Title: "Differential"
Author: monimala
Fandom: GH
Rating/Classification: no adult language, angst, Robin/Patrick, filler scene. 800 words.
Disclaimer: Not my characters. ABC Daytime, etc.
Summary: A transition between Robin and Patrick's disastrous corndogs and race cars date on 5/2/06 and the equally disastrous surgery on 5/3/06.

Robin let herself into the fourth floor on-call room slowly, half-expecting to be greeted by a pornographic soundtrack of moans and clothes rustling. But the room was silent and she kept her hand off the light switch with the knowledge that Epiphany probably wouldn't have sent her here looking for Patrick if she'd thought he was "entertaining" one of the bimbos from Radiology. Nurse Johnson was no nonsense, but not cruel. "Mrs. Dixon's labs are back," she'd snapped, with that sour expression of hers. "Dr. Hotshot'll probably want to look at them."

"I'll find him," she'd assured, getting the finer points of his last known whereabouts and leaving Epiphany to bark orders about CT scans to a fresh-faced intern who seemed on the verge of tears.

And so she'd found him. Easily. The only easy thing about him, about this.

Patrick was stretched out on the lower bunk of the room's single bunk bed, very much alone. No blond bed bunnies in sight. And she couldn't help but breathe a tiny sigh of relief.

Even though she was furious and hurt and a dozen other things that all meant she should hate him.

It would be simpler if she *could* hate him. But when had a Scorpio ever had a simple life? A simple love?

"I don't get you," she muttered, closing the door behind her with the softest possible click. "I don't get you at all."

He'd pushed her away earlier…saying he couldn't be in it for the long haul. Saying he didn't want to be her project. He'd kissed her like *that*, touched her like *that*, and then closed himself off. And he thought she was the one with issues, with fear?

He was so willing to risk his body but not his heart. She'd never met a man like him …unbelievably afraid of committing his emotions and paradoxically unafraid of disease, of dying. Sex with her was a walk in the park. Loving her, a plunge from a cliff. That made no sense at all. None of this made sense.

He looked vulnerable and young in sleep; his generally out of control hair even more messed up. He was lean and long and she remembered how it felt for him to hold her, safe, with the teasing weight of his chin atop her head. It felt right. It felt good. Patrick had encouraged her to open up to him. He'd listened to her. He'd dried her tears with those precise, skilled, hands. She could practically write an ode to the pads of his thumbs. He'd made her laugh. He'd made her blood pump and her heart race and he'd made her *want* more than her every day existence.

And he couldn't…wouldn't…let her return the favor.

Robin had held the human brain. She'd felt its weight. She'd cut it open, mapped its pathways, and learned some of its most mysterious corners and curves. Patrick Drake's was an anomaly, an enigma, damaged in a way that made Jason's problems look like a concussion.

"Why? Why are you so scared, Patrick?" she mused, moving just close enough to shove at his shoulder and nudge him awake. "Mrs. Dixon's results are in," she whispered, hoping it would be enough to spur him out of the power nap.

He shrugged off her touch, rolling to one side and mumbling, "Innaminnit, Mom."

And, just like that, she had her answer.

If only all her differential diagnoses were so pat.

She'd be like one of those super doctors on TV.

But she wasn't and she had no script for this, no direction. All she had was one word: "Mom." And the sudden recall for the contents of Mrs. Dixon's chart, the specifics of her condition.

Maybe she understood him better than she'd thought.

Loss…loss manifested itself in people in different ways. It made some angry. It made some cold. It turned some into alcoholics and some into workaholics.

It had turned this impossibly brilliant man into an arrogant ass. Into a player. Into a coward.

"Patrick…" she tried again, past the increasing lump in her throat. "Patrick, please…"

He fixed keen, instantly alert eyes on her. His gaze lingered on her body -- not that there was much of it, but he seemed to like it just fine -- until he remembered he couldn't give her what she needed and snapped back up to her face. "Yeah?" he spat, swinging his sneaker-clad feet to the floor.

*I'm sorry I kicked over your race track.*

*I think I could love you.*

*Why won't you let me?*

"Mrs. Dixon," she said, instead. "The embolism is reaching critical mass."

"I'm on it." He nodded impersonally, completing the transition to Dr. Hotshot in less than 60 seconds.

He brushed past her.


The only easy thing about this.


May 4, 2006.

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