Title: "Stronger Than You Know"
Author: monimala
Fandom: GH
Rating/Classification: adult language, angst, Patrick/Robin, AU/filler
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. The first line of dialogue is lifted from the episode.
Summary: He has to let her go. An AU spin on 2/3/06. What if Jason hadn't interrupted and Patrick got Robin into the elevator during the epidemic?

Every little thing you do is tragic
All my life, oh was magic
Beautiful girl
I can't breathe.
-"Disease," Matchbox Twenty.

"Get in or I will *carry* you in," he hissed, staring down at her as the doors opened, stepping forward, so she knew it was a threat and a promise.

"Patrick, no!" she protested, refusing to budge. "I'm not leaving! They need all the doctors they can get …"

"First my father and now you…God, what *is* it with you people?" he demanded, shaking his head, fiercely. The anger rushed through him, just as virulent and unforgiving as encephalitis. Martyrs. He was surrounded by martyrs. He pictured them dead. Toe-tagged in the morgue. Somebody else's patient file, flipped through and given a number and a T.O.D. "No," he whispered. "Just…no."

And he swept her up in his arms, making good on his threat, slamming her through the perfectly timed elevator doors and against the wall.

He pounded the button for the parking garage with one fist as she kicked at him, hit him without even making a dent. God, if she couldn't even fight him, how in the world did she think she was going to fight what was going on out there?

"Patrick, put me down," she cried. "Let me go." She managed to slide down his body -- not quite slow enough to make him happy -- until her feet hit the floor. He kept one arm firmly around her waist as the lift began to descend. "They need help. They need all the available medical personnel in the building. You know they do. You know they need me." She was so rational, so fucking compassionate and calm and selfless and…

"Damn it, *I* need you, too."

The words were harsh, gasped, and he barely even recognized them as his own… not until he saw her big brown eyes go wide with disbelief. "Patrick…" she stammered, finally losing some of her infuriating composure… "What are you talking about? Y-you don't need me."

"Oh, yeah?"

Your diagnosis is off, Dr. Scorpio. "Tell me this isn't need."

He pulled her flush against him. He had to bend halfway just to cup her chin in his hand and tilt her lips up to his but it was one more sacrifice he had no choice but to make. If she was so damned insistent on opening herself up to infection, then she was going to open herself up to him first. She was going to risk this. And so was he.

He slanted his mouth across hers, hard enough to bruise, but not enough to break the skin. Because that was how they were. This was how they worked. This was how they spread. He tangled his hand in her hair, stroking the base of her neck as he kissed the corner of her lips, the dimple in her cheek, her jaw, and her throat. Her pulse was so strong, alive, and he thought, "Toe tag," and shuddered and took her mouth again.

She moaned, this tiny, helpless, sound, and leaned into him…all her immunity falling away as she circled her arms around his neck. "Patrick," she cried, and he loved it… the sound of her succumbing to his opportunistic tongue.

Just like that. And if she couldn't fight him, how was she going to fight the encephalitis? How was she going to live?

The elevator hit bottom way too quickly, grinding to a halt and shuddering as the doors opened to the garage. He wanted to shove her out…but that meant letting her go…and he wasn't ready. He gripped her too tight.

"I can't lose you now," he whispered, knowing it was the stupidest possible thing to say, but helpless against the symptoms. "Don't you get it? It's too soon."

She pulled back. As far as he would let her. "Don't *you* get it?" The back of her hand was cool -- not yet feverish, thank God -- as she stroked his cheek. He'd seen the gentle look in her eyes a dozen times as she spoke to patients, broke news to them like they were her friends, her family, her lovers. And now she broke the news to him. "It's always too soon."

She kissed him one more time. Hard. She stretched up on her toes and slid slowly against him, slow enough to make him happy...and utterly miserable. And then she slipped away. She punched the button to take them back up.

"Robin, I…" Whatever he might have said caught in his throat because all he wanted to do was keep her here, between these four walls and in his arms. As if that would keep her safe.

She took his hand, lacing her fingers with his as they ascended.

"I need you, too," she said, simply.

Martyrs. He was surrounded by martyrs.

And it was catching.

Because after four soft words, Patrick knew he would gladly, willingly, suffer by her side.

He stepped with her off of the elevator, back into Hell and uncertainty and contagion…and wondered how the fuck he was going to say, "Good-bye."


February 3, 2006.

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