Fandom: Guiding Light
Pairing: Olivia/Natalia (a bit of Blis seems to have wormed its way in as well)
Rating: PGish (so far)
Spoilers: This story begins after the episode which aired July 6th.
A/N: Sorry this update was so slow in coming... it was a bit rough to write. The rest should chug along much more easily. I apologize for any medical inacuracies. I'm definitely not a medical professional... hell, I don't even watch doctor shows on TV.
Feel free to leave a comment! I love them. :) Also, check out The Otalia Virtual Season mini-sodes!
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Natalia could feel strong arms lifting her body off the floor. There were voices everywhere – voices that sounded like they were swimming slowly at her through a thick fog. She felt weak – weaker than she’d ever been in her life, but she wasn’t unconscious. Not yet. She’d felt her body sink and fall against the door only minutes (or had it been more?) before. It felt like her legs lost cohesion beneath her and she’d been helpless to stop herself even as she felt her head crack into the wood. There may have been a moment where she lost full awareness due to the blow, but right now she was awake again and she could feel the strong arms that held her around her waist, lifting her like a ragdoll off the floor. She felt sturdy hands splay against her side and stomach, keeping her upright, urging her forward.
She’d know those hands anywhere.
“’Livia?” she slurred quietly and attempted to brace herself with legs that felt strangely like they were floating beneath her.
Suddenly, she felt a second set of hands pull on her arms and lock them around what she instinctively knew was Olivia’s neck. She held on as tightly as she could and continued to move her feet as the body to which she clung urged her to persist.
“Yes. It’s me,” she heard clearly in Olivia’s voice.
Natalia slowly opened her eyes and knitted her eyebrows in confusion as she took in the look of Olivia in the nun’s costume. Olivia reached up and freed her hair. Natalia stared at her for a moment and a ghost of a smile spread across her lips before she tightened her grip and whispered in a voice barely audible, “Olivia.”
Natalia thought she heard Olivia reply to her in some way, but she couldn’t be quite sure. The veil that surrounded and muffled the voices and noises around her had returned. Words and voices swam into her ears, but she couldn’t hear them properly. Shouts repeatedly filled the air, but there was one soft, encouraging voice that drifted in – the veil around it not quite as thick as all the rest. She clung to that voice and moved her feet with the sole desire to never stop hearing it again.
“Olivia?” Natalia said again, her voice barely a whisper. It was a question this time.
“I’m still here. Hold on, Natalia. I have you. I promise. Just stay awake. It’s just a little bit longer,” Olivia said desperately against Natalia’s cheek as she tried to keep her upright enough to allow for the weak movements of her slow and heavy legs.
“Do you still have her?” Doris yelled from ahead. She was working on pushing back a small army of penguin-clad women.
“Yes. I have her. She’s walking okay,” Olivia said distractedly. She placed small kisses onto Natalia’s forehead and continued to murmur words of encouragement as they moved forward. She was too busy trying to keep her precious cargo on her feet to even notice that a priest had just grabbed Doris by the arm.
“If there is a problem with Ms. Rivera’s health, we will call an ambulance. You cannot come here and simply take her,” the priest said.
Doris yanked her arm away violently. “The hell we can’t,” she said in reply. She reached into the pocket of her nun costume and yanked out a small cylinder. She pressed her finger against a small latch on the top, held it out in front of her, and said, “This is mace.” She waved the cylinder around for a moment at the slowly scattering nuns before turning to the priest and holding it less than an inch from his nose. “And, in case you haven’t figured it out yet…” She pulled the head covering of the habit off. “I’m not Catholic.”
He blinked and raised a lip in disgust. “Let them go in peace,” he said, as if he’d just made the decision on his own without any outside prompting. “It’s in God’s hands now.”
Silence ushered the three women the rest of the way out of the convent.
The instant Blake saw Doris appear through the convent’s entrance, she drove toward them as fast as she could. A thunderstorm had started while they were inside, and the car kicked up gravel and mud as it skidded to a halt. She leaped out and helped Natalia into the backseat as Doris ran around to the passenger side.
Within seconds, the car was careening down the gravel driveway and out of sight of the convent.
“Do you think she’s alright?” Blake asked Doris quietly. She was sneaking peeks into the rear view mirror every few seconds. Olivia was holding Natalia in her arms and rocking her gently. Her face was buried in Natalia’s hair, but she could still see that tears streamed down her face. Natalia looked asleep… or unconscious.
Doris shook her head. “I don’t know. There’s obviously something terribly wrong. I just hope we found her in time.”
Blake glanced at Doris. Even though the Mayor was now facing the far window, Blake still saw as she wiped a tear from her cheek. Blake reached out and squeezed Doris’ hand. “We did,” she said. And she believed it.
Olivia held the love of her life in her arms – the limp, nonresponsive, love of her life. She was more frightened than she imagined was possible.
She rocked Natalia’s body in her arms and squeezed her eyes shut as she pressed her lips and nose into Natalia’s hair – a prolonged kiss that was broken only by sporadic pleas for Natalia to wake up. She was deathly frightened that Natalia was slipping through her fingers.
Olivia wanted to pray. Her mind kept rushing to beg God for help, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She couldn’t make herself ask for help from the one deity that just might be responsible for all of this. The thought of that made her want to turn around and curse God instead, but she couldn’t do that either. What if He did exist? What if He was watching?
In the end, she decided to not think about it anymore. If He was out there, He’d know what she wanted and needed. Instead, she held onto Natalia and tried to pour as much love and support as she possibly could into the embrace.
Eventually, she opened her eyes and watched and listened as the rain pelted the car. Would they never reach the hospital? She felt suspended in time. Even though trees were blurring past the windows, she felt she could see each one for an eternity before it moved out of sight. She had never felt as powerless as she did in that moment. In the past, she’d lost control of her life and the people in her life more times that she could count, but this was different. She never wanted anything so much before; she never needed anything so much. She wanted to shake Natalia and scream at her – scream at her to wake up, to stop this never-ending spiral of madness that kept hurling her around like a runaway roller coaster.
Why? Why had Natalia gone to that hellish place? Why was she lying limp in her arms? Why wouldn’t she wake up? Why wasn’t her own love enough to wake Natalia up? Why couldn’t she, just this once, have a happy ending?
Olivia felt hot tears burst from her eyes and stream down her face, and suddenly she couldn’t stand looking out the window anymore. She buried her face in Natalia’s tear-dampened hair and sobbed quietly until she felt the car finally skid to a halt at the hospital.
“Please, sit down, Olivia,” Blake said and gently tried to guide Olivia by the elbow to a chair.
Olivia dramatically jerked away and almost lost her footing. She immediately looked apologetic. “I’m sorry, Blake. I just… I’m too on edge to sit. It’s been like two hours and no one knows anything! This place is worse than Cedars.”
Blake tentatively laid a hand on Olivia’s forearm. Olivia stiffened, but did not pull away again. “First of all, Olivia, it’s barely been an hour. Secondly, the doctor said she would be out the minute she knew anything. Sometimes these things take time.” Blake dipped her head and attempted to get eye contact with Olivia who had been stubbornly looking down the whole time. Reluctantly, Olivia looked into her eyes. “This is a good hospital. She’s getting the best treatment.”
“I don’t trust them,” Olivia said and clenched her jaw. “I need to be with her. She needs me.”
“You did everything you possibly could, Olivia. You have to believe that. Let the doctors do their job now.”
“I could have done more,” Olivia said sadly and looked back down at the ground.
“Actually,” said a voice from behind them, “Ms. Spencer?” Olivia spun around and nodded impatiently at the woman she recognized as the doctor. “You and your friends saved Ms. Rivera’s life today. If she’d been left alone for even a few more hours, she could have died. You couldn’t have done anything more perfectly. She’s going to be fine.” The doctor tapped her pen to her clipboard and looked at a stunned Olivia for a moment. “I guess angels come in all forms,” she said with a small grin before waving her arm and turning around. “Come on, one of you can see her now,” she said as she disappeared through a swinging door.
Olivia literally bounced from excitement as she took off after the doctor.
When the doctor glanced back and found that Olivia had almost caught up to her, she began explaining Natalia’s condition. “We believe Natalia has adult-onset diabetes. It’s a bit early to diagnose exactly, and we’ll need more tests, but chances are she has what is called latent autoimmune diabetes of adults or type 1.5 diabetes. It takes on aspects of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and tends to show up in people around her age. Her medical records show that both her son and mother have type 1 diabetes, so she really should have been getting checked for this. It’s a hereditary condition that doesn’t tend to do the whole skip-a-generation thing.” The doctor smiled a bit. “I’m putting money on the fact your friend had a near-perfect diet that’s been keeping her healthy. Do I win the bet?”
Olivia looked at her blankly. “Where is she?”
The doctor frowned. Obviously the woman before her hadn’t heard much of what she said.
“Ms. Spencer, before you go in, I need to tell you that she slipped into a diabetic coma from severe hypoglycemia – she had very low blood sugar – at some point before she got here. We raised her blood-glucose levels sufficiently, and she did regain consciousness which is a sign she’s going to recover just fine, but she’s most likely in a deep sleep. Try not to wake her? Okay?”
Olivia nodded. “I just want to see her.”
The doctor nodded and led her to Natalia’s room.
The second Olivia saw Natalia’s sleeping form, she felt the world fall away. She walked slowly into the quiet room and stopped just inches from Natalia’s bedside. She was lying on her back, her hair splayed out on the pillow behind her head, and puffing out small breaths of air as she slept. Olivia watched her silently – not moving or even thinking for several minutes.
Eventually, she caught herself silently counting Natalia’s breaths and shook her head in an effort to snap herself out of her vacant reverie. She looked around for a chair and lifted it silently to Natalia’s bedside.
Once she was settled in the chair, she reached forward and slowly, delicately, took one of Natalia’s hands between her own.
“Natalia?” she whispered. She didn’t want to wake her up, but if she was awake… well, it didn’t matter, because clearly the woman lying before her was asleep.
Olivia held the slight hand of Natalia between both of her hands. She looked at the three hands stacked together for several moments. Natalia’s hands were thin and elegant. In contrast, her hands were strong and sturdy. No matter how many times people might compliment her hands, she knew they weren’t pretty or delicate – not in the way many woman’s hands usually were. Her fingers weren’t very long and they could never be considered slender no matter how thin she got. She had strong hands. Useful hands. Powerful hands. They were the hands that kept picking her up off the ground; they were the hands that reached out and took whatever she wanted in life. They were the hands of Olivia Spencer. They were the hands that would protect Natalia Rivera until she no longer had the power to move them.
There were too many times during this last week when Olivia worried she would never be able to touch Natalia again. There were times she was convinced that Natalia had slipped between her fingers for good. She worried herself into believing she’d never be able to reach out and draw that beautiful face toward hers for a kiss – a kiss about which she never stopped dreaming.
Olivia swallowed deeply. Unbidden, her mind began wandering and throwing out a barrage of questions. What if? What if Natalia wakes up and tells her to leave? What if Natalia wakes up and asks for Frank? What if Natalia wakes up and tells her she’s taking Rafe and moving away? What if… what if… horrible things? What if they never kiss? What if they never hug again? What if Emma never gets to see the ducks at the farmhouse again? What if it was all a lie? All of it?
Olivia imagined herself taking a long draught from a cold beer. This wasn’t a martini moment. This was a cold-beer moment. This was a drink-yourself-under-the-table-slowly-wh
But no – no it wasn’t.
Olivia took a deep breath. Not this time. This wasn’t one of those wallowing-in-self-pity moments. She had to believe this was a moment of hope. She had to believe Natalia would wake up and declare her love – open her eyes and give Olivia that beautiful, wide-eyed look that said “I love you.” And maybe, just maybe that look might include hints of, “I want you.” Maybe. A girl can dream, right?
Clearly, Natalia had responded to her as they walked out of the convent. She’d said Olivia’s name three times and hadn’t uttered any other words. Olivia tilted her head and stared at Natalia for a long moment. That was a good sign, wasn’t it? It had to be.
Suddenly, Natalia made a slight mumbling noise in her sleep and shifted her body. Her hand tightened around Olivia’s before she settled in her new position and her breathing evened out again.
Olivia released a breath was holding. After a moment of watching Natalia sleep, she reached up and very carefully moved a piece of hair that had fallen over her face. She tucked it gently behind her ear. Before her mind could tell her that it wasn’t the wisest thing to do if she wanted Natalia to remain asleep, she tenderly pressed the palm of her against Natalia’s cheek. Her heart began to beat faster and every fiber of her being wanted to lean forward and press her lips against Natalia’s. As if an unstoppable force was drawing her in, she began leaning forward.
Just then, Natalia stirred again and slowly opened her eyes. Olivia jerked her head back, but before she could completely find her wits and take her hand back as well, she felt Natalia’s hand move up, cover hers, and hold it against her face.
Olivia smiled uneasily.
“Hi,” she said, her voice barely making its way out of her mouth.
Natalia smiled and leaned her face into Olivia’s hand. “Olivia,” she began quietly. Her throat was dry and the word came out slowly.
“Shh, you don’t have to talk.”
“No, I…” Natalia closed her eyes and focused on talking. “If you don’t kiss me, you’ll regret it.” She swallowed, and finished quietly, “I know.”
Olivia’s mind instantly transported itself back to a time very similar to this one, except now the tables were turned.
“You regretted that?” Olivia asked.
“You really want me to kiss you?”
Natalia opened her eyes again and refocused on Olivia. She nodded again. “Please.”
Olivia felt her heart begin to bounce inside her chest. She couldn’t think. She didn’t want to think. She didn’t think. Instead, she began slowly began leaning forward and watched as Natalia’s eyes flutter shut in anticipation of the kiss. She closed her eyes and then it was happening. Their lips were touching – finally meeting for the first time in that soft, tentative way many ordinary first kisses play out. But this was so much more than ordinary. This was the first physical manifestation of two kindred spirits finally finding each other – finally free to love each other in a world neither one of them quite understood. This was the fates finally letting them off the hook and telling them they’d finally been through enough. This was their first taste of true love – and it was delicious.
When Olivia finally pulled away, she leaned up and pressed a soft kiss on Natalia’s forehead.
“I love you,” Natalia said quietly.
Olivia ran her thumb gently over Natalia’s bottom lip, marveling at the idea that she was finally free to touch Natalia’s beautiful lips.
“I love you, too. More than I ever thought possible.”
Natalia’s eyes slid shut. A feeling of relief rushed through her body. She sleepily nodded her head in a way she hoped conveyed a “me too” sentiment.
“Go back to sleep, sweetheart,” Olivia said and placed a kiss on Natalia’s palm as she settled back into the bedside chair. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Natalia squeezed Olivia’s hand and allowed herself to drift back into a heavy, restful sleep.