Light by MutedTempest
FeatureSummary: Shane and Jenny try to work things out.
Categories: The L Word, Shenny Characters: Jenny Schecter, Shane McCutcheon
Genres: AU, drama, friendship, romance
Spoilers up through: TLW Season 6
Warnings: angst, AU, drug use/abuse, strong language
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 18913 Read: 16657 Published: January 19, 2009 Updated: December 23, 2010
Story Notes:
Disclaimer: I own no characters or settings, and don't wish any copyright infrigement toward those that do.

This story is my AU version of Season 6. I'm going to try to go episode by episode, but I can't promise a post immediately after each one.

This is for my light.

1. Sheol by MutedTempest

2. Whatever it Takes by MutedTempest

3. Internal Struggle by MutedTempest

4. Realizations by MutedTempest

5. Hiccup by MutedTempest

Sheol by MutedTempest
Lights. They were the first thing she was aware of, and it wasn’t exactly a happy awareness. She wanted them to go away; they hurt. Almost as much as her chest and head did, although she had no idea why they would. She was only sleeping, and she wished she’d never started to dream at all. The blackness had been so much better.

She didn’t remember exactly what had happened. She knew Jenny had thrown a lamp at her and kicked her out of the house, and in the back of her mind she found herself hoping that those things were just another part of the nightmare she was having. It was an empty hope, though. She knew they’d really happened, and the thought made the agony in her head increase. The lights seemed to be brighter here, and she felt almost angry at them, in a detached sort of way.

She heard voices, and really hoped they’d shut up. She hated not knowing what was going on around her, but she could hear the voice of the girl who had told her to be careful and asked if she was all right. That was a vague memory, but at least it was there. It wasn’t much on a night as fucked up as this one had been, but it was something. People seemed to be asking the girl questions, but she wasn’t able to make out what these were, or even what the girl’s answers might have been.

She’d had a lot to deal with tonight, including losing her home as well as her best friend, so she could take a wild guess as to where the pain in her head had come from. It was probably just a bad pill, or the booze. She couldn’t figure out what was going on with her chest, though. That really hurt. She wondered why she’d gone back to the girl’s house at all, all she’d been after was a fuck and it wasn’t like they couldn’t have just done that in the Jeep to begin with. Not that anything had ended up happening, anyway; she just wasn’t into it, and Shane had begged off the sex. It didn’t seem to matter much to the girl, she’d just handed her a couple of pills and asked to be driven home, so Shane had. Apparently the girl’s roommates had been having a party, and she’d been invited in. She’d been planning to leave and head to Helena and Kit’s club, but saw no point in leaving when she became aware that people were doing lines all around her.

It wasn’t something she was proud of. She’d been staying away from that stuff, and it was mostly because her life had seemed to be getting better and she hadn’t wanted to fuck it up. But what had happened over the course of the past few days had proven that her life was just as fucked up now as it had always been. And knowing that, she realized it didn’t matter how much coke she snorted or how many pills she swallowed. It obviously didn’t matter to anyone else, and at least this way, it’d be numb for a little while. She needed it to be numb.

Not that it really mattered, now. She just wanted to go back to sleep, where she didn’t have to feel anything, especially this pressure in her chest. She’d always thought that a broken heart was just a saying, but it really did feel like something was broken inside her chest. It hurt a lot in there, and nobody was turning the fucking lights off, although it had to be close to 5am by now. The last time she’d looked at the clock in the Jeep it had been around 4, and she’d stumbled back to the house for more drugs after that.

She remembered a moment of clarity at what she assumed was around the middle of the party. It came in the form of a phone call from Helena, which she hadn’t answered, and then one from Kit, which she had…Kit had always been there for her and Shane didn’t see that changing now. So, she’d picked up. By that time, she was well into her high and was able to assure her old friend that she was perfectly fine and that she’d found somewhere to stay the night. Kit had asked her not to do anything stupid. Shane knew that Kit was well aware of what she was doing by the sound of her voice and of the party in the background, but she hadn’t said anything about it, just asked her to be careful and to call if she needed anything at all. Shane had agreed while never intending to tell her a thing, and she was pretty sure that Kit had known that. Still, she hadn’t pressed the issue, and Shane had been immensely grateful to her for it.

She remembered how good the first few minutes of the high had felt. She’d had some of the pills along with a couple lines and was feeling pretty okay considering everything, although one of the girls kept telling her to be careful and that she didn’t look good. Shane had just shrugged, not giving a shit. After that, there wasn’t much in her memory. She was assuming she’d just passed out, and had woken up still high, and that was why she was having so many problems understanding what was going on around her.

She heard the voices again. She still couldn’t make out what they were saying, but they seemed a little more insistent now. There wasn’t much she could do about that, though. She could also feel people touching her, and this scared her to death because it seemed to be at a distance. She felt a twinge of pain in her arm and tried to show a physical reaction, but it was so far away that she was unable to do anything. She tried to open her mouth to ask just what the hell was going on, but she found that she wasn’t able to do that, either. She couldn’t even turn her head to see anything. Her eyes were unfocused and she couldn’t concentrate, although she was trying, and the lights overhead were passing by in a kind of fuzzy haze. One of the voices in the cacophony was closer than the others and sounded soothing, although she couldn’t make out any words at all. It didn’t matter. Her eyelids felt like concrete and she figured she was really going to start to come down soon, so she let them close and allowed the darkness to take over again.

**********

She’d only answered the phone so Niki would leave faster, if she was being honest about it. She didn’t recognize the number, but she didn’t think Shane would try to trick her that way. If it was Shane it would be Shane’s number, that much she was sure of. Because of this, it didn’t seem dangerous to answer. And as much as she wanted Niki out of the house, she really didn’t want to hear her begging anymore, and this provided a good excuse.

She heard the words, but waited until Niki was gone before she sank back down onto the bed. She didn’t know whether to cry or to scream. It was all too much for her to comprehend. Yes, she’d been a bitch, she was well aware of that fact. But for Shane to go and do this… She didn’t know exactly what the appropriate reaction was. Not that it mattered; all that did was getting to Shane as quickly as she possibly could and trying to get her to hang on. The events of the night before left her mind as though they’d never made a difference at all, and she was pretty sure that they hadn’t. As she got her bag she was struck by the image of Shane in her old hoodie, talking to her on the couch and telling her such nice things. Things that she wasn’t sure she deserved, after everything. And still, Shane had been so hurt by her angry words that she’d tried to…well, she didn’t know if it was completely intentional, but the simple fact that she’d hurt her enough to get her to even consider the drugs again was almost unbearable.

She was in the car and almost had her seatbelt buckled when her phone started to ring again. It was Kit. Had it been anyone else she wouldn’t have answered, but Kit loved Shane and Jenny felt she deserved to know what was happening, even if she didn’t know much about that herself.

Kit was calling to see if Shane had made any contact with her; Kit had called her in the middle of the night and Shane hadn’t sounded good, and Kit was worried. She started to cry when Jenny told her the news, and said that if it was all right she’d meet her at the doors to the hospital. Jenny agreed, relieved to have someone to be there with her when she saw Shane. She didn’t know how she was going to hold it together otherwise.

She swung the car into the first available place she saw, not caring that it was a handicapped space. She’d pay the fine. All she was concerned with was getting inside to see Shane, to make sure she was alive. She’d had a wild fear that Shane had slipped away while she was driving over, and although she was aware that it was unlikely, it didn’t make her any less scared.

She sat in one of the cushy chairs just inside the doors, too frightened to go to the desk and give her name. She was certain that they’d look at her pityingly and then tell her that Shane had passed away before she arrived. It was illogical, but that didn’t make her feel better. So, she sat and waited for Kit to get there, hoping she’d be a bit calmer once she was with her.

It did help, seeing Kit and being swept into a hug. It was enough to give her the courage to go to the desk. The nurse there seemed to know who she was, because she called a doctor over the loudspeaker and asked them both to have a seat.

She didn’t remember exactly what had happened or what had been said when the doctor finally came over to them, but she was allowed to go to Shane and nothing else was important. She was led to a small private room just off the ICU. Shane’s heart rate had been stabilized but she was still under observation, and all the wires and tubes coming out of her made Jenny cry. She was breathing, that much was obvious, but aside from that she looked like death. The doctor said that she was taking it well, though, and gave Jenny a few minutes alone with her.

She couldn’t think of anything to say, and even if she’d been able to, Shane was unconscious. So she did the only thing she could and hugged her, crying harder with each passing second and kissing Shane’s cheek at random intervals. She told her that she loved her, and kept saying it because she wanted Shane to hear, even if she knew that it was very unlikely that she could. It didn’t matter; she kept saying it, and she kept hugging her until a passing nurse stuck her head in and told her to step back and give Shane some breathing room. Suddenly remembering that Shane had had a heart attack, she jumped back and stopped touching her. A few seconds later, she was unable to bear looking down at her a second longer and went back into the hall to find Kit.

**********

She didn’t know how much time had passed before she heard a voice again, and this one sounded awfully familiar. It had to be a dream; there was no way. And then she felt the arms, and she knew them. She couldn’t quite believe that Jenny had driven all that way just to find her fucked up after everything that had happened, but she couldn’t think of any other explanation. Her brain was still muddled and she was unable to open her eyes, but the hug felt good and she wanted to return it, even if it was all just a dream. She heard another voice in the room, and this one wasn’t as gentle, nor was it familiar. Shane hated it because whatever it had said made Jenny loosen her embrace, and a second or two later Shane couldn’t feel Jenny’s arms at all and missed them desperately. Her chest was hurting again though, as was her head, so she figured she could wait until she woke up. She slipped back into the blackness hoping that someone would take care of Jenny for her until she could get up and do it herself.

**********

The day that followed was exhausting for both Kit and Jenny. They spoke to several doctors and learned that while Shane’s heart attack had been managed well and she would probably have no real lasting damage from it, she wasn’t out of the woods yet. Her heart rate was still a little abnormal from all the cocaine she’d ingested, and the doctors were worried about the possibility of bleeding in the brain.

“It can happen after the overdose, and it’s usually quite sudden,” the doctor told them. “We’re monitoring her very closely and doing scans every so often in case we need to know something, but we’ll need to keep her comatose quite a bit over the next week or so to be sure she doesn’t succumb to anything. We did a brain scan when she was brought in and it showed some swelling, so we’re trying to be very careful.”

After that, they’d been told that they could go home. Jenny refused, saying that she wanted to stay with Shane. One of the nurses agreed to let her set up a cot in the room, and Kit said she could take the waiting room if that was all right. The nurse hesitated; Jenny was the emergency contact, but she didn’t know who this other woman was supposed to be. She figured it didn’t matter much in the long run, though, and let her stay.

Kit tried to make Jenny eat something, but she couldn’t. Kit wasn’t feeling too hungry herself, but she forced down a chicken sandwich in the cafeteria. Jenny excused herself quietly and said that she was going to go sit with Shane again. Kit sighed but didn’t say anything. She stayed in the cafeteria a little longer, and contemplated calling Bette and telling everyone. But she decided against it based on Jenny’s reaction. The girl needed to be there with Shane without everyone else milling around right now. This was different. The only person she called was Helena, since staying with Jenny was going to make it tough to go to work. Helena took the news gracefully and said that if either of them needed anything or if they wanted company, all they had to do was call. She also said not to even think about work right now, and to give Shane her love.

Kit did insist that Jenny go for a walk, a little later. Jenny wouldn’t hear of it at first, until Kit told her that she wanted to talk to Shane. Jenny just looked up at her for a second before nodding and leaving the room. Kit sighed and sat down in the chair that Jenny had just vacated, and started to tell Shane exactly what was going on. She didn’t know what she could actually hear right now, if anything, but she figured that it was better to be on the safe side.

**********

Kit was there, wherever “there” happened to be. Shane had absolutely no idea how much time had gone by since she’d felt Jenny’s arms around her, and she had no clue where she was. She still wasn’t able to open her eyes, but this place sure didn’t smell like a drug party. And Kit was talking to her, and Jenny had been here. She was pretty sure that hadn’t been a dream, it had felt too real. And she highly doubted that Kit and Jenny would have followed her to a shitty house on the shore and joined her at the drug party. That wouldn’t make any sense.

She didn’t understand why she couldn’t open her eyes, or why she couldn’t move. The pressure in her chest had eased, but it felt like she was being weighed down by something. She was completely unable to figure out what that was, though, so she tried to relax. Kit was telling her to be strong, and to fight for Jenny; that things were fragile right now but that she could prove that she’d do anything to make it because that’s who she was. Shane had no idea what she was talking about with that last bit, but she assumed that Kit must mean that Jenny was fragile right now since it had all gone down and that Shane was going to have to fight to prove how sorry she was. She was willing to start immediately if someone would let her up, but that didn’t seem to be happening.

She didn’t have much of a choice but to go back to the blackness again. She just hoped Kit would take care of Jenny. She was really happy Kit was there to do that for awhile.

**********

Kit tried, she really did, but Jenny was no easy person to care for. She wasn’t demanding at all; in fact, she was the opposite, but that worried Kit because she was refusing to eat anything. After three days she’d only had half a vending machine sandwich, and Kit was getting worried.

Jenny seemed to want to spend all of her time sitting next to Shane’s bed, talking to her. Kit could understand that; she was prone to doing the same thing. She overheard Jenny telling Shane a thousand little things about her childhood, where she grew up; seemingly useless information, but Kit found it rather touching. Since Shane was still in her coma there was never a response, but Jenny kept talking anyway.

“They say that people in comas still have auditory function and will retain the information they’re given,” she explained one afternoon when Kit pulled up a chair beside her. “I don’t want her to be lonely…”

Kit just smiled and took her hand. “She’s not lonely, we’re both here and we’ll be here when she wakes up for good. You keep talking her, I bet she likes it.”

Jenny didn’t respond verbally, but she nodded. Kit took the cue and left the room, and Jenny just kept holding Shane’s hand. In these quiet moments, it was so easy to believe that things might be able to be salvaged after all, if Shane didn’t wake up hating her. She wouldn’t have been offended by that; she was already blaming herself for everything that had happened.

She’d spoken to Kit about it, briefly, a few days before. She’d given her a rundown of the events as they’d transpired, and had expressed her guilt for Shane’s condition. Kit had sighed and told her that it wasn’t her fault, but it was painfully obvious that Jenny didn’t believe her.

Jenny had asked her if she’d ever heard of something called sheol. Kit had pleaded ignorance, of course, and Jenny had explained that it was a Jewish concept, similar to Hades, where all the dead went. It wasn’t hell or heaven, just a place that one went when they were dead; a state of nothingness. She told Kit that she felt like that was where she was now, watching Shane this way.

“There’s a passage in Jonah that says, ‘...Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.’ Obviously the You in that passage refers to God, but…do you think that if she hears me, she might come back?” Jenny looked up at Kit, and the latter had never seen anyone look so devastated in all her life.

“She’s not dying, Jenny. They’re just keeping her like this so they can watch her,” Kit reminded, but Jenny shook her head.

“Are you sure she’s not dying? Are you positive?” she asked in a whisper. Kit couldn’t do anything other than shake her head, and Jenny nodded sadly. “Then yes, I think this is my sheol.”

**********

As more time went by and her periods of consciousness got a little longer, Shane began to realize that something was very wrong. This wasn’t just coming down off a very bad high. She still couldn’t open her eyes or move at all, and while it didn’t feel like she was being held down any more, it was even worse to know that she was the one keeping herself wherever she was. It had felt like she was being weighed down by something, but she began to realize that that wasn’t the case. She was just incapable of any sort of movement right now.

Her chest was tight. She wasn’t sure why. It didn’t hurt, exactly, but it felt strange and she wanted to know why that was. Whatever she was lying on was hard and uncomfortable, but she couldn’t change positions to make herself feel any better, so she had to deal with it. Her head felt like it was stuck in a vice, and there seemed to be voices floating around whenever she was conscious enough to hear them. They were always talking, but never really to her. It was more like they were talking around her, and she couldn’t figure out why. She was confused and wanted to get up and ask questions but couldn’t, and it frustrated her so much that she wore herself out trying to move. The blackness came back, but this time she fought against it. It didn’t really matter; even she knew that she didn’t have much of a chance against it. It was too big.

**********

She became aware of a distant humming sound. It was quiet but it was definitely there, and something about it was familiar. She wasn’t sure why, but she could sense that she wasn’t alone. That wasn’t exactly the most comforting thing in the world until she heard Kit’s voice, and this time she was elated that she could at least comprehend more than a sentence at a time.

“You gotta put her back under, then?” she heard Kit ask, somewhat shakily.

“Yes ma’am, we need to see if she’s at all responsive, and we need to do several tests while she’s awake. But she’s been through quite a bit of trauma to several body systems and won’t be able to handle full consciousness right now, so she’ll be given medication to induce the coma again as soon as we do those things.” The man who said this had a gentle voice, and it sounded as if he was used to saying things like that. Shane wondered who the hell he was talking about, and why exactly Kit cared enough about someone in a coma to be asking about them. Maybe she’d heard something on the news and was asking about that person. She’d have to ask her at some point.

She could feel something happening to her arm, and then it seemed like maybe it wouldn’t be as impossible to open her eyes. It was harder than anything she’d ever done, but she really wanted to do it, so she forced herself.

The first thing she saw was Jenny, standing right next to her and looking like she was going to cry. Shane tried to say something to assure her that it was okay, but her throat was too dry to make that a possibility. Kit saw and immediately started to explain things. Shane heard something about a drug overdose and a heart attack, and possible bleeding in the brain, but she tuned it out and focused on Jenny, who had begun to cry as soon as Kit started talking.

Through what seemed like a superhuman effort, she managed to move her hand an inch or so to bring it close to Jenny’s. She had been trying to move her own hand enough to touch hers, but she was way too tired to try anything more right now. It didn’t seem to matter much, because Jenny had already taken her hand and was gripping it tightly. She was crying harder now, though, and Shane was distressed by it. She wasn’t able to voice that, though, and it wouldn’t have made much difference anyway because she could feel the blackness coming again. It wasn’t as intense this time as it had been before, but it was enough. She looked apologetically at Jenny before falling asleep again. As she did, she heard the man say that she’d be going under again very shortly and if they wanted to go home, they could. Shane heard Jenny staunchly refuse, and for a brief second she wondered why the hell Jenny was arguing with the guy. He seemed to know what was going on. But she was way too tired to process it.

**********

It was such a small thing, but it meant the world to Jenny because it had been Shane. She was still in there. The heart attack and the other physical consequences of what she had done hadn’t taken her away somewhere that she couldn’t be found, and Jenny was surprised at how overjoyed she was to realize that.

She held Shane’s hand the rest of that day and long into the night, telling her anything she could think of. Kit, who listened at random intervals, couldn’t come close to piecing anything together from it, but she supposed it didn’t matter much. She’d fielded some questions earlier in the day from the rest of the group and had begged them not to try to come to the hospital. It wouldn’t have done much good anyway, since Shane was still being kept under. For Jenny’s sake, she told them all that she and Jenny were the only ones allowed in at this point in time, as any other people would be too much for Shane in her fragile state.

In all honestly, it was more Jenny’s fragile state that she was worried about. She’d come back from the cafeteria late the other night and had heard Jenny telling Shane exactly how much she meant to her. It wasn’t a long monologue by any means, but Kit certainly got the gist of what was going on and exactly why Jenny had reacted so strongly to the events at the wrap party. She hadn’t wanted to interrupt, so she’d just left and gone back to the cafeteria for a little bit, shaking her head as she went and wondering if it might be too late for all that once Shane was able to wake up. She really hoped it wouldn’t be.

**********

They woke Shane up a few more times over the next couple of days, and then told Jenny that the swelling had gone down and the immediate danger was past. Shane was still going to have a long recovery period due to the physical strain of the heart attack and other various effects of the overdose, so they’d keep her in the hospital for awhile longer until an outpatient rehabilitation program could be come up with. Jenny knew Shane was going to fight them on that one, and she tried to convince them that she only used drugs recreationally and that this had been a mistake.

The doctor in charge said he realized that, but with an overdose resulting in a heart attack the patient would be forced to go to therapy for a period of several months. It was a condition of being released from the hospital. Jenny didn’t think it would go over very well regardless, but said nothing.

Shane was given some kind of drug through the IV that would allow the coma to wear off on its own, but they were told that it might be several hours. Kit elected to go take a walk, but Jenny didn’t want to take any chances and stayed where she was. They’d been told that Shane wouldn’t be able to wake up completely right away, but she wanted to be there for any amount of consciousness she was afforded.

It didn’t take anywhere near as long as she’d been expecting. She’d barely opened her book when she heard Shane clear her throat weakly, and she sat forward to give her a sip of water, which Shane took gratefully. She looked absolutely exhausted and a bit confused, probably because Jenny was grinning like a loon at her.

“It’s all right,” Jenny told her, and gave a short description of what had been going on. Shane did nothing but watch her as she spoke. She was feeling far too tired to really react to the information in any way at the moment, even emotionally, but it was obvious that the entire ordeal had been draining for Jenny and she felt awful for bringing even more pain onto her.

“I’m sorry,” she croaked as soon as Jenny had stopped talking, but Jenny shook her head.

“No, don’t be sorry. Focus on getting better, and then you can be sorry if you want to be. You need that energy for other things right now.” She paused and leaned down to kiss Shane’s cheek. “I’m sorry too. And we’ll talk about it later. Right now I’m just happy you’re awake.”

Shane had drifted off as soon as she started talking, but by the way she was holding her hand, Jenny knew she’d heard at least the majority of it.
Whatever it Takes by MutedTempest
Author's Notes:
This is kinda short and choppy and I'm not sure it makes sense. I'm sorry for that. I don't have a computer right now so this thing was written as an email to myself. lol. I'll write some longer, better ones as soon as I get a computer to myself.
The next few days were harder than anyone had really expected. Shane's physical recovery didn't take much time, but the mental aspects of it seemed to take forever, and Jenny could never be sure that it would ever really come. She stayed day and night, unwilling to leave no matter what the doctors told her about the bad sides to Shane's present and future ordeals. She didn't much care, to be perfectly honest about it. She knew it would be rough, but she was more than willing to grin and bear it for Shane's sake.

She was still angry, though. She hated it, but it was there no matter what she did to stave it off. Every time she looked at Shane lying asleep in the hospital bed, her first instinct was to protect her. But following immediately on the heels of that was a rage that lingered just below the surface of her consciousness, a somewhat irrational fury at the image of Shane and Niki that had left a permanent echo on her retinas.

She'd already forgiven her. It was pointless not to, Shane was already punishing herself enough for all the sins of humanity in their entirety, from the beginning of time to now. But Jenny wasn't sure she'd ever be able to forget. The fact that Shane hadn't done it intentionally to hurt her meant very little. In fact, the more she thought about it the less it seemed to matter, whatever reasoning Shane had used. She'd listened to her that night and had to admit that there was a point there, somewhere amongst all the insanity of the entire stupid thing. But it didn't make her feel any better to know that.

The others knew, now. All of them, and they didn't understand why Jenny was refusing to let them see her. She'd never have admitted to them that Shane had asked her to keep them away, at least for a little while longer. She was ashamed, and while Jenny felt awful for that, she couldn't deny to herself the feeling of intense satisfaction that she got from it, however buried and tiny it might have been.

She'd had a lot of time to comtemplate matters, sitting there next to Shane for days on end while the doctors waited for her physical state to improve. Jenny knew then that she loved her, that she always had. It was impossible not to know that, watching Shane sleep with the tubes running out of her nose and arm, looking extremely fragile. Shane always looked fragile when she slept. Still, despite all that, Jenny had no idea how they could possibly make their way back from what had happened.

She wanted to. She knew that Shane did, too. This bender of hers that had almost resulted in her death proved that. But Jenny knew it was going to take a lot of work. She did trust Shane, and the thing with Niki hadn't changed that. But she wasn't sure she trusted her in the same way. Before, she'd never doubted a thing about her, but now everything was different. The very landscape of their friendship had changed and she had no idea what to do about it, or if she should attempt to do anything.

The only thing she was really certain about was that she wasn't leaving Shane, although sometimes she thought it would be the best thing for both of them. In Shane's rare moments of visible vulnerability, generally right before she dropped off into a restless sleep, Jenny would hear her cry and it broke her heart. She didn't let Shane know that she heard this, having the instinctive knowledge that it would do nothing more than make her feel worse, but every time she heard it she knew that she'd do whatever it took to keep her around.

It wasn't an easy task, though. Shane was absolutely dead set against the idea of forced therapy, although she realized that it was a conditon of her release. She also knew that in the long run it would probably be a good idea, not that it made things any easier to swallow. She'd have told them all to fuck off if she hadn't known that Jenny wanted her to try. She knew she'd fucked things up with her, badly, and if this was the only way she could make things right she'd consent to it, no matter how horrible it made her feel to think about it.

The physical recovery didn't take as long as Shane had expected. It hurt and she felt like shit, but she knew she was pretty much okay before too long. That didn't mean a whole lot, however, since they wouldn't let her up for quite some time even when she felt more than capable of doing things normally. They kept her in bed, saying that after a heart attack one needed lots of rest, especially a heart attack brought on by a drug overdose.

She could see the sense in that, but it didn't make her stop trying. One day not long after the doctor had been in to tell her that she could leave after another week or so of mostly bed rest, she realized that she really needed to use the restroom. Jenny had gone up to the cafeteria at Shane's insistence that she get something to eat, mostly because Shane knew she'd been skipping lots of meals and it made her feel like shit. She could have called the nurse, as she'd been instructed to do when such a problem arose, but she saw no need to bother anyone. She pushed herself out of bed and tried to ignore the flash of pain in her left side as she leaned down to unplug her IV stand. She'd seen the nurse do it what seemed like hundreds of times over the past few days and figured it couldn't be too complicated. She wrapped the cord around the metal stand several times and wheeled it to the bathroom with her.

She fully intended to plug it back in and get back in bed before anyone was the wiser, but she had no such luck. While still behind the closed bathroom door she could hear Jenny making a commotion. Muttering under her breath, Shane quietly opened the door and told her to calm down, she was right there. Jenny looked incredibly relieved but pissed off all at once, and Shane would have laughed if the nurse hadn't come in then to give her a dressing down. She sat through it without a word, and although she didn't tell Jenny that she was horribly embarrassed and upset, she figured she knew since she never said another word about it.

She was so embarrassed by everything that she couldn't handle the thought of any of the others seeing her the way she was now. She knew they already thought of her as a loser and that this wouldn't surprise them in any way. In fact she was pretty sure that they'd been expecting something like this for quite some time now. She was sure none of them were in the least surprised at what had transpired between herself and Niki, and for as much shame as she felt about that she couldn't help but feel that at least she'd managed to live up to expectations. Even Jenny's. She never said it, but it was in her eyes.

She'd begged Jenny to send them away if they came. She wasn't even sure that they would, but once Kit left she was sure that at least a few of them would show up due to Kit's motherly nagging. Shane didn't mind when she visited; she made things seem a little calmer, a little more real. She knew Kit didn't judge her, and that was something she needed. Still, she couldn't handle the others right now, and Jenny seemed to respect that because no one else from the group showed up.

In any other case Shane knew she would have signed the waivers absolving the hospital staff of wrongdoing and simply would have left against medical advice, but with Jenny there constantly worrying over her like a mother hen she lost whatever desire she might have had to do so. It broke her heart to wake up to find that Jenny was still awake after a long night, watching her with deep circles under her eyes. Shane hated it and it made her feel so incredibly guilty that she silently vowed to do anything in the world that Jenny wanted if it would make her feel any better about the situation.

Aside from that, though, she was ashamed of everything that had happened. The fact that she hadn't meant for it to meant nothing. The heart attack was an incredibly stupid thing and she knew better, that was the part that killed her. Granted, she'd been really upset and didn't much care, but that hadn't given her the right to do what she'd done to Jenny. Especially on top of everything she'd already done. She had the distinct feeling that she'd carry the guilt for all of that for many years to come, probably the rest of her life. However long or short a time that turned out to be.

She didn't know how Jenny was able to sit with her. She's thought that after throwing a lamp at her, Jenny would want nothing more to do with her, heart attack or not. Shane wouldn't have blamed her for refusing to come to the hospital. Things had happened so damn quickly and she'd been so out of it that she'd forgotten that she'd listed Jenny as her emergency contact. It had been Alice before, but she'd changed it to Jenny. Still, she'd forgotten that bit of information and had been confused and immensely grateful that Jenny had been the one to show up, whether she deserved her presence or not.

Jenny was trying to make recovery as easy as possible for Shane, although she was still scared of the entire incident itself. She told Shane that and many more things during the nights, while she slept. Jenny was never able to until the very darkest opart of the morning just before the dawn, which she considered fitting. She knew it wasn't healthy, but somehow she couldn't say any of it while Shane was awake. At least not yet.

She told her about the note that Kit had found on the door from Molly, and Shane's jacket folded on the porch. Jenny hadn;t read it yet, instructing Kit to put it on the kitchen table, but said that it could be brought in if Shane wanted to see it. She knew that she really needed to tell her about that one when she was awake, but she didn't want to put any more pressure on Shane right now,

Which was why she told her how she felt while she was sleeping. It was cowardly but it was the only way she could stand to do it.

Little did she know that Shane heard it. Groggily and through a layer of sleeop, but she did hear it, and it made her resolve to foght and to get better even more so she could fix this. Whatever it took.
Internal Struggle by MutedTempest
Author's Notes:
I wrote this as part of my epic fail Nano 2009 attempt.
Shane was so sick of talk therapy she was giving some serious consideration to foregoing the papers she’d signed and simply leaving the hospital against medical advice despite her promises to the doctors, Kit and Jenny. She was just so tired of analyzing why she’d overdosed that she was ready to scream. Wasn’t it obvious? She’d fucked up her life, and had wanted to get away from it for awhile. She hadn’t intentionally given herself a heart attack, but she’d taken the drugs on purpose knowing exactly what they could do. And not exactly caring, at that moment in time.

The therapist the hospital had assigned wasn’t so quick to give up the suicide angle, though, and it was starting to grate on Shane’s nerves. She kept asking if Shane hadn’t meant for the heart attack to happen, even if it was a subconscious decision. No matter how many times Shane insisted that it wasn’t and that she hadn’t, the woman would not let it go.

“Maybe she has a point,” Jenny suggested softly after listening again to Shane’s frustrated complaints about how useless the therapy was turning out to be. Shane sighed and shook her head in response, but she didn’t try to argue verbally. She could understand why Jenny would suggest it, even if she was fighting tooth and nail to convince everyone that she was not, in fact, suicidal in any way. She’d just wanted to escape for a little while, but she was pretty sure that people who weren’t hard drug users wouldn’t really understand that to begin with.

Kit did, that much was obvious. She never really talked about the overdose with Shane, but there was a quiet understanding in her eyes whenever they were together. It wasn’t as often in recent days as it had been in the beginning, since Shane was on the mend and Kit was working more and more. She still made it a point to stop by for at least a while every day, and while she never delved into conversations that might have made things uncomfortable, it was clear that she understood what Shane was and had been going through. At least on some level, which was far more than could be said for most of them. Even Jenny.

Kit usually brought some sort of food along with her when she came to visit, mostly because Shane despised the hospital food and Kit was worried she’d waste away from skipping her meals while she was stuck in there. They all knew it wouldn’t be for too much longer, but she was still being monitored every so often for any potential heart or brain issues. She felt fine, but that didn’t really mean much, since the doctors were fond of telling her that brain swelling and most heart issues could show up without her really feeling them.

So, she let them hook her up to monitors and scanners several times a day, and went for CT scans every so often as well. When she wasn’t being subjected to those things or the therapy, both for addiction and for the “underlying mental issues” that may have contributed to her overdose, she was largely confined to her bed in order to let her heart rest and her body recover. Which would have been completely fine, if she wasn’t so incredibly bored. And if she was allowed to recover at home, she’d have felt so much more comfortable.

She wouldn’t have done that to Jenny, though. Shane wasn’t sure exactly what they were to each other now, or if they could ever go back to being what they’d been. She somewhat doubted it, if she was being honest with herself. She knew they would probably try, but the fear and pain in Jenny’s eyes from the overdose and the residual heartache from the betrayal had left their mark on the friendship, and they both knew it could never be exactly the same no matter how much they wanted it to be, or how hard they tried to make it so.

She didn’t have the heart to really discuss it with her, though. Not yet, anyway. It was obvious that Jenny was still struggling to come to terms with the overdose and its aftermath, and Shane felt that adding the stress of analyzing their friendship at this point in time would be too much for the both of them. Jenny was there with her in the hospital, and for the time being, that was all that really mattered.

She was still trying to assure her that she’d be fine, and to go home and sleep. She wasn’t the only one, either. She knew Kit and at least some of the others were doing exactly the same thing, but Jenny refused to leave the room except to go to the cafeteria when Shane would banish her there several times a day. She was fairly sure Jenny wasn’t using her time up there to actually eat, though, because it was more than obvious that she was losing weight as the days went on. She also wasn’t sleeping, as the ever-increasing black circles under her eyes attested. Shane would wake up most mornings to find Jenny asleep in the chair next to her, looking extremely uncomfortable, and knew that she’d only fallen asleep a short while before.

She knew, both from hearing it vaguely herself and being told by Kit, that Jenny often sat up and talked to her most of the night. Sometimes Shane would fake sleep so she could listen to what was being said, but the heart attack must have worn her out more than she’d anticipated because she was never able to hold out for very long no matter how hard she tried. The things she heard while able to stay awake made her sad, though. Jenny was basically recounting her entire life in a quiet, measured voice, and Shane felt horribly guilty for that after everything that had taken place.

Kit told her, during one of the rare times Jenny had left the room to go find food, that Jenny felt guilty for the overdose. Shane had already suspected it, but having it confirmed nearly broke her heart. “I didn’t say that to make you feel any worse,” Kit assured her. “But that’s why she won’t leave.”

“I keep trying to convince her to go home,” Shane replied sadly. “She shouldn’t have to stay here because I fucked up.”

“That’s what people do when they love each other,” Kit said with a shrug. Shane looked at her in surprise, but Kit waved the questions away. “You know that,” she said as if it were the most obvious thing on earth. Maybe it was; Shane certainly felt as if she should have known. She did know, in the way that they’d been friends for so long, but the way Kit had said it made her think there was something more to the word than she’d given any thought to.

“Don’t worry about all that now,” Kit insisted. “I’ll watch over her, you just work on getting better so you can go home. She’s gonna be fine and so are you.”

Shane nodded slowly. “I want us to be fine with each other,” she said in a bare whisper, almost unaware that she was voicing the desire out loud.

“I know, and you’ll work it out. Two of you been friends way too long to let this shit break it,” Kit said, her emphatic conviction leaving little room for doubt. Shane wanted to believe it, but after what she’d done, both with Niki and now this idiotic overdose, she wasn’t sure it was able to be saved. She wanted it to be, though.

Still, she didn’t mention it when Jenny came back to the room, mostly because Jenny was starting to look like death warmed over. The poor thing was obviously exhausted, and although she assured Shane that she was eating on her trips to the cafeteria, it was pretty evident that she wasn’t. When she made a move to sit back in her chair next to Shane’s bed, Shane shook her head.

“I want you to go home and sleep tonight,” she told her quietly. Before Jenny could protest, she continued. “I’m fine, but you need to sleep, and not here.” Jenny looked ready to launch into why this was both unnecessary and a bad idea when Kit chimed in that she should indeed go home. After being gently scolded by both of them for a few minutes, Jenny relented and agreed to go sleep in her own bed. For that night, anyway.

“Thank you,” Shane told her softly, and the smile she got in return made everything seem worth it after all. No matter how much they needed to work out, that smile told Shane that at least they stood a chance.

**********

Jenny sighed when she walked into the house. It was clean, more than it usually would have been thanks to the fact that Helena and Kit had come over and made sure that it was looked after while Jenny spent her time with Shane. Still, the lingering smell of Pinesol and bleach didn’t erase what had happened. The lamp was back in its rightful place, probably glued back together by Helena, but the memory of throwing it at Shane was a little too much to bear and she made a mental note to throw it away for good the first chance she got.

She sighed and got Sounder ready for a walk. She felt bad for neglecting him so much lately, although she knew that he was being well looked after and fed and walked on a regular basis. Kit even seemed to have taken a liking to him after calling him a rat dog until very recently, so she was sure he was getting enough attention. He seemed overjoyed to have her home, though, and bounced happily along ahead of her as they circled the block a time or two before going back inside, where she cuddled him a little bit and thought.

She still couldn’t quite believe that things had gotten so out of hand. She’d never intended to act the way she had, especially not toward Shane. While she knew the situation wasn’t entirely her fault, she couldn’t help but blame herself for everything anyway. She knew it wouldn’t really do much good, but she couldn’t stave off the idea that she had almost killed her best friend with her overreaction to events that she herself had let mean a little too much.

Not that she completely absolved Shane of blame. She was hurt, and knew she probably always would be, at least a little. Still, she knew that the majority of her anger was a direct result of the feelings she had for Shane, feelings she hadn’t shared when the events had occurred. While she knew it was senseless to blame Shane for them and to hold her accountable for them, she couldn’t help but feel angry anyway.

She knew she needed to explain it to Shane. Explain everything, since that was the only way they’d ever be able to work though this and become anything close to what they had once been. She didn’t know quite how to do that, though, since Shane was still in her recovery period and the last thing jenny wanted to do was cause her any more stress and pain. She also wanted to save herself the heartache of hearing once and for all that Shane didn’t feel the same way about her.

She had no real idea if she did or didn’t, honestly, but the possibility that Shane didn’t love her in quite the same way was something she battled with daily in her head. It was why she hadn’t said anything that night on the couch with the bong, when she’d first realized it in all its clarity. She was far too frightened that Shane wouldn’t reciprocate.

She knew Shane loved her. That wasn’t the issue. They loved each other deeply and had for a very long time, but there was a new facet to it now and Jenny was deathly afraid that she’d missed her chance. Shane had seemed head over heels about Molly, and while Jenny wasn’t fully aware of what had happened between them, she knew that Shane was hurting and had been since it happened.

She stared at the letter and folded jacket which Kit had placed on the kitchen table. She knew that touching either item would be a gigantic breach of Shane’s privacy, and she didn’t want to be that person. They’d never been that way, as roommates or as friends, and she didn’t want to start now even if her curiosity was killing her. Shane had brushed it off when Jenny had suggested the note be brought to her in the hospital, but she thought that maybe if she took it in herself in the morning, Shane might be more receptive.

It was a lot harder than she’d anticipated to leave it alone, though. She fixed herself something small to eat from the groceries that had magically appeared in the refrigerator courtesy of Helena and went to bed, but lying there with the moonlight spilling over the blankets, all she wanted to do was go back to the kitchen, read the letter and put it back as if nothing had happened at all. Knowing that to do such a thing would be wrong was doing very little to quell the desire, and Jenny sighed and rolled over onto her stomach in an attempt to stop thinking about it.

It worked, somewhat. Shane and Kit and all the others had been right, she was exhausted. Sleep came quickly, but when it did, dreams followed, all of them having to do with the letter and with Shane and Niki together, laughing at her as her heart broke into pieces at her feet.

**********

Shane managed to sit through her therapy session the next morning, although she still had to wonder what the point to it all was. The therapist still wasn’t listening to her, and she felt fine and just wanted to go home.

They told her that there had been some abnormal readings during one of her scans that morning, though. She couldn’t remember which one, and even if she had, she wouldn’t have known what it meant to begin with. So she simply got back in bed as she was told and waited for Jenny.

It didn’t take long. Jenny stuck her head in the room at a little past ten, glancing around nervously to check that she wasn’t interrupting anything. Not that she would have been; Shane was basically left to herself unless it was time for a scan or an appointment, or they needed to give her some kind of food or medication, both of which she felt she could easily have done without.

“It’s okay,” Shane said gently after Jenny had been standing in the doorway looking at her shyly for a few moments. “You can come in if you want to.”

Jenny shook her head sheepishly and walked over to the bed, hugging Shane hello and slipping something into her hand. “Molly’s letter,” she said in response to Shane’s confused look. “I know you said you didn’t want to read it, but it was just sitting on the kitchen table and I thought maybe you’d like to read it at some point.”

“Thanks,” Shane replied. She’d been honest when she said she didn’t care much about reading it, but she had to admit she was a little curious as to what it said anyway. It seemed like forever since she and Molly had called it quits, but she was still in Shane’s thoughts quite a bit, especially late at night as she was trying to sleep. That was the case with most of her regrets, though, and lately Jenny had been in the forefront of her mind so often that she’d practically disregarded Molly entirely.

She was still sad over the way things had turned out, but salvaging what she could with Jenny meant far more to her than anything with Molly possibly could. Still, it was nice to know that despite the way things had transpired, Molly hadn’t forgotten her completely. Maybe she’d read the letter later that day, if she couldn’t sleep after her next group therapy session or something.

“How are you feeling?” Jenny asked, startling Shane back to the present situation. It was a stupid question, especially in a hospital setting, but Shane forgave her for it. It was human nature to ask, even if the answer as fairly obvious given the circumstances. Jenny seemed to realize how idiotic the question was the second it had left her mouth, because she looked at the floor in embarrassment. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Shane assured her. “And so am I. There was a weird reading on one of the scans so I’m stuck in bed all day, but I feel fine.”

“What kind of weird reading?” Jenny asked, immediately concerned. She sighed when Shane simply shrugged at the question.

“I wish I could tell you,” Shane answered honestly. “I never have any idea what they're talking about.”

“Yeah, I never really do either,” Jenny admitted. “If they want you to stay in bed it must be serious, though.”

“I doubt it, they didn’t even send the doctor in,” Shane replied. “They probably will later, but if it was that serious they’d have done that already. Don’t worry.”

Jenny sighed and tried not to, although it was hard. She was always worried, and had spent the night tossing and turning from nightmares about the bad things that could have happened to Shane throughout the night. For all Jenny knew, her condition might have worsened by degrees until she was near death or worse, and she never would have known. The fact that she was an emergency contact meant nothing to her, because she was under the impression that if something bad were to really happen, she’d be called afterward regardless. She tried to shake off the feeling. Shane was talking to her and was fine, for the most part. She didn’t know the extent of the “weird reading” as Shane had described it, but she figured that if it were truly something dire, there would be several doctors and nurses milling about in the background anyway.

So she tried to act as normal as possible and told Shane about her night at home. She’d ended up doing next to nothing except getting some food and then tossing and turning for hours, but she fudged a little and told Shane that she’d gotten some restorative sleep. She could tell Shane didn’t fully believe her from the appraising look and smirk she got in response, but Shane said nothing to challenge her. Jenny was glad; there were far more important things to worry about.

**********

One by one, the rest of the group got shot down in their attempts to visit. Shane wasn’t in the mood to see any of them, and while she knew they probably meant well, she just couldn’t handle it right now. Kit was allowed, as was Helena, but aside from them and of course Jenny Shane just wasn’t feeling ready.

She was still ashamed, something she was trying to work out in therapy. She knew that she really had no reason to be, but she was anyway, senseless as it might have been. She knew Jenny understood that, although they hadn’t really talked about it. She would ask every day whether Shane wanted to see the others, but when Shane begged off she never said a word about it either way. Shane was grateful that she didn’t have to explain that on top of everything else.

She’d tried several times to get up the courage to tell Jenny exactly why she’d done what she’d done, but she was never able to get there. Jenny would simply wave her explanations away, insisting that it didn’t matter now. The only problem with that was that Shane knew it did matter, both in the friendship itself and in the possible rectification of anything for the future.

She read Molly’s letter while Jenny went up to the cafeteria that afternoon. Kit was talking to one of the nurses about something or other; she couldn’t be sure exactly what since they were standing just outside the door and speaking in low voices. She was happy for it, though, because it gave her a few minutes to herself.

She skimmed through the words. Romantic and sweet, but for as nice as they were, she couldn’t help but feel as if there was something missing from them. It was very nice to read that Molly would accept her for who and what she was, but even that didn’t really add the element of familiarity Shane felt was missing from the letter. It was nice and it was incredibly beautiful, but Shane felt as though it could have been addressed to almost anyone. There was nothing…personal? She had no idea what the correct word was, but she didn’t really feel as if Molly had been writing to her so much as to a romantic ideal.

The letter was still sweet, and she knew she should probably contact the girl sometime soon. That idea scared her to death, though.

To her own surprise, she wordlessly handed the letter to Jenny when she came back. Kit had stopped her right outside the room and told her something, but Jenny didn’t have a chance to go into the spiel before Shane handed her the letter. She looked like she wanted to refuse, but seeing the expression on Shane’s face she sighed and read it. After a few moments she looked back at Shane again. “This is very sweet,” she said, seeming lost for any other words at the moment.

“Yeah,” Shane agreed.

“Do you want me to call her and tell her that you’re here?”

“I don’t know,” Shane hedged.

“I can, whenever you’re ready,” Jenny assured her. When Shane didn’t say anything, she decided that she might as well tell her what had been said in the hallway. “Kit told me that the nurse says your heart rate has been a little elevated the last few times they’ve checked it. They want you on bed rest the next couple days to try to get it back down again.”

Shane just nodded. It had been about what she was expecting.

“It probably doesn’t have anything to do with the heart attack, but they want to be careful.” Shane just nodded again, and Jenny sighed. “I want you to be careful. Don’t worry about this right now, it isn’t important. If you feel like it when you’re better you can call her and try to fix it, but I want you to be better first. I don’t want you to stress yourself out. You really scared me…”

“I’m so sorry,” Shane said in what sounded like more of a half-sob, taking Jenny’s hand and holding onto it for dear life. “I never meant to do that.” She didn’t elaborate, but it was pretty clear that she meant everything that had happened, up to and including the overdose and heart attack.

“Shhhhhh, I know,” Jenny soothed. “It’ll be all right.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Jenny answered with a nod. It had been one of the things she’d been tossing and turning about all night. Whether or not she was willing to forgive. She was; that much was abundantly clear. She loved Shane far too much to cut her out of her life completely. “I don’t know if I can forget what happened, but we’ve meant too much to each other for me not to forgive you.”

“I’m not asking you to forget,” Shane whispered. “I understand if you can’t forgive me.”

“I didn’t say I couldn’t,” Jenny interrupted softly. “It’s just going to take some time.” She sighed and decided to go ahead and say what she’d realized the night before. “There were some circumstances that made me angrier than I would have been otherwise, and I shouldn’t have used them against you.” She held up a hand so Shane wouldn’t break in. “I’m still angry with you, and I probably will be for awhile. But I don’t want you to worry. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Thank you,” Shane whispered. She didn’t ask for details on what these other circumstances had been; Jenny would tell her in her own time, if and when she felt like it. For Shane, it was more than enough that she was willing to work toward forgiveness.

Jenny opened her mouth to say more, but after glancing at Shane and seeing the dark circles under her eyes, she decided against it. “You sleep,” she said in what she hoped was a soothing voice. “We can talk more later. Don’t worry about anything now.” And for as much as Shane wanted to settle things and get everything between them out in the open, she was suddenly too tired to disobey.

**********

The confession, when it came, was unheeded. Shane really had no idea what caused her to mention it at all. She’d talked Molly’s letter over a little more with Jenny, and while she was honest with her about it meaning very little, she wanted to explain things as best she could. She hoped that if all the cards were on the table Jenny might have an easier time with the entire situation, whether that was true or not. Still, she wanted to be as honest as she could, especially after what had happened. She knew Jenny would never inquire that deeply into it and ask her exactly what had led to the overdose, and she wasn’t sure she could explain it even if she tried, because she didn’t really know that herself. But it was important to her that she not try to hide anything, and that she share everything with Jenny rather than try to bur it like she did almost everything else.

Jenny took the news of what Phyllis had said rather hard, and although Shane was quick to insist that their conversation alone wasn’t responsible for the events that had followed it, Jenny didn’t seem to share this notion. She was steadfast in the belief that Phyllis’ words had set off the chain of events that had led to so much destruction, even when Shane tried to dissuade her from that idea.

Jenny did concede that she understood that Shane’s choices were her own and that she couldn’t use what had happened as a sort of scapegoat. She was still angry and knew that she would be for quite some time, even if she was a lot more understanding of things now. It still didn’t take away the feelings of anger and betrayal, but at least it was something.

She was far more concerned that Shane had acted out the way she had instead of simply talking with her, or with anyone she cared about. The fact that Shane actually seemed to believe what Phyllis had said really bothered Jenny, so much so that she was afraid to really comment on it. She’d known about Shane’s avoidance tactics for a very long time now, but it was rare that they went to such an extreme. She really hoped the forced therapy would help, although she knew it’d be a long struggle if it ended up doing any good at all. She tried to remain hopeful, though. Shane did seem to have a genuine desire to work through things, although Jenny had the sneaking suspicion that she was wanting it so badly in order to reconcile with her, and that made her almost unbearably sad.

She didn’t mention it, though. The news from Kit about the scan had frightened her, and for as much as they were talking and sharing these last few days Jenny was wont to stress Shane out any more than she absolutely needed to. She was starting to feel incredibly guilty for bringing Molly‘s letter in at all, although she knew Shane had been wanting to read it ever since she‘d first heard about it. She’d figured it was best to get it out of the way rather than putting it off and leaving Shane to wonder about it.

This wasn’t the time to bring it up, though. Or anything else, for that matter. Shane looked exhausted, and Jenny was worried. She knew things would more than likely be just fine, and she’d been assured by the doctors that rest was all she needed and that she‘d be able to go home very soon, but it was still difficult to see her that way.

Kit insisted that they leave late that afternoon so they could give Shane a chance to really sleep. Jenny didn’t want to leave, but finally acquiesced when Shane told her to go. Jenny sighed and agreed to go with Kit to get some coffee at the Planet. From the second they left Shane’s room, Jenny started talking and didn’t stop for nearly half an hour as Kit drove. They didn’t end up at the Planet after all, since Jenny seemed to need to vent so badly. Kit just drove, letting the poor girl say what she needed to.

When she seemed to be done talking, Kit simply sighed. “I wish I had an answer for you,” she said sadly. She did want to give Jenny some advice on how to handle the situation, but it was just too complicated to have an easy solution. It was going to take a lot of time and even more effort to make things any sort of right, and while she was confident they could pull it off, it was probably going to be harder than anything they’d faced before, either individually or as friends. She voiced this to Jenny, who nodded knowingly.

“I really don’t know what to do,” Jenny said sadly as the car finally neared the Planet.

“Just let things happen,” Kit replied. “It’s gonna take a long time. You gotta let her work some things out for herself. Just be there.”

“I’m going to be, but I’m still angry,” Jenny admitted. She was still somewhat ashamed for feeling that way after Shane had nearly died, but she couldn’t help it. She knew Kit wouldn’t judge her for it, though.

“You have every right to be, but you gotta work through that on your own. I’m not saying she don’t need to make it up to you, but that girl’s been through a hell of a lot because of it. If you wanna stay her friend, you gotta just put that shit on the shelf,” Kit said, trying to advise and make her way through traffic at close to rush hour simultaneously. Jenny knew she was right, but it still felt as if it was going to be an insurmountable task. One she wasn’t sure she could actually pull off, although she wanted to more than just about anything.

“I think you need to be honest with her about how you feel,” Kit continued when she’d somehow managed to make it into the parking lot and get the car shut off without killing them both. Jenny was silent as they walked in and waved hello to Helena, who poured coffee for them without a word. Kit gave her a quick update on Shane’s condition as she took their cups, and she and Jenny headed for a table toward the back of the café. Helena promised to join them as soon as the after-work rush was over.

There was peaceful silence between them for a little while as they relaxed and sipped their coffee. Jenny was trying to decide whether or not it was a good idea to admit to Shane how she felt about her. She would eventually, but with the scan results today and the letter from Molly on top of it, she was unsure if telling her now would be such a good idea.

Kit seemed to see this internal struggle. “I didn’t mean you need to tell her today,” she said gently, noticing the worried expression on Jenny’s face. “Just sometime soon. I think she deserves that.”

“She does,” Jenny agreed with a nod. And for as scared as she was about actually telling her, she knew Kit was right. It needed to be done and Shane did deserve to know. She just had no idea how to actually say the words, or what effect they’d have. Obviously things were different between them now and her feelings were a large part of that, but she was still scared of actually admitting the reason she’d reacted so strongly to Shane, especially in the aftermath of her overdose. She did think it needed to be done, though.

Which was probably why she simply said the words when she got back to Shane’s room. They were prefaced with a warning, but Shane was all right physically. Jenny got confirmation from the doctors on that one, so she felt a little more confident in telling her. She’d been scared it might set her back a little.

Shane was obviously surprised, but she didn’t seem shocked. Nor did she seem angry, which was a huge relief to Jenny. She insisted that she didn’t expect anything of Shane, especially not after what had taken place, but told her that she’d needed to get it out there.

There was no response for a second until Shane motioned her over to the bed. She’d stayed in it all day as the doctor had advised, and the readings seemed to have gone back to normal. She was going to have to take it easy for the next few days, but seeing the dark circles under Jenny’s eyes made that incredibly easy to take. The last thing she wanted to do was cause her any more worry.

So she simply kissed her instead.
Realizations by MutedTempest
Jenny had been true to her word and had called Molly the night before. Shane had insisted that she could do it herself, but she realized that she really didn’t know what to say or how to tell her that what had happened. Jenny seemed willing to do it, and Shane thought she might be able to explain things a little better in person.

Neither of them really knew what to say, so they just smiled nervously for a minute or two. That didn’t really get them anywhere, but it was all they could think to do given the circumstances. That was, until Molly opened her mouth and apologized for the way things had gone.

It made Shane pause, but after a minute of confused silence she shook her head and insisted that Molly had had nothing to do with the overdose. Which was true, for the most part. Obviously what had happened had contributed, however indirectly, but Shane still didn’t feel that Molly had been in any way responsible for it. Nor had events with her made a bit of difference in the long run.

When she tried to explain this, though, Molly shrugged it off and went into what Shane could only describe as a holier-than-thou diatribe about how life’s setbacks shouldn’t cause one to go so far off the handle that they endangered themselves and caused others to worry. Shane sat through it, mostly because she didn’t really have a choice unless she wanted to call security and have Molly thrown out, and she didn’t. It wasn’t as if she could blame her. Molly wasn’t saying these things to be condescending, she was simply upset.

So she let her ramble for about five minutes about things, things that she really knew nothing about. Shane didn’t interrupt, though, feeling that it would be pretty pointless to do so. She knew that Molly wasn’t saying these things to be intentionally hurtful, and that it was simply her way of trying to help. But she was damned if it wasn’t incredibly irritating.

She realized she must have zoned out and stopped listening, because Molly was staring at her expectantly and people usually only tended to do that when you were supposed to say something. Shane racked her brain and tried to remember if she’d been asked a question and could come up with nothing, so she simply stared at her blankly. “What?”

Molly sighed and said that she’d asked if Shane was going to try to fix things in her life. Shane bristled a little at the insinuation that her life wasn’t good enough as it was, although she did see the point beneath all the things Molly was saying. It didn’t exactly feel good to have her ex tell her that she needed to get her ass in gear, though, and this little meeting was only serving to remind Shane of the night with the rolling blackouts, where she’d overhead Molly telling Phyllis that she was simple.

It had hurt. She’d tried not to let it, knowing tat Molly didn’t mean it in quite the way it sounded. But it stung to know that someone she cared for thought of her as something of a lower life form simply because she wasn’t as educated or as cultured or as whatever the fuck Molly had been all her life. She couldn’t help remembering that now as Molly kept going on about how stupid the overdose had been and what a bad way it was to react to events, as if she hadn’t already known or been able to figure that out by herself.

She then went on to claim that she’d meant everything she said in the letter, and Shane had to try hard to keep herself from scoffing. She was now convinced that the pretty words had been generic, and while Molly had obviously had good intentions to accept her as she was and to love her anyway, the reality was different. Not that Shane could really blame her for it, but she didn’t want to be someone’s pet project. For as much as she hated thinking in such a way, she felt that a project was all she’d been to most of the people she’d been with.

Shane felt she finally had to interrupt when Molly went on for more than five minutes about something, and the tangent was threatening to turn into something completely nonsensical. It had something to do with helping her through therapy and rehab and whatever else she needed to do to get her life in order, but Shane had stopped paying attention by that point.

“You shouldn’t have to do that,” she said quietly. It worked, in the sense that Molly stopped babbling. But she wasn’t entirely quiet.

“I want to do it,” she insisted.

“From the opposite coast?” Shane couldn’t resist asking.

Molly started to explain that Shane was more important to her than school or her internship or anything else right now and that she could either transfer or take a break, but Shane sighed. “I don’t want you to rearrange your life. I’ll be fine.”

“I still want to help,” Molly said, and it was fairly obvious she wasn’t going to give that up no matter how much Shane protested. So she simply gave up and told her that while the letter had been very sweet, she needed to work some things out herself before she tried to be in any kind of relationship again. Molly said she understood, but that she’d be there whenever Shane was ready. She just hoped Shane would really take the initiative to get better.

Tired of listening to the lecture, intentional or not, Shane tuned her out a little and wondered when Jenny was going to come back. She’d left not long after calling Molly and telling her the situation, and from what Shane had been able to gather, Molly hadn’t been too surprised by the recent events. She’d mentioned Phyllis’s tirade and had said that Shane couldn’t be held totally responsible for things, and that of course she’d come to the hospital to see her. Shane had waited nervously for her to get there, admitting to herself that she was hopeful. Her hopes had been dashed once Molly arrived, though.

It hadn’t taken her long to launch into lecture mode, although when she’d first gotten there she’d given Shane an awkward hug and told her that she knew all about the thing with her mother, that it was inexcusable and that she now understood why Shane had left her as well as the things she’d done afterward. It was nice to know that people seemed to be on her side after hearing about what Phyllis had said to her, but it didn’t really make things feel any better. Especially since Molly was still going on about how fucked up Shane’s life and her reactions to events in it were.

“You do know that, right?” Molly asked, although what she was specifically referring to was lost on Shane. She wouldn’t have given much of a damn even if she knew what she was talking about.

“Yeah, I know,” she muttered, more to shut Molly up than to admit to anything. She was a little upset that she’d been so hopeful earlier. She’d honestly been hoping that maybe Molly really was different. Maybe she’d really meant the pretty words she’d written, and would accept Shane for who she was. It had been so stupid to hope for that, though. Molly had proven their first night together that she didn’t love who Shane was as a person. She may have accepted it, simply because she didn’t really have a choice, but Shane realized now that she’d never been loved for it, or even in spite of it. The pretty words had been just that, words.

What struck her as sad was the fact that Molly kept rambling on about how much she cared for her and wanted to support her during her recovery. Shane had to make a sincere effort to keep from laughing. She knew Molly probably meant the words, in her own way, as she said them, but the entire situation was a little too much for Shane. She was starting to believe that she’d been right all along. No matter what she did or how much she changed, it was never going to be enough for anyone.

Not that she could really blame them. She knew she had problems. It was why she usually tried to stay away from most people. Molly had been an exception, but she’d wound up proving the rule. It hadn’t been in a dramatic way, but she’d proven it nonetheless. Shane found herself wishing that she’d ended things before she had. Maybe she could have spared her feelings a little that way. She knew she’d get over it, but it still hurt to know that the person she’d liked so much hadn’t really been a person, but an ideal.

That seemed to be the same case for Molly when it came to her and the expectations for the relationship, though. It was painfully obvious that Molly was intent on fixing her, and even after the overdose and the heart attack the last thing Shane wanted was for anyone to try to fix her. She just wanted to be accepted, fuckups and all. Even if that acceptance was tinged with anger. It wasn't that she wanted to be allowed to skate by and never be called on her actions, she just didn't want to feel like she needed to change who and what she was to be acceptable to someone. That was how she was starting to feel with Molly, and it made her really sad.

Thankfully, Molly's lecture didn't go on much longer. She said she was happy that Shane was all right, that she'd been worried about her. Shane could see that she meant it, and a little bit of her annoyance dissipated. She knew Molly didn't mean to come off the way she was, but she also knew that there was no way they could ever make it work. Molly wanted things Shane couldn't give her, and she didn't want to hurt herself by trying to live up to someone else's ideal.

She wished Molly well in her academic endeavors, and was sincere about it. She really did want her to do well and to be happy. When she was gone, Shane sighed and collapsed back into the pillows. The conversation had taken a lot out of her, and while she was pretty much completely recovered physically, the stress wore on her.

Jenny came back before too long. She didn't ask how it had gone, but Shane figured it must have been pretty obvious. They'd always been able to pick up on each other's moods fairly easily, and while Shane wasn't devastated, she was a little downhearted about the whole thing. Instead of asking about Molly, Jenny simply told her that she'd be able to come home soon and that she was going to ask Max to make sure her room was all right. It was all she said, and while Shane knew she wasn't being completely forgiven for anything yet, the fact that Jenny wanted her in the house was something.
Hiccup by MutedTempest
Author's Notes:
Wrote this for my Epic NanoWrimo Fail 2010. As always, it's for DD.
She saw lights again. Well, what looked like lights, anyway. It might have been one big light, since there didn’t seem to be any space between them. More a fuzzy sort of half light, almost as if her eyes were nearly closed or something. Or maybe it was all just a dream, the lights or non-lights above and the voices, the feeling that she was moving but having no idea how…

“It’s okay, Shane,” she heard, in a familiar voice. Jenny was talking to her, and for some reason that message had gotten through the fog of the other voices. She had the sense that Jenny was still talking, somewhere, but she couldn’t make out the words anymore. She couldn’t see the light things anymore either, and everything else was fading too, including the sharp pain in her head. Deciding it couldn’t be too important if it was all going away anyway, Shane decided to stop worrying about it, and everything mercifully went black.

**********

“It’s fairly common after an overdose of this magnitude,” the on-call doctor told Jenny as she stood in the small waiting room outside the surgical ward. “We’ve stopped the bleeding and she looks all right from what we can see, but we’ll have to monitor her for a while to make sure there’s no lasting damage.”

Jenny heard the words, but they didn’t mean much to her at the moment. The whole thing made no sense. Shane had been getting ready to come back home in a couple days, and they’d been talking about some movie or other pretty happily when Shane had suddenly slapped her hand to her head and grimaced in pain. A few seconds later, she’d collapsed back onto the bed and hadn’t answered Jenny’s increasingly alarmed questions. She’d called the nurse, who had taken one look at Shane and ordered some code or other. Jenny had been ushered out of the room by the very nurse she’d called in, and had watched as Shane had been wheeled out to surgery.

“I thought she was doing well after the heart attack,” Jenny mumbled, still not feeling very with it as she spoke to the doctor, who looked at her sympathetically. Jenny barely noticed and had no energy to care that he seemed to pity her.

“She was. Her recovery from it was much faster than expected, but a cocaine overdose can also raise blood pressure. She’d had some spikes in her readings over the past few days and we were keeping an eye on it, but none so high as to indicate bleeding in the brain was a possibility,” the doctor said, shifting nervously from one foot to the other.

Jenny didn’t do more than nod at him, though. She was still trying to process how suddenly it had happened. One second she’d been talking to Shane like everything was normal, and the next, things were just as bad as they’d been the first night.

Not that she blamed Shane, of course. She didn’t feel that she could, even in spite of the overdose. Maybe if she hadn’t been such a bitch about the whole Niki thing, none of this would be happening. She knew it was a bad idea to blame herself, but at the moment, she couldn’t seem to help it. Although she’d been assured that the bleeding had been stopped and that Shane would recover once again, she couldn’t shake the fear she felt.

It didn’t get any better when Kit arrived, although she had to give her credit for trying. Jenny watched her talk to doctors and nurses and pull out her phone to call the others and tell them what had happened. Jenny wondered if that was a good idea, then realized that Shane would probably be in recovery and the ICU for at least a day, so there shouldn’t be a huge influx of people right away. Which was good for her, at least. She felt slightly guilty for feeling that way until she remembered that Shane needed all the rest she could get and that she hadn’t much wanted to see the others during the time she’d been in here anyway.

“Jenny, baby,” she heard Kit say, and looked over at her, startled. “I think you might be in shock. How about you come with me and we’ll go sit down in Shane’s room? They’re not gonna bother letting someone else have it, Shane should be back there before long.” Jenny nodded, but made no move to go anywhere until she felt Kit’s arm go around her shoulders. She realized she was being gently directed back to Shane’s room and let this happen, not really caring and feeling too detached to care that she didn’t care.

She didn’t really remember how the rest of the night had gone. All she could really recall was that Kit had gotten her one of the blankets at the end of Shane’s bed when they’d gotten back to the room, and wrapped it around her tightly. Which was good, because she was colder than she’d realized. Then she was instructed to lie down on the cot she’d been sleeping on, and she obeyed, turning away from Shane’s empty bed and falling asleep almost immediately, having a vague recognition that Kit was in the armchair beside her.

She woke with a start the next morning to find the bed empty, and had to push down a feeling of panic in her stomach at the sight. She knew it was ridiculous to worry, since she’d been told by both the doctor and later Kit that Shane would be kept in recovery overnight and possibly longer before she was brought back to the room. Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling of dread, especially when she noticed that Kit was no longer in the armchair or the room at all.

She came back before long, though, carrying two cups of coffee and a bag of muffins from the cafeteria. “Doctor says she’ll be up there for the morning so they can keep an eye on her, then they’ll being her back here. Gonna have to put some new machines in though, so I don’t know if you’ll be able to sleep on the cot anymore,” Kit told her as she set the food and coffee down. Jenny just nodded to show she’d heard, unable to process the information yet. It was too soon for her brain to function, especially without coffee. She stood and shuffled over to the little table, taking one of the cups gratefully. The coffee itself was disgusting but strong, and it helped to revive her a little.

She was still somewhat cloudy, though. In a detached way, she wondered if she might not still be in shock, then figured it didn’t make much difference even if she was. Shane and her health was all that mattered right now, and despite hearing that she was all right and resting in recovery, Jenny had the urge to see her immediately.

Kit seemed to understand, but ordered her to eat one of the muffins and take a quick shower first, promising that she’d go find the doctor and ask if it was okay for them to be in the recovery room. Jenny almost asked her why it wouldn’t be okay, then thought better of it when she saw Kit’s expression. Deciding to do as she was told, Jenny forced down a very dry baked good and more disgusting coffee and locked herself in the small bathroom.

She stayed longer in the shower than she would have liked, without really realizing it. She was in such a daze that she didn’t feel the time passing, and by the time she got out, got dressed in some of the clean clothes Kit had gotten for her at some point – this morning? Last night? – and stepped back into the room, almost an hour had passed. Kit didn’t seem to mind, though. She was sitting there watching the news and looking tired but not very stressed.

“Doctor says we can go up anytime. They don’t wanna move her until after lunch is over tomorrow, and she’s sleeping off the anesthesia anyway.” Jenny nodded, refusing to think about what anesthesia had been used for. She knew, intellectually, but thinking about it sent her into a mild panic and she didn’t think she could handle it right now.

Kit seemed to notice how upset she was, because she patted the chair next to hers. When Jenny obliged and sat down, she found herself being pulled into a big hug. She tried not to cry, but a few tears snuck out regardless and she hugged back with all her might.

“She’s gonna be just fine,” she heard Kit assuring her, but it didn’t help much. She didn’t argue, though, and just stayed where she was for a minute or two until she felt a little more pulled together. When she sat back up, Kit handed her a sandwich and insisted she eat it. She wasn’t hungry in the slightest, but Jenny obeyed and actually did feel a little better after. Not much, and she was still worried and somewhat detached, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been before, and she counted it as progress.

She’d slept fairly late and since her shower had gone on longer than she’d intended, it was time to go see Shane before long. Jenny felt a little conflicted as she followed the nurse and Kit to the post-op ICU area. She was worried about Shane and wanted to see her more than just about anything, but at the same time she wasn’t sure she’d be able to handle seeing her all bandaged up and unconscious again. She hadn’t had time to deal with the heart attack yet, and here she was again, this time worse than before. Well, it might not have been worse, but since she’d seen it happen Jenny felt like it was.

The nurse stopped at the side of a bed that had a curtain drawn partway around it for privacy, smiled, and told them to take their time. Jenny heard Kit thank her, but she wasn’t paying much attention herself. All she could focus on was the lump under the blankets in front of her that the curtain didn’t completely hide from view. Before she really knew what she was doing, Jenny had pulled the curtain back and gotten as close to the bed as she dared to.

Shane didn’t look too bad, all things considered. Her face was a bit more pale than usual and the bandage around her head didn’t do much for her looks, but aside from that she looked all right. Jenny didn’t want to get her hopes up from this alone, but she couldn’t help it. She’d been so terrified that Shane would be visibly unwell that she was incredibly relieved to find the opposite, however senseless that really was. She was fully aware that bleeding in the brain wouldn’t have many outward signs, but it still did her good to see that Shane looked pretty close to normal.

“I don’t think we should wake her up…” Kit said softly. Jenny gave a slight nod; she hadn’t been planning on it, although she was vaguely aware that her right hand had been edging closer and closer to Shane’s without her having realized it. She pulled it back to herself quickly and heard what sounded like a stifled laugh.

It hadn’t come from Kit. Jenny had to lean in to hear her, and she was rasping, but Shane’s amused “I’m awake,” was one of the best things Jenny could remember hearing.

**********

Shane was brought back to her own room late the next afternoon, still groggy from the emergency surgery and the effects of the anesthesia. She appeared to be in good shape from all the readings and tests, and although she was sleepy and kept drifting in and out of consciousness, she assured Jenny that she was going to be fine. She didn’t elaborate on that, but it was said with such an air of determination that Jenny didn’t doubt her. There were a hundred things she wanted to say, but was completely unable to care about Shane’s attitudes toward therapy and recovery at the moment. She was far too relieved and tired for that, although she knew there would be a lot of talking later. Not that it mattered now; she was way too tired to care, and Shane wasn’t able to stay awake long enough to do much anyway.

Kit drifted in and out of the room, leaving a few times to go get Jenny more clothes and things she needed from the house, and bringing back food and good coffee. Jenny appreciated it. She was so busy watching Shane like a hawk that she barely dared to leave her side or sleep, and without Kit looking after her she’d probably have wound up an inpatient too. Kit never bothered her and seemed to understand that she wanted to be alone with Shane, because she rarely stayed after letting Jenny know that Sounder and the house were fine and asking if there was anything she needed. Jenny hardly ever did, because Kit was great at anticipating what she might need. When she had the time to think about it, usually after Shane had drifted off once again, she was grateful for being taken care of in such a way and made a mental note to get Kit a nice gift when this whole thing was over.

It wouldn’t be for quite some time, though. The incident and surgery after had set Shane’s recovery back a great deal, both physically and mentally. They’d been told that her prognosis was good, that they’d been able to stop the bleeding fairly quickly and that there should be no lasting brain damage. The medications to get her blood pressure levels back down to normal were increased, and after that, there wasn’t a whole lot that could be done. The doctors recommended she take it easy for a good while and allow her body to recover from all the stress it had been under before they started treatment for the addiction issues.

Jenny agreed. Shane’s physical recovery up the point of the incident had been a lot faster than she was really comfortable with, and it was more than obvious that Shane resented having to see the psychologists and other therapists. She’d hated Molly telling her that her reactions to things were often fucked up and extreme, and while Jenny understood the way Shane felt on that matter, she had to admit she agreed with Molly. Shane’s self destructive patterns when things went wrong were worse than the ones Jenny was so familiar with, as the fight that had started this whole mess had proved. She knew she wasn’t exactly a pillar of strength and sanity and good coping methods herself, but to her, Shane was far worse in that regard and definitely needed treatment for it.

She was still angry over all the recent events, and knew that she needed to deal with that in a more productive way. Shane was never going to get better if Jenny kept harboring this sort of resentment toward her, and she was tired of how things had been. She didn’t feel too bad with the direction her own life was heading, but she wanted Shane in it and was ashamed of how she’d acted that night, although she’d never have admitted that to anyone out loud.

She had no idea how things were going to be after this. If they’d even be able to salvage anything after the fight they’d had. They’d had the usual roommate disagreements, but never a full fledged fight like that, and Jenny didn’t know how deep that damage was going to go. She’d forgiven Shane, and looking at her sleeping now, she wondered why she’d been so upset in the first place. Or at least why she’d taken it out the way she had.

She sighed. There was really no point in continuing to analyze it; what was done was done. All that mattered now was making sure Shane was all right. They could deal with the rest later.

**********

Shane seemed to feel the same when she was finally able to stay awake most of the day. There were always doctors and nurses coming and going since she’d come back to the room, to check various things and to ask her questions. It was still annoying, but not nearly as much as it had been when she’d woken up from the heart attack. She wasn’t able to do a whole lot, and couldn’t really stay awake more than a few hours at a time without feeling the need to take a nap, but somehow the many questions and tests during the time she was awake didn’t seem to matter much at all.

She didn’t feel bad, exactly. Sometimes she was really lightheaded and sometimes she had a headache, but it wasn’t anywhere as bad as the one she’d had right before the surgery. They’d told her that pain had been because of a blood vessel bursting, which is why she’d needed the surgery, and why they were keeping such a close eye on her now. She didn’t remember being wheeled to surgery or really anything at all after the pain had hit, but she did have a vague memory of Jenny standing at her bedside looking almost as worried as she did now, and had ever since Shane had been brought back here from the surgical ward. She remembered telling Jenny she was awake, but everything after that was a blur.

Jenny was still very worried now, and it was hard for Shane to take. While she knew the heart attack had been her own fault, she’d been very resistant to any kind of therapy for it, since she only used drugs for recreation and didn’t see herself as an addict at all. She hated the talk therapy and the addiction counseling, and the thought of having to go see an outpatient counselor when she was released had really bothered her. After this surgery, though…

She’d been scared. Scared that this time, she really might die. She hadn’t been scared at all during the heart attack or after, probably because she couldn’t remember much. But this time was different. She still didn’t remember all that much, but she knew it had been bad, and the pain had been excruciating. She knew she’d been talking with Jenny about some trivial thing before it had hit, and she’d been happy. They seemed to be doing okay, and she was hopeful that things would work out. But seeing the worry in Jenny’s eyes when the pain had hit and when they’d waited for a nurse to come help had hurt even worse, and Jenny’s pain was because of her overdose.

She had no idea why the second incident made her think that way when the first hadn’t, but it did. She knew it would be a long time before she’d be released, and that she was going to have to redo most of the therapy she’d already gotten through, but it didn’t upset her in the least. She owed it to Jenny to do whatever she needed to do to get better. She still didn’t consider herself an addict in any way, but the things she did when she was upset were hurting more than just herself, and it didn’t exactly feel good to her anyway.

She tried to talk it over with Jenny, who waved her apologies away and told her to rest and focus on getting better, that they could worry about the other stuff later and that things would be fine. This frustrated Shane a little, but she knew better than to press the issue. She was too tired, anyway. But she wanted to be better, and she wanted to make sure Jenny knew that.

She wasn’t really able to tell her, though. While she knew she was getting better every day, she wasn’t exactly in good shape yet, and had been told by several doctors not to try to talk about anything stressful. Jenny had taken this advice to heart, and whenever Shane was awake, all they did was watch movies or talk about random things. She was never able to talk long without getting extremely tired, which she’d been told was to be expected after her surgery, but it was still frustrating.

She was more worried about Jenny than she was about herself, though. While they’d been told that she was recovering nicely, it was obvious that Jenny was scared. So much so that when Shane woke up sometimes in the middle of the night, she glanced over and saw that instead of sleeping, Jenny was looking at the wall. She would always come over to the bed and ask if Shane needed anything, and wouldn’t answer any questions about why she was up so late or what she was worried about. Shane’s reassurances that she was fine didn’t seem to do a lot of good; Jenny simply told her to go back to sleep and that she was perfectly all right.

She didn’t know how many days after the surgery it had been when she woke up yet again to find the room dark, with just a bit of light coming in from the hall. She wondered what had woken her until she heard a small noise from the floor beside her bed. With some effort, she managed to look over the edge of it and saw Jenny lying on her back, struggling against hiccups every few seconds and looking really pissed off about it.

Shane couldn’t help laughing, and did it again when Jenny looked up at her, wide eyed and startled. Then she hiccuped again, and Shane laughed harder.

“I’m sorry I woke you up!” Jenny exclaimed in hushed tones, slapping a hand up to cover her mouth as yet another hiccup escaped.

“It’s fine,” Shane said, still laughing a little. “You can’t exactly help it.”

“They’re just so annoying!” Jenny said, a bit more loudly, once again looking startled as she hiccuped even louder than before.

“Did you drink some water?” Shane asked, thoroughly amused.

“Yeah,” Jenny said sadly. “Didn’t help.”

“How long has it been?”

Jenny appeared to ponder this for a moment while letting two more hiccups escape, managing to shake the entire cot as her whole body joined in the movement. “About half an hour.”

The look of sadness on her face made Shane laugh again, and this time she found it much harder to stop. At first, Jenny seemed to be a little upset by it, but as she kept hiccuping she started to see the humor in it. They turned the TV on and while the hiccups didn’t stop for a couple hours, it seemed to make both of them feel a little better anyway.
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