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Author's note: Not the fic taraljc╣s been looking for, but îtwill have to do for now!

Suspended In Time
by helsinkibaby

The room is mostly silent, the only sounds echoing off the walls being the steady beep and whirr of the monitors and Diane's heart, beating against her chest loudly enough to wake the dead.

The dead maybe, but thankfully that doesn't include Kyle, whose eyes remain closed, his breathing deep and even. His face is calm, serene almost, just like all the other nights she's watched him sleeping, nights long past now. Except that all those other nights, he was in her bed, or she in his. They were never here, a white room in the National Naval Medical Centre, and he'd never come within inches of dying before.

And while her hands might have shaken while she'd lain in bed with him, it had never been like this, this fear racing through her veins, still racing, even now, forcing a lump to come to her throat and tears to her eyes.

They'd been together for a little over a year, and she'd spent every day of that year thanking her lucky stars that he wasn't a field agent any more, that she didn't have to worry about him. Then she'd become Jake's doctor, had spent her first mission in Sat Ops fighting the urge to throw up on the shiny black tiles, and it had been worse than anything she'd ever imagined.

The first time was the worst, but she was getting better.

That is, until today.

Until she'd heard that Kyle had been shot.

That's when she did throw up, staggering to the ladies' room on wobbly legs, just about making it. That's when her hands had frozen to blocks of ice, had started to shake, and they're shaking still, even though she knows that he's going to be fine.

She knows because she's been told, but it's not the same as seeing with her own eyes, and standing at the end of his bed goes some way to making her feel better. But not as much as taking the medical chart from the end of the bed, flipping through it, her trained eye taking in every notation, every dotted I and crossed T. That's when she really lets herself believe, concentrates on the evidence of scientific data and records, rather than the evidence of her own eyes, and, just like always, she lets herself get lost in it, jumps when she hears his voice.

"Am I going to live?"

She almost drops the chart, one hand going up to her chest, and she gives him a shaky grin, doing her best to keep her tears at bay, because the way he's smiling sleepily up at her, the look that's in those eyes of his, is just too damn familiar. "Not if you keep scaring me like that," she says, putting the chart back in its place, taking a couple of steps towards him, proud of both the fast retort and the fact that her voice doesn't shake.

He lifts an eyebrow, and she can't help but be reminded of Jake's impression of him, and the memory has her suppressing another wave of hysteria. "You think you can take me?" he asks, and the way he says it makes it sound far dirtier than he might have planned. On the other hand, she realises quickly, the way he's looking at her has distinct overtones of the past, and she belatedly recalls the drug chart she's just looked through.

"You're pretty stoned right now," she points out, coming closer to him but not making any moves to touch him. "I fancy my chances."

"It's the beer," he tells her, and when her jaw drops open, he nods sagely. "Jake brought some."

It's all Diane can do not to grind her teeth. "He should know better," she mutters, more to herself than Kyle. "I'm going to kill him." Because raiding her not-so-secret candy stash is one thing; smuggling alcohol into a recovering patient is far more serious.

"Lou's orders," Kyle says, bringing her up short, and he nods again. "Have to follow Lou's orders. Hoo-ah."

She thinks the last is supposed to be accompanied by a movement of the arm; in his current state, it's more a wave of the hand. A frown of what might be confusion crosses his face as he glances towards the hand in question, the spider's web of IV lines welded to his skin, and she moves a couple of steps closer, her doctor's instincts kicking in. "Whatever it is," she tells him, "You're pretty dopey right now... no sudden moves, ok?"

One shoulder moves up and down in what should probably be a shrug. "You'd put me back together again," he mumbles, and she swallows hard at that, wishes like hell she didn't have to. He closes his eyes, and she thinks that he's fallen back asleep, until, that is, they open again, lock on hers. The unfocussed look of seconds before has gone, and he looks sharply at her, eyes narrowing in unmistakable concern. "You look terrible," he tells her, and she laughs at what she knows to be the God's honest truth, a laugh that turns into more of a sob. "Diane?" he asks, all concern now, and she shakes her head quickly, looking up to the ceiling, fingers playing idly with the blankets.

"I'm fine," she tells him, willing the tears not to fall. "It's just... you pretty much scared me out of ten years of life... and I guess I'm just a little... you know..."

Warm fingers close around hers, dragging her gaze down, and her breath catches, because she's never seen Kyle look quite that way at her. "I was pretty scared myself," he admits quietly, and she knows, without even asking, that he'd never admit that to anyone else. "But it was the mission... it was what had to be done, and Jake did it..." Levity flickers in his eyes for a moment. "Our little boy's gonna make a damn good field agent one of these days."

This time, her laugh is more a laugh than a sob, as she knows it was meant to be. Kyle's always been able to make her laugh, always been able to read her mood perfectly, say just what she needs to hear.

His fingers tighten on hers, lips curling into a smile as he says, "That's better... I've been wanting to see that smile..."

His eyes close again, and she knows that he must be getting tired, so she takes a step back. "You need to sleep," she begins, stops when the grip on her fingers tightens so that it's almost painful.


It's not quite an order, not quite a request, and she swallows, nodding assent. That lump in her throat is back again, not that it ever really went away, and she sits down on the edge of the bed, wrapping her other hand around their joined ones, raising them to her lips for just a second. He doesn't let go of her hand, so she lowers them to the bed, his right hand in hers, uses her left one to reach up, run over his hair, down his cheek. "Go to sleep," she whispers, gooseflesh rippling up her arm and down her body when he leans into her touch. She lets it linger, closing her eyes, trying to forget where they are, why they're there, and above all, that this is simply a moment in time where all their usual rules are suspended. She'll leave here when she's sure he's fast asleep, and in the morning when he wakes up, he won't even remember that she's been here.

This is just one moment suspended in time, and tomorrow, their lives go back to normal.

She's just not sure she knows what normal is any more.