nancefics: (PF Secret Santa 2009)
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Written for [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip as part of the [livejournal.com profile] profiler_fans 2009 Secret Santa Exchange - the original post can be found here.

Drug-addled!fragmented!Grace was kind of fun to write, but this also poked at me to try a longer, more straight-forward Grace/Jack. I already have a few pages...we'll see if this gets done sometime between now and 2011. ;)



Cardia

author: Robin Nance

pairing / story type: Grace/Jack, angst/romance

rating / warnings: R (violence, language, character death)

Summary: The human heart can withstand many things.




01.

This isn’t happening, she thinks.

“Good morning, Gracie.”

She has to be dreaming. It’s Friday night, her official date night with her husband. Morgan is opening a bottle of wine and making caramel popcorn, and they’re going to sit in front of the television and watch B-movies and laugh at what an old domesticated couple they’ve become.

“Sleep well?”

They’ll drink the wine and laugh at the corny dialog onscreen, and then they’ll drink more wine. They’ll end up making love on the living room floor, happy and hopeful as they try for that baby they’ve decided they’re ready for.

“Sorry about the headache, it’s a side-effect of the tranquilizers. Necessary precaution and such. Sit up and I’ll get you some ibuprofen.”

Grace opens her eyes to a plain white room and dimmed lights, a white-sheeted narrow bed that isn’t hers, and a man with an angelic smile and dead eyes.

“We have a busy day ahead of us, Grace. What do you want to do first?”

This isn’t happening, she thinks as she watches the cigarette smoke curl in spirals around Jack’s head. I’m not Samantha. It was supposed to be Samantha.



02.

“You really need to eat, Grace.”

“You really need to fuck off, Jack.”

She pushes the tray away and gets up from the table. She was a little too quick, she realizes belatedly – the room spins woozily beneath her feet and she has to make a grab for her vacated chair. She hears Jack’s huff of laughter as she sinks back into the padded seat.

“You’re dehydrated and orthostatic, Doctor, but I shouldn’t have to tell you that. You haven’t eaten in forty-eight hours.”

“Why should I prolong the agony? You’re going to kill me anyway.”

“Have I laid a hand on you yet?”

Jack sits across from her with his chin in his hands. For a surreal moment, Grace is reminded of her father trying to sweet-talk her into taking cough medicine when she was ten years old and suffering from bronchitis.

“Why am I here, then?”

“Do you know that the human heart beats approximately two-and-a-half billion times during the lifespan of an average person, Grace?” Jack slides the tray of food back toward her. “I’m sure you’re not average, but you still need nutrition. It can be through soup or an IV – make your choice and then we’ll chat.”

Grace picks up the spoon with a shaky hand, half-horrified at whatever subject matter he wants to share with her.



03.

She thinks she’s been here for a couple of weeks. It’s hard to maintain a sense of time in the absence of windows and clocks and calendars.

She’s graduated from the small white room to being allowed to roam the place more or less at will. Jack still won’t let her into his bedroom, not that she’d want to see it anyway, and he prefers to be nearby when she’s in the kitchen.

“Are you afraid I’m going to steal a steak knife and gut you in your sleep?”

“I’m afraid you’re going to burn the place down without supervision. I’ve never met anyone with an advanced degree who can fuck up Pop-Tarts.”

She thinks Morgan might have said something like that once or twice. It should probably bother her that she’s focused less on the memory and more on her laughter mingled with Jack’s as she throws a piece of over-crispy toaster pastry at him.



04.

“You’re doing something to me, aren’t you?”

Jack throws her a puzzled look over the tops of his reading glasses. “I’m all the way across the room, Grace.”

“You’re using drugs on me. Low-dose tranquilizers, antipsychotics maybe. It’s the only way to explain it.” She looks down at her hands, spread across the pages of a first-edition Netter’s Anatomy text.

"What are you trying to explain?"

"Why I'm still here." Her hand curls around a photo of the human heart, life-sized and splayed open to expose the inner muscles of the ventricles. "I was so scared when I got here. Why don't you scare me anymore?"

Jack sets down his newspaper and sits beside her, too far away to touch. "Maybe you belong here."

"No." Grace shakes her head, concentrating. "No. I was...I belonged someplace else."

"That's right." Jack's smile is encouraging. "You belonged. And now you belong again."

It's still not right, she wants to say, but she can't finish the thought. She settles for running her fingers over the text, outlining the wide-open heart again and again.



05.

The scream wakes her in the middle of the night.

She's lived here long enough now to know her way in the dark, and she runs unimpeded down the hallway to Jack's bedroom. Before she has time to wonder at the intelligence of his sleeping behind an unlocked door (hadn't she said something once about a steak knife?) he screams again, and she rushes in.

"Jack?"

"It hurts." He's sitting bolt upright, his hair sweat-soaked and his eyes glazed, unfocused. "Mom, I don't like this doctor, I don't like this disease."

He's somewhere long ago, Grace realizes.

"Jack, shh. You're dreaming."

Her attempt at a gentle touch on his arm goes completely wrong.

"No! Don't, the bone will break again! Get off me!"

She struggles, pinned beneath him with his hands around her neck, for two terrifying minutes; then the dead gaze suddenly breaks and he's back, staring down at her.

"Sorry." His voice is still raspy from the screams as he slides his hands from her neck down her shoulders. "Another golden childhood memory."

She nods silently, arms going around his neck and pulling him down. "I want to stay," she whispers, and she feels the tension leave his body as he closes the rest of the distance to kiss her.



06.

It's funny that the roses are the key to restoring her memory.

It's winter now, and Jack bundles up in layers whenever he leaves the house. She has full run of the place, although she still makes him nervous around the kitchen appliances and he still teases her about using the table more for sex than for dinner.

Hearts have become a theme with them. He leaves heart-shaped candy on her pillow and glittery stickers on her mirror, and she retaliates by leaving him perfect free-hand copies of anatomic hearts on his newspapers. She sees the roses in his office while she's wandering around trying to locate one of her discarded anatomy atlases, and a picture of a blonde woman taped to his computer screen.

Samantha...her name is Samantha, and he is her Jack and she is his heart.

And Grace doesn't matter.

This isn't happening, she thinks. It was always supposed to be Samantha.

She's sitting in bed when Jack comes home. Torn pages surround her, hearts dissected and left dry and open and useless.

"The human heart can pump seven liters of blood per day," she tells Jack tonelessly as she holds up her wrists. She sees his face drain white at the sight of the cuts, so surgically precise, and she hears his scream right before she blacks out.



07.

She awakens to pain and bright lights in the middle of the small white room.

"You could have asked." Jack's voice is raw like a wound. "I would have told you everything."

"Samantha." Grace swallows around a dry throat. "It was always going to be her, wasn't it?"

Jack drops his head into his hands as his shoulders start to shake. He doesn't cry, she thinks, why would he?

"Idiot."

He looks back up at her now, eyes red-streaked and wild and alive - why had she ever thought of him with dead eyes?

"Beautiful stubborn stupid Grace. Samantha was a means to an end." He places something warm and wet in her hands. "It was never anyone but you - how could it be? You understand me. You belong."

He closes her hands around his slippery gift, squeezing her wrists just hard enough that she winces around the suture lines he'd created. Grace looks down at the sticky mound of muscle, blood and rose petals.

The average female human heart weighs 250 grams.

I belong, she thinks as she leans up to kiss him.













Sacred Hearts: A Grace/Jack Mix


01 :: O Death :: Jen Titus

when god is gone and the devil takes hold / who'll have mercy upon your soul


02 :: Guiltless :: Martin Grech

i can taste you on my fingers / you kissed me and the wounds bled / just the way you had predicted


03 :: Afraid :: Sarah Fimm

i'd like to know you more / tell you you're fine even though you're not


04 :: Magdalena :: A Perfect Circle

and i'd sell my soul, my self-esteem / a dollar at a time for one chance, one kiss / one taste of you


05 :: Sacre Couer :: Tina Dico

poison racing through my veins / a sordid pull to the insane / a constant gravity to change / and i don't know where to go


06 :: Stumble and Pain :: Joseph Arthur

all your gifts come out of hell / you bring them back for love / throw a bucket down into your well / you fill it with your blood


07 :: Never Be Mine :: Kate Bush

i look at you and see my life that might have been / your face just ghostly in the smoke


[download .zip with songs & cover art]
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