sexual nature, and for the fact it reflects on infant mortality.
Summary: Aaron has to bear the brunt of Jeffrey’s emotion. The good and the bad. Aaron’s used to it. Doesn’t bother him. Means he doesn’t have to think about his own emotions.
Disclaimer: I’m nothing to do with the show. I get no money from this. I’m just a fangirl who wants there to be more Jeffrey/Aaron in the world.
Author’s Note: written for squonkfan. Constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. This was harder to write than I thought it would be.
Once More with Feeling
Aaron has been listening to his best friend rant for the better part of an hour. It was just white noise at this point. Loud white noise. A wide grin with even wider gestures. Jeffrey is exuding the sort of glorious energy which comes with a successful God complex. Aaron is feeling very mortal at the moment.
“I’m very happy for you, Jeffrey.” Aaron forces himself to speak, his voice a little raw from underuse, betraying his vulnerability.
“No you’re not.” Jeffrey stills. Aaron can feel his heart starting to beat a little quicker, worried, but not enough to jolt him back into the land of the living. “But that’s okay.” Jeffrey smiles at him, honestly. Aaron hates that smile. It’s a fond smile, one that Aaron doesn’t understand. He’s not feeling very fond. “It’s okay, Aaron.” Jeffrey assures him, placing a firm but gentle hand on Aaron’s back. Aaron flinches, but doesn’t move away.
“It isn’t okay.” Aaron replies, too tired to even be angry, too tired to open his eyes. “The world isn’t okay.”
“But we’re good, that’s what counts.” Jeffrey grins.
“You’re good.” Aaron responds. “I’m not so sure about me.” Jeffrey closes a little of the distance between them. Aaron doesn’t even open his eyes.
“I’m sure.” The kiss comes as a complete surprise. Sure, Jeffrey’s kissed him before, but only ever on the cheek. Aaron’s eyes bolt open as he feels Jeffrey’s lips press against his own. Aaron jumps back out of shock, backed against the wall, he panics even more. Aaron stutters and splutters. His mouth is slack and his eyes are open. Jeffrey steals another kiss before pulling back, smirking, scoffing, Aaron can’t tell the difference. Jeffrey leaves; humming a tune as he practically skips away. Aaron still can’t make sense of it.
Aaron has had a good day, psychologically and surgically. It feels good to be helping people, fantastic actually... which is why it’s such a blow to discover his best friend had a lousy day. Jeffrey is sat at Aaron’s desk, waiting for him. Aaron pauses, his mouth half-open, feeling helpless.
“Aaron.” Jeffrey pleads, crumbling. Aaron rushes to his side, where he waits awkwardly. Jeffrey looks up at him, with tears in his eyes, looking every bit as bad as he did when Joey died. “Aaron, please. Please!” Jeffrey begs. Aaron shakes his head, still not understanding. Jeffrey clings to Aaron’s waist, pulling him down. Aaron finally gets it, embracing Jeffrey, holding him, as he did that night.
“It’s okay. I’ve got you.” Aaron assures him as Jeffrey buries his face in the crook of Aaron’s neck, freely sobbing. Aaron rubs Jeffrey’s back, soothing him, calming him. It took hours on that night, but this time it only takes a matter of minutes. “Feeling better, buddy?” Aaron asks, letting go and stepping back. Jeffrey sighs before giving a weak smile, a fond smile, a grateful smile. Aaron frowns.
“All better.” Jeffrey replies, even though his cheeks are still wet. “What about you?”
“I’m okay.” Aaron replies. “I had a good day, actually.” His good mood is gone though, because he can’t protect everyone.
“Maybe it balances out.” Jeffrey stands, having gained a little strength from his best friend, the strength to survive, even though he still feels lousy. “You sure you’re okay?” Jeffrey ruffles Aaron’s hair a little. Aaron still is perched on the desk, from where Jeffrey dragged him down.
“A little drained, I guess.” Aaron replies. “Guess the endorphins wore off.” Aaron tries to smile, a slight twitch of his lips. Jeffrey swiftly swipes his thumb over Aaron’s cheek, before bending down to kiss Aaron’s pouting lips. Aaron pushes Jeffrey away, standing up. “Got your heart racing again, didn’t it?” Then Jeffrey’s face crumbles, and Aaron’s mind is spinning with woolly thoughts.
He’s not thinking when he kisses Jeffrey back. He doesn’t even know why. Curiosity? The urge to comfort, to heal? But Aaron gets scared when Jeffrey responds. Jeffrey’s kisses taste of desperation, of need. Too eager. Too demanding. Too forceful. Much like Jeffrey himself at times.
“I’m sorry.” Aaron apologises, running away so he can try to make sense of things. Jeffrey sighs. He’s had a lousy day and now he’s got a hard on. Aaron may be gone, but Jeffrey can still taste him.
“Jeffrey, we need to talk.” Aaron states after knocking on the door to Jeffrey’s office.
“Door’s open. Come in.” Jeffrey replies, so Aaron does so. He’s nervous, but he’s not prepared for the smile Jeffrey gives him once he’s looked up from his paperwork. “Aaron, hey. Nice to see ya. It’s been a while.”
“It’s barely been a day.” Aaron scoffs. Jeffrey shrugs.
“So, what d’ya want to talk to me about?” Jeffrey prompts, as if he doesn’t already know. Maybe he doesn’t. Aaron doesn’t really know what he’s going to say, so how could Jeffrey? Except that Jeffrey knows Aaron better than he knows himself, and vice versa. Still, it doesn’t mean Jeffrey can’t surprise him. Amaze him. Inspire him.
“Jeffrey…” Aaron starts, but then both their pagers go off. It’s all business from then on. A distraught father has brought his year old daughter in after the mother tried to drown her in the bath. Aaron has to call psych because the mother is clearly schizophrenic. It brings back a lot of memories for Aaron, but it’s even worse for Jeffrey. There’s work to do, so they can’t dwell on it.
The daughter is brain dead, just like Joey. Her heart is going strong though, that’s the difference. Aaron offers to ask the father about organ donation, but Jeffrey insists on being the one to do it. Aaron makes sure psych is prepared for to counsel the father, as well as restrain the mother. He still feels helpless, hopeless.
He watches as Jeffrey performs the heart transplant. Aaron has another surgery scheduled simultaneously, but he still finds time to duck out and watch. He still finds time to talk to all parties involved. He plods on, doing his job. It’s not until Jeffrey comes and finds him that he realises how much time has passed.
“Hey.” Jeffrey says. He looks like hell. “You okay?”
“I think I should be the one asking you that.” Aaron replies, rubbing exhausted eyes.
“I *know* I feel rotten.” Jeffrey manages with a pained smile. “How do you feel?”
“I don’t feel. I think.” Aaron retorts.
“So what are you thinking about?” Aaron remains silent, so Jeffrey continues talking. “Y’know. I’ve been thinking. About that night.” Aaron knows which night he’s talking about. The night that Joey drowned. The night Jeffrey called him.
“I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you.” Aaron carefully replies.
“Sure you can. You were there. You saw the mess I was in. How much I was hurting.”
“Yeah, I saw.” Aaron was able to do something about it then. He could lie. Jeffrey rang him up, in floods of tears. He was angry and upset. Aaron rushed offer immediately, as if he could do something about it. It was too late to save the baby, but he could save Jeffrey. Jeffrey was a danger to himself, and to others, specifically Laurie.
Aaron was already there when Laurie strolled back in. She tried to kiss Jeffrey. Jeffrey left Joey’s body on the bathroom floor and he hit her. Such a white hot rage. Aaron knew then that Jeffrey was out of his mind. He would never hurt Laurie. He loved Laurie. Mind you, maybe Laurie wasn’t Laurie. Thoughts raced through Aaron’s mind but they weren’t paralysing back then like they are now. Back then, Aaron wasn’t afraid to physical interfere. He even got a black eye for his efforts, a painful sting which proved he was alive, even if the blue baby boy wasn’t.
“Aaron?” Jeffrey asks, worried. Aaron just shakes his head, too lost in thought.
After Aaron had torn Jeffrey off of Laurie, Jeffrey just clung to him. Jeffrey wouldn’t even let him call for an ambulance, he was too distressed. Laurie had ran away. Aaron was worried about her, but he couldn’t ignore his sobbing friend in front of him. Eventually, Jeffrey let go long enough to make the call. Aaron gave a description of Laurie, listing her clothing down to the tiniest detail, details he didn’t even know he knew.
The ambulance took seven minutes to get there. Aaron had counted. It must have been a hectic night at Chicago Hope. A crazy night. Jeffrey was still sobbing quietly. Aaron was scared he’d do something stupid. Jeffrey pretty much told him he didn’t want to outlive his kid. Aaron can’t remember the exact words he used. He just remembers saying stuff, a lot of stuff. “Live is worth living.” “It will get easier.” “You can’t leave me, I won’t let you.”
He does remember holding Jeffrey. The words alone weren’t enough. Touch seemed to calm Jeffrey. So Aaron held him. Jeffrey’s clothes were soaked from the bathwater. Aaron finally managed to talk him out of them and into some sweatpants and a t-shirt. Jeffrey nodded, so submissive, trusting Aaron completely. He trusted Aaron to see him through this. He ended up holding Jeffrey until the ambulance arrived.
“Aaron, c’mon!” Jeffrey breaks through Aaron’s reverie. “You’re scaring me.”
“I’m sorry.” Aaron sighs. “I’m just tired.”
“It’s more than that.” Jeffrey sounds so sure. “You can tell me. You gotta tell me.” Jeffrey’s voice has that pleading edge to it. Aaron wants to give Jeffrey what he wants. It’s not so easy this time.
“I can’t. I don’t know how!” Aaron snaps, surprising himself. Jeffrey smiles.
“Attaboy.” Jeffrey grins. “It’s a start, anyway.”
“Just leave me alone, Jeffrey.” Aaron asks, too tired, his head hurting.
“Can’t do that buddy. Not after today. I don’t want to be alone.” Aaron’s head snaps up, concerned for his best friend. Jeffrey shrugs. “Besides, I’m worried about you.”
“You’re worried about me?” Aaron snorts, before growing quiet. He’s worried about Jeffrey.
“Today has been a lousy day; you think I don’t know that?” Jeffrey decides to tackle the white elephant, head on. “But nothing could ever be as painful as the day I had to experience it first-hand. And you got me through that. You. You saved me Aaron. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. For every man, woman or child I’m unable to save, there are others I can. And I do. I save them. Of course it hurts that I lost that little girl, but her death saved others.”
“Joey’s death was senseless, yes. It almost killed me too. I never thought I could be the same again. Couldn’t see a reason to want to be. It hurt so much. I was so close to ending it, but I thought of you and the pain eased. I called you and you came. You gave me a reason to carry on. I couldn’t leave you. You held me and I could feel the hurt drain out of me. The pain was tolerable. I could survive it. How do you survive, Aaron?”
“I’m numb Jeffrey.” Aaron confesses.
“No you’re not.” Jeffrey dismisses. Aaron actually feels a little angry at that. It took so much for him to admit. “You’re not numb. You’re repressed. I know you’re hurting Aaron, and it’s painful to watch.” Jeffrey’s voice sounds pained. Aaron is impressed. Mind you, Jeffrey always has been able to use his voice to expel the hurt.
“How can you tell?” Aaron asks, honestly. “I’m scared I’ve forgotten how to feel. I want to be reliable, but I’ve become mechanical, technical. Trapped inside my own head. It’s paralysing.”
“You haven’t forgotten how to feel. You’ve just forgotten how to show it.” Jeffrey smiles. “I’m not… I’m not talking about talking. The words you use are too mechanical. Too technical.” Jeffrey echoes. “You always think too much Aaron. You’re too smart for your own good. Not me. I’m good, but I’m not smart.”
“I’m scared for my soul.” Aaron confesses, twitching a little. He’s tired and his brain won’t let him rest. “Can I… Can I kiss you?” Aaron asks so politely, but Jeffrey still backs away, ever so slightly.
“What. You think that will save your soul?” Jeffrey scoffs, before shaking his head. “I don’t want you to run away again. Not today. Need you today.” Aaron smiles, and then yawns.
“I need sleep.” Aaron states, glad to be finally sure of something. “I need you too. I just, I can’t figure out how. What are we Jeffrey?”
“Now there’s a loaded question.” Jeffrey laughs nervously.
“What do you want to be?” Aaron asks again. Jeffrey doesn’t reply. He doesn’t want to have to define it. His eyes do flicker down to Aaron’s lips. Aaron picks up on that. It makes him smile. “Will you let me kiss you if I promise not to run away?” A shiver runs down Jeffrey’s body, giving him no choice but to nod.
The kiss is slow to start. A chaste press of lips against another. Jeffrey’s mouth opens and Aaron’s mouth follows. The kiss continues. It goes on for at least a minute before Aaron grows bold and flicks out his tongue. Jeffrey moans. Aaron grins but doesn’t break the kiss. Jeffrey isn’t greedy or demanding, but he massages Aaron’s tongue with his own and they find an easy rhythm. Eventually, the kiss slows to a stop.
“Wow.” Aaron admits, before yawning. “Sorry.” Jeffrey isn’t sure what Aaron’s sorry about. He just knows that he feels amazing. “Come on. You can drive me home.” Aaron dictates, no longer insecure. “We need the rest. I hope you don’t hog the covers.”