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We All Have Secrets

Chapter Text

After finding out the truth about her father, Sarah hadn't known how to process the fact that now the man in front of her was dying. He didn't have much time from what she could gather on his diagnosis from Dr. Charles's file.

And she'd been mad, disappointed and heartbroken over the kind of man her father had turned out to be, the world had a cynical way to force us to grow up and Sarah was someone who relied on facts, she'd learned to analyze things more deeply under Daniel's guidance, yet she hadn't seen the signs pointing to her father, the red flags.. or maybe she hadn't had the guts to see it because she was afraid, afraid of what she might find out.

Maybe Dr. Charles was right and she was nothing like her father but she couldn't help but wonder.

"Come on, Sarah, you can ride up with us." She'd heard Connor call her name. She hadn't seen him much lately but then again, she had kept to herself, buried in cases and she knew Connor was trying to prove to Dr. Latham he was a better fellow than Ava. Not that she knew her that much either.

I mean she knew Connor, she knew him, she knew facts about him and recognized him as a colleague and as someone who was kind but hard headed and dedicated to his job, dedicated to the people he cared about like he'd done with his ex.

She wondered just how much that had affected him. He seemed so invested in caring for her and from what Sarah had learned, she'd moved to Minneapolis to 'Work on herself' leaving Connor and the life she had known for a year or so behind.

But mostly Connor.

"Sarah?" She had heard him again as he rushed down the hallway, but Sarah still didn't move.

She seemed to have forgotten how to.

"We stented your right coronary artery, and we placed a balloon pump now, your ejection fraction is low, so I'm afraid that you're gonna have to stay in the ICU..."

"Until a heart becomes available, well it's just as I predicted." Robert said in a calm almost catatonic way. "Though, I'll admit, I didn't expect to end up here so soon."

"You are at the highest status on the transplant list." Connor was quick to add, although he knew if a heart became available and an emergency presented itself, Robert would not be first choice because of what the system entailed for a person with the kind of recommendation Dr. Charles had made.

"But only for 30 days, If I don't get a heart by then..." He eyed Connor cautiously. "Ah, we'll we'll cross that bridge when we get there?"

"Took the words right out of my mouth, Bob." Connor smiled softly. I'll see you soon, all right?"

"Right...Oh, , do you know if, uh, Sarah's here today?" Robert asked.

"Uh, I'm not sure about that, but I can check on it for you." Connor said after a moment, then he took his leave. Although he'd known what Robert's mental persona entailed from his failed attempt at Physiology, plus having been raised by someone like Cornelius Rhodes, Connor felt he didn't have all the information to judge or to look at him as more than his patient, even though he was Sarah's father and a named psychopath.

But Connor did have an obligation then to treat the man so he would do so at the best of his abilities. He sighed as the elevator door opened to reveal Sarah.

"Connor..." She said with a small nod.

"Sarah." He smiled softly. "You in all day today?"

"Yes, I'm doing rounds in the ED with Dr. Charles." She said.

"Well, I thought you'd like to know your father is in a room on the floor in case you.."

"Oh." Sarah said. "That's fine, thank you." Connor nodded as if he understood where she was coming from.

The door opened and Sarah left the elevator without another word.

She was exhausted as if all her hard work and keeping her nose in a book had finally caught up with her or maybe it had been Henry Lee and his son who'd failed to show up when his father needed him most.

Sarah had felt confusion and sadness until she realized what Noah was doing. He'd gone and gave Henry one last wish by pretending to be the man's child and letting him die in peace instead of leaving the world with guilt.

It had been a kind thing to do and she was sure to let him know. Noah hadn't turned out to be half as juvenile as she'd made him out to be in the early days.

"Rough night?" A familiar voice asked behind her softly. It was Connor. She turned to offer him a smile. "Yep, me too..." She saw him open his locker and putting his jacket on. "Hey, maybe...you want to grab a drink? Molly's... Seems like we both need it."

Sarah was in utter surprise by his advancement, she'd always thought of Connor was someone so distant of her field and way out of her league if she was being honest, especially now that he seemed to spend his days in the OR, but she did remember that Connor that had offered her advice when she had felt. 'a little lost`as he'd called it and comfort when Wheeler had died.

But she also remembered Connor who was almost too invested in his relationship with Robin Charles as to almost yell at her.

"I don't bite Reese.." He said with a smile.

"I wouldn't want people to get the wrong impression, especially Dr. Bekker..." Sarah said after a moment.

Oh

"And so my reputation precedes me again, although not in a good way." Connor chuckled. "Alright then, goodnight Sarah."

"But..." She said after a moment. "I guess neither of our days can't get any worse, but I thought maybe we could go somewhere else..."

They hadn't gone to Molly's. Alcohol was not something Sarah needed right now, they had sat on a bench near a hotdog cart and bought themselves a decent meal. At least that's what he'd called it as he had not forgotten the salad she had ordered that time at the food truck.

"I will never live that one down, will I?" Sarah laughed.

"Nope, sorry..." Connor smiled.

They remained quiet for a moment. "So, how's Robert?" Sarah asked finally after a moment.

Connor became instantly serious. "He will need that transplant, otherwise..."

"He will die." Sarah said.

"Yes." Connor took a minute to speak again. "Listen Sarah, I know I might be out of line here but if there's, if saying goodbye to him is something you'd like to do, I recommend you do it as soon as possible."

"I take it Dr. Charles's notes don't make him look too good on UNOS?" She said bitterly.

"No." Connor told her.

"You must think I'm a horrible person." Reese admitted. "I mean my father is dying and I have this need to turn away and run."

"You'd be surprised of just how many times I've felt like that." Connor said much to her surprise, again. "So I don't think I'm the person to judge." He admitted shyly. "But if there's a part of you that feels the need to let go of something, of the past, I think this the time to do it."

Sarah took a deep breath. "What would you do?"

Connor bit his lip.

"My father and I, we don't have the best track record as I'm sure you've noticed." Sarah did remember his father and it certainly beat her how a person like that could have raised someone like Connor.

"I ran away... I didn't want anything to do with him so I ran." Connor told her. "I took what I could and made everything happen so as soon as I was able to graduate I would move as far from him as I could, I was afraid really of what kind of person I would be if I stayed."

Sarah was in awe of the fact that she had found out something about Connor Rhodes from Connor himself."You are nothing like him." Sarah said as the feeling wore off. "Your father, I've met him and you are nothing like him."

Connor laughed bitterly. "Thank you?"

"I'm serious." Sarah told him. "You should give yourself some credit."

"So should you." He said. "You have come so far Sarah, really.. you're a good doctor and you will be great. Give it time."

"I don't think so, every time I feel like I'm moving forward, something pulls me back, whether it's the fear of failing or my father's abandonment or maybe the notion that I turn into him."

"Listen to me Reese." He told her, his blue eyes turned darker as the night dawned on them. "He's sick and you're not. You couldn't possibly be like him."

"How are you so sure?" She asked.

"How are you so sure I am nothing like my father?" Connor countered.

"Have you considered phycology?" Sarah bit her lip. "We could use someone like you."

"Ah, no... not really." He admitted as his body relaxed a bit. "Seeing the things I can fix in plain sight, that's more of my thing."

"So you know you'll be able to fix them?" She offered him a kind smile.

"Most times, yeah." Connor admitted. He'd found it extremely easy to talk to Sarah, in all his time in Med, he'd never taken a notice in her, not much anyway, until now. "Come on, we should probably get going, it's late."

They were in walking proximity of the hospital so he walked her to her car. "This is me." She told him, suddenly feeling self conscious of the fact she had a crappy car and he had a sports car.

That she was up to her head in student loans and he was loaded.

That she was Sarah Reese and he was Connor Rhodes.

"This is me." She told him.

"Right." Connor moved to open the door for her as soon as she unlocked it. "Let me."

"Thanks." She smiled. "Goodnight Connor."

"Goodnight Sarah."

Chapter Text

"I've come to recognize your expressions pretty well. This one's my least favorite." Robert told Connor. He really wished he had a better prognosis but his chances were getting slimmer by the minute.

"I wish I had better news, but look even though your cardiac output is decreasing, you are still highest status on the transplant list, you are first in line." He told him.

"I appreciate your optimism, Dr. Rhodes, as always." Robert said tiredly.

"Hang in there Bob." Connor said softly.

It had been a couple days since his talk with Sarah and he had been keeping a close eye on her just to see if she needed something, truth be told, he was worried, as she hadn't seemed to process the fact that her father was in greater risk of dying everyday.

But also, he was sure Sarah didn't need him and he didn't have a right to meddle, especially because he wasn't sure of how he would react if he found himself in her position.

He sighed and headed to find Sarah.

"You know, for my part, I'm just not seeing any organic causes." Connor heard Dr. Charles speak as he spotted Sarah, she turned to him almost instantly.

"Excuse me, I Sorry to interrupt. Um Sarah, I've just been up to see your father. His stroke volume, systolic arterial pressure, and pulse pressure have all decreased since yesterday. I..I just can't keep the fluid off of his lungs."

Sarah seemed to be listening to him, mostly. "I see."

Connor wanted to pull her aside, he felt the need to make this as procesable as he couid for Sarah. "Would you excuse us Dr. Charles?"

"Of course." Daniel gave Sarah a reassuring nod and walked away. Connor led Sarah to an empty exam room.

"I promise you, we're doing everything we can to find him a new heart."

"But if you wanna say good-bye, I would consider doing it today." Sarah had heard Connor say. He sounded conflicted, and genuinely sorry for her. "Sarah? I'm very sorry." There it was, she thought, he offered her a smile. "If you have any questions or..."

"How much time does he have?" She asked.

"Not long, not if the transplant doesn't come trough, but due to his condition.."

"Alright, thank you." She smiled softly at him. She walked away, going as far as she could so she could work on a case and forget about her father for a minute at least.

"Everything okay Dr. Reese?" Daniel asked softly.

"My father's getting worse, Connor says he doesn't have much time." She told him. Daniel nodded.

"I see. Anything you want to talk about?"

"I don't have to see him, do I?"

"That is up to you." Daniel said. Sarah nodded, grabbing a chart and heading over to see her patient. Daniel then spotted Connor who was not so far away, glancing over at her as she went.

"Though case, Haywood?" Daniel told Connor. He nodded. "Tougher when it's family of someone we know huh? You and I both know that." Connor looked over at the older man. "And Sarah, she's been trough so much lately."

"Yes, it certainly didn't help that the board didn't recommend Dr. Haywood to get a transplant." Connor said dryly. "It's a good thing Dr. Latham could place him."

"We all do what we can for our patients." Daniel said. Connor nodded. "I do hope you are doing well Dr. Rhodes, I see you focused on your job mostly these days which is good." Connor smiled.

"Sorry Dr. Charles, I have to get going." Connor told him, clearly brushing him off.

"Go on ahead." Daniel smiled as he watched him leave.

"One of our patients is well loved." Connor said at he met Ava upstairs.

"Actually, they came for me." Ava told him. Connor gave her a puzzled look.

"Really?"

"Mm..." Ava said reaching for the card.

"The enchanting Dr. Bekker."Connor mused. He glanced over when she saw confusion written on her face. "What?"

"Seems they're from your father..." He heard her say. His father? Connor couldn't believe his ears, actually, he could. He remembered his father being with a woman as soon as his mother had been laid to rest.

But his father sending flowers to Dr. Bekker? That was new.

"My father?" He inquired.

"Yeah..." Ava took a minute to register the tone on Connor's voice. It that moment, he spotted Sarah, she seemed to be looking for him or...he hoped she was.

Actually, he wished she would talk to him. "Connor?" Dr. Bekker called.

"Sarah?" Connor called for her. "Hey, are you okay?" Sarah nodded. "If you have questions about what's to do with your father's condition..."

"No, I understand...I've done some reading." She told him. Sarah then spotted Dr. Bekker and the flowers. "I can come back later if you are busy, I mean why wouldn't you be..."

Connor looked back at Ava. "It's not what you think..."

"What am I supposed to think?" She inquired. Why was he trying to come up with an explanation for Sarah? "We all have our private lives Dr. Rhodes, it's none of my business."

"Yes but...come on, we can talk somewhere else." He offered. Sarah considered this for a moment, she really didn't know why she had come looking for him, but her mind was all over the place and the thought maybe being able to talk to Connor seemed comforting.

"No, it's okay... this was a mistake..." She told him. Connor gave her a puzzled look. "I should go..."

"Wait, Sarah..." Connor tried to reach for her. "Listen, you're dealing with a lot right now.."

"Right, that's why you were being so nice to me the other night... because you feel sorry for me."

"You know that's not why." Connor assured her. Sarah's expression softened. "But It's pretty hard to deal with this on your own, having a parent being sick..." He got paged then by Maggie down at the ED and she had to get back to Dr. Charles. "Sorry."

"Listen I really have to go and you cleary have a lot going on so..." She said as Connor nodded, defeated.

"Uh, yeah well... I'll be checking in on your Dad again soon." Connor said. "Find me if you want, I'll keep you posted."

"Thank you." She said with one last smile and then headed back to the elevator. Connor turned to Bekker. Had Sarah heard their conversation or had he given her the wrong impression with the flowers?

All that he knew was that Sarah was upset, this wasn't just about her father and he just didn't know how to fix it.

Sarah headed down to meet Dr. Charles. Her attempt to find Connor had been a bust, he was clearly too busy romancing Dr. Bekker to care, Sarah then felt a wave of jelousy course through her, she didn't know why she felt like this, it wasn't as if she and Connor were more than colleagues, and he was treating her father so the other night must have been an anomaly, of him actually caring for her.

Not that he wouldn't. Sarah was sure Ava didn't have a problem with her, how could she? It's was clear Sarah was out of Connor' s league and she already suspected were sleeping together and that didn't make her feel better.

But then again, why was she so upset over what Connor Rhodes did in his personal time? The other night had meant nothing and she was just being over sensitive.

"Dr. Reese, I was just, um I was just heading up to to check on your dad." Daniel told her when Sarah saw him a moment later.

"Okay." Sarah glanced over at the computer in front of her, without paying too much attention at her mentor.

"Listen, I, um I know you've had a very complicated relationship, and this is really none of my business, but I think that if he should die before you have a chance to speak to him, that that could very possibly be something you would come to regret." Daniel told her kindly.

Sarah turned to face him. "My father has clearly... stated that he doesn't want me to be a part of his life, so, uh, whatever regrets I may have I just don't think any of them will be resolved by me talking to him."

Daniel nodded. "Okay."

And as Sarah watched him walk away, she thought of Connor's words. He'd already gone through this with his mom, she knew he'd been a young boy when she had died, she wondered if he had even little recollection of his mother as Sarah struggled to remember about her childhood and what having a father felt like.

It there was someone who understood, even remotely was she was feeling, it was Connor.

"Dr. Rhodes, he's braindead." He heard Dr. Stohl say.

"Is he a donor?" Connor asked Doris, clearly shoving off the other man's concerns.

"Yeah." Doris told him.

"Okay let's get an angio to confirm brain death, then get a cardiac echo. I've got a patient who needs a heart." He said turning to Dr. Stohl.

"You're wasting your time on this one, Dr. Rhodes. I heard significant mitral regurg on auscultation. There's no way that heart is viable." It was the second time Connor had seen Sarah from the corner of his eye. He'd be damn if he'd give up on Robert.

"Maybe not now, but that doesn't mean I can't fix it. Let's get him up to Radiology now." He said, battling with his conversation with Sarah and what she had implied. Had he really just been kind to her because of her role in his patient's life? This was Sarah, he'd known her for years now, and he had watched her struggle and succeed and become more self assured of herself as time went by, specially when it had come to to treating Robin, not that he'd been the easiest one to get by with during that time, he wasn't about to throw in the towel and admit he had failed. Even if others around him thought there was little to be done.

"There's too much retrograde flow. The leaflet's totally eaten away. Shame to have an otherwise perfectly good heart go to waste." Ava said, doing a final check up.

"It's not gonna go to waste." He told her.

"Excuse me?" Ava mused.

This heart is an HLA match for my patient. I'm gonna do a valve repair." Connor explained only to have him dismiss him.

"You're joking."

"Get him prepped for surgery, thanks. " He told the nurse, holding on to the chart and left the room with Ava following him closely behind.

"You're going to do major surgery on this heart, which by itself contains significant morbidity and mortality, and then turn around and transplant it into someone else?" She inquired.

"Uh-huh." Connor replied.

"You'll kill the recipient on the table." She told him.

Connor sighed. "So don't scrub in. I'm sure with your active social life, there are things you'd rather be doing anyways. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to prep for my valve repair."

Sarah bit her lip. She had just seen a patient's daughter break down because of the overwhelming feeling of taking care of her father, who had dementia. From all Sarah had learned it was one of the hardest diseases to be aware of and hardest for the family to deal it, the person was barely there and they would be there one minute and gone the next.

She then asked Sarah if she was a horrible person person for wishing her father stop suffering if he died and Reese thought of her own father. She had wondered herself if it was best for her if Robert died, so she wouldn't have to deal with having to face him once more.

Face the shell of the person she had imagined her father to be, the person she had realized had never truly loved her, but she loved him, even if it was only a tiny part of her that held on to that feeling for Robert.

And so she questioned herself. Should she say goodbye?

"Hey, Dad." Sarah went into Robert's room. The man looked sick and tired, he was clearly running out of time.

"Sarah So nice of you to come." He told her.

"I just wanted to, um, see how you're doing." Sarah said, hesitant.

"Did you? No ulterior motive?" Sarah glanced at him confused.

"What?" She inquired.

"Sure you didn't come here to make yourself feel better by doing the right thing? That this visit isn't all about you?"

"Dad, No..." Sarah felt as if she had been kicked in the stomach.

"Maybe I'm not the only one with personality disorder." Robert continued.

"Are you serious?" She asked, tears were threatening to make an appearance but she wasn't willing to allow him to see her cry.

"Oh, don't be so sensitive. Come now. Let's see what I can do to leave you with a good memory."

"Kay, this was clearly a mistake." Sarah said, getting ready to leave.

"Should we sit and reminisce? Perhaps order some hot cocoa?"

"Goodbye, Dad." Sarah said firmly.

"No, stay. Let's focus on getting you some closure." He called for her, Sarah turned around just to come face to face with Connor.

Connor had come out of the valve repair with a sense of accomplishment but also annoyance over Ava. Was he jealous? Mainly he found it hard to believe she would accept Cornelius invitation or flowers even.

But It wasn't the first time in his life that he'd pulled a stunt like this one, he remembered that time he had dated one of his best friend's daughter. It was classical of his father to pull a stunt like that.

Connor gasped for air. He had to gather himself up to go and deliver the good news to Robert and then go find Sarah. As he reached Dr. Haywood's room he stopped cold in his tracks as he saw him taking to her.

Connor felt a sudden surge of rage at his words, he knew the man was clearly sick but he had no right to speak to Sarah that way.

"No, stay... let's focus on getting you some closure." He heard Robert say, he almost bumped into Sarah.

"I found your dad a heart." Was all Connor was able to say.

"Thank you." Sarah had whispered softly. He bit his lip.

"We're going to take him to do the transplant now." Connor said as Sarah walked away.

Had he really made the right decision?

As soon as he was out of surgery and made sure Bob was settled in recovery, he went to find Reese. What he heard has really shaken him. Was it worth fighting so hard for Dr. Haywood? Had he done it to help Sarah or to prove something to Ava?

And would this only end up hurting her?

Or Perhaps he'd done it to feel better about himself? Boost his ego?

"Maggie, have you seen Sarah?" Connor asked the head nurse. If she had crossed that door, she'd know.

"Yeah, she just left." She told him. Connor nodded and without even a jacket headed outside, in hopes to find her.

He prayed he did. He spotted her near a bench outside the hospital, she was clearly upset.

"Sarah?" He came closer to her slowly, not really wanting to startle her.

"Oh, hey." She cleaned the tears on her eyes with the back of her sleeve. "I thought surgery would take longer..." A realization suddenly hit her. "Unless..."

"No, everything went fine, your father's in recovery." Connor told her.

"Thank you." She told her. She'd heard her thank him enough times today, as if she was thanking him for not giving up when she was ready to. "I know you fought hard so my father could get a heart."

Connor smiled softly. "I was just doing my job."

"We both know you go above and beyond for your patients Connor, that's admirable." She told him. He was cold, she could see. "You should go inside,"

"Do you want to come with me?" He asked. "We don't have to go see him, we could just have some coffee."

"No, thanks..." Sarah said with a soft smile.

He then sat beside her. "Then I'll sit here with you." He hesitated to touch her, he wanted to comfort her but didn't want to freak her out.

"You don't have to do that Connor." She told him.

"Actually I do... I'm worried about you." He admitted. Sarah bit her lip.

"How much did you hear?" She asked. Connor sighed leaning forward to fidget with his fingers.

"Enough..." He told her. "It's not your fault he's the way he is Sarah, you know that, right?"

"You've said that before." She told him.

"And so I'll say it again, he doesn't know what's he is missing." Connor said, smiling. Had she heard him correctly?

They remained quiet for a minute, she could see he was struggling to stay warm and Sarah was trying to process what he'd just said.

"Go inside Connor..." Sarah told him. "Really, you don't need to stay with me, I can handle my father..."

"I know you can, but no child should have to deal with all this on their own, trust me." Connor told her, he'd said something oddly familiar this morning. "And as for what he said, you don't owe him anything, I know it might be out of place for me to say it but you don't owe him a thing Sarah, you've already been there more than he was for you. Even after everything he said."

Sarah felt herself struggling to keep from crying again.

So she did and she felt Connor's arms around her. "I'm sorry." She laughed bitterly.

"It's okay." He told her. "You want me to take you home? I mean I know you probably brought your car but I wouldn't feel okay if you drove home alone."

"Don't you have to make rounds?" Sarah asked as she broke the embrace and cleaned her face. "Plus, you don't have to feel obligated to take care of me."

God, she hoped he would. She'd seen him with Robin and for the longest time she wished someone would care as much as Connor Rhodes had.

"It's no problem, can get Ava to cover for me." Connor said simply. "Let me just get my stuff, okay?"

Sarah couldn't believe she had allowed him to drive her home. She clearly wasn't going to stay at the hospital and keep Robert company, Connor had somehow understood that and offered to take her home where she would be more comfortable processing all of this.

And yet, there was a side of her that wished she didn't have to stay alone at her apartment. She would overthink too much.

"Is the heating okay?" Connor asked.

"It's fine." She smiled. "You went to check on him didn't you?"

"Yeah, he's stable, will mostly sleep through the night, I'll go back to the hospital once I've dropped you off." Connor said.

"What did Dr. Bekker say?" Sarah asked. "She didn't mind?"

"Why should she?" Connor turned to face her. "The flowers..."

Sarah turned tomato red. "I'm sorry, it's none of my business."

"No, it's fine..." Connor smiled. "Those weren't from me... it's a long story."

Sarah nodded, she didn't want to prive too much into Connor's life.

They drove in silence for a little while. "Doris told me what you did for my father." Sarah said suddenly. Connor bit his lip. "She told me you did a valve repair so my dad could get a heart."

"I thought it was the right call." Connor told her.

"Thought?" She inquired. "Like you said, you were doing your job and your job is too fix things that are broken, he was so you did." Sarah said. "You shouldn't have any regrets Connor."

"I just... I don't know if I did it for him or just because I felt like I needed to prove something." Connor admitted after a moment. "I just wish..."

"What?"

"When I was a kid, after my mother died I wondered for years that maybe if doctors had tried hard enough she would still be alive." Sarah froze. "They took her to the hospital after she jumped, the woman who took care of me as a child later admitted that she was still alive when the ambulance arrived."

"Connor, I'm so sorry." Sarah said. She could see he was struggling not to show his emotions to her.

"I guess that's why I became a trauma fellow in the first place." Connor continued. "I wanted to make sure kids would have the chance to see their mother again and then when I became a surgeon it all became clear to me." He smiled at her. "That was where I was meant to be all along."

"And it's because of you that Robert is alive." Sarah told him with a smile.

"I guess." Connor admitted shyly. They had arrived at Sarah's apartment, without neither of them realizing. "We're here."

"Right." Sarah took her seatbelt off, grabbing her backpack. "Thanks again, for everything."

"Of course." He smiled. She closed the car door behind her. "Hey Sarah.."

"Yeah?" She inquired.

"What time it's your shift? He asked. "Since I'm the one to blame for you not having your car, I can pick you up."

Sarah felt herself smile. "You really don't.."

"I still owe you that coffee." He said with a smile. "Text me later okay?"

Sarah sighed. "Alright, have a goodnight Connor."

"You too Sarah."

The next morning arrived, she had texted him, butterflies invaded her stomach. She hadn't really slept much, between her mind going miles an hour over Rhodes's kindness towards her, the prospect and anxiety of them arriving at work together and the idea of facing her father or Dr. Charles caused her to stay awake for most of the night.

Her phone buzzed with a text from Connor saying he was downstairs. Sarah braced herself to see him once more.

"Good morning." He told her. He was wearing a black long sleeve shirt and grey jacket. He'd clearly showered and slept even if it was a wink, then Sarah thought of the fact that he was older, had far more experience and was used to pulling all nighters at the hospital farther than she was. "Here, I hope I didn't mess up." He said handing her a portable cup of coffee.

"Morning, I'm sure it's fine." She smiled as he opened the door for her. Connor Rhodes was a gentleman alright. "Were you at the hospital all night?"

"Not all night, just wanted to make sure all my post ops were stable."

"How is Robert?" Sarah asked.

"Last time I saw him he was still asleep, but his vitals are good, so I'm hoping there's chance of minimum organ rejection."

"That's good I guess." Sarah smiled.

"It is." Connor agreed. "I'll keep you posted if you want."

"Yes, thank you." Sarah smiled. They drove in silence for a little while as they'd done the night before.

As they got closer to Med Connor could see Sarah became more and more anxious. "Everything okay?"

Sarah turned to face him. "People are going to talk."

"About your father?" Connor inquired.

"And us, getting into work together." Sarah said. "Med isn't exactly safe from it's share of gossip."

Connor smiled softly. "Nope, you are right."

"I'm sorry." Sarah said. "You must think I'm juvenile."

Connor winked at her. "Hardly, but I've learned to let them to talk, they'll get bored and move to something else eventually...If you want I can drop you off near your car."

Sarah bit her lip. "No, It's fine, I think I'll survive Doris's need for gossip."

And so she arrived to work the same time as Connor and Maggie was the first one to spot them before they went into the lounge, earning a glance from her. "Good morning Dr. Reese, Dr. Rhodes."

She felt calmer now, as he winked back reassuringly as they went.

Chapter Text

Sarah had been consulting on a patient for Dr. Charles when she first heard it. Doris and the other nurses seemed to be murmuring, about Connor and his upcoming surgery to separate the conjoined twins.

Among other things.

"Really? I thought he was dating Dr. Bekker." Emma, one of the nurses said.

"Me too, I guess Dr. Rhodes gets around. Who wouldn't looking like that and with that much money?"

Sarah stopped cold in her tracks. She turned around to face the gathered women. "Doris? I think Dr. Halstead was looking for you."

Doris realized Sarah must have heard them because she hurried away, and the others quickly got back to work.

"Everything okay Sarah?" Natalie asked. "Don't let them get to you."

"It's fine, I don't care what they say about me," Sarah said.

"But you do care if they talk about Connor or you and him, right? I heard it's just gossip."

"Dr. Manning, we need you," Maggie called for Natalie and Sarah turned around to get back upstairs to Dr. Charles.

A familiar smile welcomed her on the elevator. "Good morning."

"Hey." She said softly. "Where are you off to?"

"The lab, Dr. Latham is having us run these tests for the twin's separation," Connor said.

"You look tired." Sarah pointed out.

Connor smiled. "Yeah, I've been going about it in my head, we need to figure out a way to save both babies."

"I'm sure you will," Sarah told him.

"At least I have you in my corner." He told her softly. "Want to have lunch later? I'll probably just have coffee but…"

Sarah bit her lip. "I still have a million cases to run by Dr. Charles."

Connor took a minute to read her face. "Okay…"

The elevator stopped in Connor's destined floor. "You should go, Dr. Latham wouldn't like it if you are late."

He sighed. "Lunch, around 12, you'll be there?"

She didn't have time to answer back but a few minutes later she received a text from Connor.

What was she getting herself into?

Connor sighed, he hurried downstairs with Ava on a consult with Natalie.

"You're saying I have damage to my heart?" Tracy, Dr. Manning's patient asked.

"Uh, to be specific, it's your mitral valve, when it's not functioning properly, the body doesn't get enough oxygen."

"Which is why you've been feeling so weak and short of breath," Natalie added in.

"But she's never had any problems with her heart before." Her mother told them.

"In all likelihood, Tracy was born with a defect, and it just didn't show any symptoms until now, the baby has apparently added strain to your heart, which has caused it to present itself," Connor informed the young woman. "We'll need surgery to replace the defective valve," Ava said softly.

"Oh Okay," Tracy said after a moment. Natalie had noticed Rhodes's body language. There was more to it.

"There are potential complications," Connor told Tracy then.

"Complications?" Tracy looked from Ava to him.

"Due to your pregnancy, the medication needed to conduct the surgery could cause a life-threatening vaginal bleed and given that your fetus hasn't reached viability..." Dr. Bekker explained, then added. "We think it's best for your health if you terminate before undergoing surgery."

Connor and Ava stepped out for a minute with Natalie to let Tracy and her mom process what they'd been told and also that they could make a game plan in case she wanted to go on with her pregnancy.

"Should we consult Dr. Charles?" Natalie asked Connor.

"We could but it's really up to Tracy to decide."

"Is she capable?" Ava asked.

"She wants to save her baby, her husband just died, I've been there, she's full of emotions but she's very capable of deciding," Nat told her.

"We'll consult with Dr. Latham". Ava said. "Please page us if anything changes."

"Thanks, guys." Natalie smiled. Ava began to leave but Connor told her he'd see her upstairs. "Are you two still at each other's throats?"

Connor sighed. "No, we decided a truce was best if we wanted to pull through with surgery."

"How's that going?"

"We're getting there," Connor told Natalie. "Sorry, I have to get back upstairs, I'll keep you posted on what Dr. Latham says."

"Right, thank you."

"Sure thing." He offered her a smile. "By the way, I was wondering if you've seen Sarah?" Connor asked after a moment.

"Reese? Yeah, a little while ago, I think she had to hand in some evals for Dr. Charles, do you know if she's doing okay? I've seen you two have been hanging out a lot."

Connor huffed. "She's okay I think, trying to process all that's been going on with her father."

"Of course, I can't imagine, she must be grateful to have a friend like you to help her through it."

Connor bit his lip. "Well, I am the one treating her father," Connor told her. "So, anyway, I better head on upstairs."

"Connor?"

"Yeah?" He said turning around.

"It's none of my business but... maybe you should talk to Sarah, she was pretty upset this morning." Natalie bit her lip, she regretted being the source of gossip but the last thing she wanted was for Sarah to have to deal with judgement, she had to tell Connor what was going on.

Sarah hated feeling this way, she hated having to avoid him, in truth, she was.

If people saw them together, they would have a reason to talk about them.

She had had enough of people making her their topic of conversation.

And she also loathed the idea of people spreading rumors about Connor that weren't true.

"Sarah?" He asked softly. "Could you come here a moment?" Her father called to her softly as she stopped by his room, hoping to find him asleep.

She'd been avoiding her father for as long as he'd been in the hospital which was a few weeks now and he'd barely asked to see her, but Sarah felt like she at least should check on him. Did she feel an emotional connection to the man who apparently felt nothing back?

Sarah didn't know what it was but there was certainly something pulling her towards him, at least she knew she couldn't possibly be like him.

She cared too much.

So, she found herself in his room for the second time that week.

"Your last set of labs look good, if everything holds for the next 24 hours, they'll put you back on solid foods."

"That sounds like good news," Robert said softly.

"I also told her about your nausea, she'll be over in a few minutes with some Ondansetron." She informed him. Turning around to leave, his voice stopped her.

"Sarah? I know I haven't said it enough, but thank you, I can't tell you how grateful I am for all you've done for me since the transplant. If I could, just, uh, one more thing. It looks like I'll still be in rehab for a while. Uh, I haven't checked my mail since all this happened." He told her. "I'm sure the bills are piling up."

"You want me to run to your apartment?" She inquired.

"Unfortunately, I have no one else to ask."

Sarah looked at her father in the eye, and in spite all the warning signs of their latest encounters, she replied: "All right, but it'll have to wait a few hours. I have rounds at Cohn County."

In the past few weeks since finding out the truth about her father, she'd trusted Connor to be the doctor and she the concerned daughter.

She had been avoiding Robert out of fear because she couldn't trust herself in falling for his manipulating ways again.

Or in truth, maybe Sarah was just plainly terrified of him.

Still she didn't know why she had agreed to it.

"No clues to mystery surrounding missing college co-eds. Search for Indiana girl goes on …" Read Ms. Goodwin. Dr. Charles had come to her with a series of reports on missing people in different parts of the country.

"This poor young lady, Olivia Coveny, seems to have disappeared from the Madison campus, what, about ten years ago? " Daniel said, handing it to her.

"Wisconsin girl missing." Ms. Goodwin glanced over at the smiling girl's picture.

She felt sick. "What am I looking at?"

"Seems like somebody is trying to make a case that Robert Haywood is a very bad guy." Dr. Charles's explained.

"Sarah Reese's father?"

"Yeah."

"Well, I mean, apparently, he was a visiting lecturer at all of these colleges at the same time that these women disappeared," Daniel said softly.

"And you don't know who sent you this?" Goodwin inquired.

"Nope. Somebody slipped it under my door, apparently, somebody knows that I'm working with Robert Haywood." Daniel said.

"I think if you think there's something there, you should turn it over to the police." She told him firmly.

"Turn what over to the police? It's all completely circumstantial. There's nothing in here that connects him to any one of these women and if you read the articles, every single one of these cases has been thoroughly investigated by the police."

"You haven't shared this with Sarah yet, have you?" Goodwin asked worriedly.

"Absolutely not." Daniel assured her.

Dr. Charles would never dare to hurt Sarah like that, she'd become increasingly interested in her father's well being since his surgery, which it seemed to benefit Sarah but t worried Daniel.

"According to Dr. Manning, Tracy's Level Two ultrasound showed placenta previa, which puts her at an even greater risk of developing a serious bleed." Ava had been arguing with Connor over the next course of treatment for their pregnant patient in 4.

"Ava, you heard what she said. This baby is all she has left of her dead husband. Don't we have an obligation to honor the patient's wishes?"

"So, we should let the patient's emotional involvement impact our medical decisions?" She inquired.

"I think we owe it to her to give it a shot," Connor told Dr. Latham.

"Yes. With close monitoring, it is possible to stay ahead of any bleeding. Dr. Rhodes, if you believe that this is the best course of action, then please proceed." He told Connor, walking away."

"Thank you."

"Well, good luck," Ava told him.

"Oh, Dr. Rhodes..." Lucy, one of the nurses came to find him a moment later. "You'd asked me for Robert Haywood's most recent labs."

Connor sighed. "Yeah, thanks, Lucy." He turned his eyes to the tablet. He'd been immersed in the twins' case that he had forgotten to check on his post-ops.

It was time to pay Sarah's dad a visit.

"Sarah?" Connor's voice snapped her out of her thoughts. He seemed surprised to find her there.

"Ah, Dr. Rhodes… nice of you to stop by."

Connor smiled. "Sorry Bob, I know I have been sort of busy these past few days, but I'm sure everyone here's been caring for you."

"Of course."

"He's got a bit of nausea," Sarah told Connor.

"That's a normal reaction to the meds," Connor said, checking on him. "Lean forward for me? He waited a minute to listen to his heart. "Everything seems to be on schedule right now, you just need to get some rest."

"Alright, Sarah here, this is…" Robert reached for something in the drawer next to the bed. "This is the key."

Connor shot Sarah a glance. "Thank you again."

"Reese?" Connor caught up with Sarah as she came out of Robert's room. "What was all that about?"

"What?" She asked.

"The key thing, he's got you running errands now?"

"I'm just gathering some stuff from his apartment." Connor raised an eyebrow at her.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

"No, that's okay, I'll just ask Dr. Charles on our way back from Cohn County."

He got paged, almost cursing under his breath. "Okay, let me know how it went or if you need anything."

Sarah nodded, before walking away.

He'd come out of Tracy's surgery victorious, thank goodness. His plan had worked and she'd be able to keep her baby and carry it to term. "I take it things went well for Tracy and her baby?" Natalie smiled at him.

"You know what they say, right? Fortune favors the bold." Connor smiled.

"Indeed, it does, it seems, you took a big risk for them." She told him. "By the way, did you find Sarah?"

"Oh yeah, turns out she was visiting her dad..." Natalie shot him a glance.

"Why do you say it like that? She's finally getting to know him, that's a good thing, right?"

"No, of course... but the man's got her running errands now."

Natalie smiled. "He had surgery a couple weeks ago Connor, it's not like he can get out of bed."

Connor huffed. "Obviously not but, he's never been there for her, why should she?"

Natalie bit her lip, smiling softly. "You care too much, don't you?"

Connor didn't respond. "I just don't want Sarah to get her hopes up, that man has failed her countless times, I know what's that like."

Why was he talking to Natalie about it?

"Of course, I think it's sweet you care so much," Natalie said. "That's how I know the surgery with the twins will be great, just like it did with Tracy."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence." He said sweetly. "Keep me posted?"

"I will, and don't worry, you and Sarah are good friends, whatever you're worried about? I'm sure can be fixed."

Connor bit his lip as he walked away. Was that only what Sarah was to him? Then why did he care that much?

"Daniel Where are you going?" Ms. Goodwin found Daniel leaving during office hours. That wasn't something common for him.

"Robert Haywood still has a storage locker in Madison, Wisconsin that he rented before Olivia Coveny disappeared."

"Okay..."

"Okay, so I'm going up there to check it out." He told her. Ms. Goodwin huffed.

"Come on, Daniel, let the proper authorities handle it." She begged him.

"The proper authorities, they're just not that interested right now and I have a limited window..."

"Stop. Look, I know you're trying to protect Dr. Reese, but no matter what you find, you are really putting your relationship with her at risk." Sharon said warningly.

"Sharon, if there's even a remote chance that any of this stuff is true and, trust me, I don't want it to be but it's a risk I'm willing to take."

Connor Rhodes hadn't really understood what he'd just heard but he'd felt a cold shiver run through him as he heard Ms. Goodwin and Daniel discuss Robert Haywood which made him anxious, mainly because Sarah was so vulnerable against him.

He was about to go find her, but instead, he got a page to the ICU.

It was Tracy.

"If you want, I can help the mother with the paperwork." Ava offered. They'd just lost their 25-year-old patient to complications due to the passing of an old clot which happened to be a not very common side effect of the drugs.

"No." He told her firmly. "She was my responsibility."

Connor felt like he was dead walking as he headed to talk to Pam. He just couldn't believe how his ego, his hunger had gotten the best of him once more, costing that poor woman her child and grandchild. "Ms. Barker, I am so sorry for your loss."

"You talked my daughter into this, and now she's gone forever, you did this. This is all your fault! It's all your fault! "She snapped at him as she sobbed.

Sarah had texted Connor again, she needed to talk to him, this dance between them and mostly her demeanor today was driving her nuts and the last thing she wanted was to hurt him.

He'd probably be up in the lab running a test with Dr. Latham and Ava.

She couldn't pretend she wasn't proud of him, he'd worked so hard to make sure those babies had a chance.

"Connor it's Sarah, when you get this, please call me back..." She left him yet another message.

"Dr. Manning?" Sarah asked Natalie who was checking on a chart. Sarah had come to the ICU because she had been told he was here checking on the pregnant patient he'd been treating. "Have you seen Dr. Rhodes?"

Natalie barely noticed her. "He's upstairs." Will said softly, before Nat could respond.

"Oh, alright, so I'm guessing surgery went well," Sarah said. Will waved his head.

"No, they lost her about 20 minutes ago." He told her. Sarah felt her heart constrict inside her chest.

She had to find him.

"Ah, Dr. Rhodes, good we're just about to get started." Dr. Latham said as he and Ava glanced over at him.

"You coming?" Dr. Bekker asked.

"Dr. Latham, with your permission, I would like to remove myself from the team," Connor told him, having trouble controlling the emotion in his voice.

"Why?" The older man inquired. Ava glanced over at him worriedly.

"I think it would be best for the patients and for everyone involved. A surgery with this level of difficulty and in that environment, I don't know that I can trust my judgment."

"Are you sure about this?" He asked.

Connor nodded. "Yes."

"Very well." Was Dr. Latham's reply.

Sarah had looked everywhere for Connor. She'd run into Dr. Bekker but hadn't had time to ask her where he was.

His phone had gone straight to voicemail again. She was beginning to fear the worst, as always and had to overthink everything and her mind raced through just enough scenarios to make her more anxious. "Sarah? Are you alright?" Maggie asked.

"Umm...yeah I'm fine." She told her. Maggie smiled.

"He's in the lounge," Maggie told her simply. "I think he shouldn't be alone right now."

"Thank you, Maggie…" Sarah smiled.

She took a deep breath as she walked over and opened the door.

He tried going through the process again. Had he really been the one to blame for Tracy's decision? Maybe he should have insisted she'd terminate the pregnancy so her life could be saved but… he hadn't been brought up to believe there was nothing to be done.

"What happened my sweet boy?" Elizabeth had told a young Connor. He'd gotten into trouble again and he'd be facing the rage of his father when he came home that night.

"I didn't mean it…" Connor said, lowering his face to avoid her gaze. "But school is stupid."

"Learning will never be stupid, sweetheart, feeling alone can be hard but you just need to find where you belong." She'd said.

Connor felt tears stream down his face, he cleaned them quickly. His mother needed him, she didn't have to see him act as the weak link, as his father had heard him call him.

He had to be more like Claire, Cornelius had insisted.

"What if I just don't belong? Maybe I'm not good enough?"

He hadn't dared tell his mother he'd been skipping school at age 9. He didn't get along with his classmates much and he got bored in class so he didn't see much point to it.

"I'll talk to your father if it comes to it but I need you to tell me what happened, you are not alone baby, I'm always going to be there."

She'd died a year later and Connor had never felt more alone.

He really wasn't good enough. He'd come to realize that tonight.

"Connor? What happened?" Sarah's voice made him look up. "Will didn't go into much detail…"

"I don't want to talk about Reese," Connor said dryly. "Please just leave me alone."

"Not a chance." She sighed. "Listen to me, whatever it was, it's not your fault, surgery comes with complications, you taught me that. Sometimes it's nobody's fault."

He wouldn't dare to face her as she spoke, kneeling at his level as he sat on the couch.

"I pushed her into it," Connor said after a moment. "She looked me in the eye, trusted me and now she's dead." He said softly. "And all because I couldn't help but feel the need to play God."

"You wanted to give Tracy her best chance," Sarah said firmly. "What happened was just something horrible but it could have happened to anyone."

Connor pushed her hand away. "But it happened to me, Reese." He told her wearily. "And it should have never happened, maybe if I wasn't so immersed in my own ego."

Sarah had never seen Connor like this, she'd seen him haunted by Jason's death or how the presence of his father made him run as far as he could from him, but she'd never witness Connor Rhodes lose confidence in himself or his abilities as a doctor.

Reese took a minute to consider her options, she couldn't possibly leave him alone right now, she feared he would just go and get drunk somewhere or…

"You are more than whatever or whoever made you believe you were." She told him, screw rumors or how many people talked, Sarah grabbed his face to force him to look at her. "Remember when Jason died and you said I couldn't just jump and save everyone." Connor made eye contact with her, finally. "Maybe you were right but…you Connor Rhodes, you are worth saving."

They'd ended up in her car. She wasn't going to let him drive home in this state.

Roles had been reversed. She was now making sure she was okay, on the day of the shooting, Connor had taken care of her, now she was returning the favor.

"I'm fine Reese, you don't have to walk me to my door." Connor had told her after a silent ride to his apartment.

"I'm not letting you out of my sight for a couple hours at least." Connor huffed. "Come on."

He'd followed her and barely fought her as she insisted she'd get him home, now he'd barely spoken to her.

She didn't care. Sarah would let him process this the best way he needed it to. "I'll check the fridge. When was the last time you ate?"

Connor rolled his eyes at her. "Reese, really, what I need is to be left alone."

"Nope, you can get a drink or the bottle, but you'll eat something."

Sarah found some leftover Chinese food and some mac & cheese, she made her best intentions to move around Connor's kitchen as she watched him collapse on the couch, a bottle of what she guessed was a very expensive scotch by his side.

"Here, eat." She told him handing him a spoon.

"Reese, this is getting annoying." He told her frustrated. She knew he was upset and exhausted.

"I'll leave once you've eaten." She said firmly. He took the bowl from her and groaned.

Sarah sat on the other side, a little bit of mac & cheese on her own plate.

He'd eaten, but barely. Sarah guessed at least he was calmer. "I pulled out of the twin's surgery." She heard him say.

Sarah didn't dare to reply. "I just can't trust myself…"

"I trust you." She told him after she'd made sure he wasn't going to continue. "And you've worked so hard for this. A mistake is not going to define you, Connor, trust me I know."

"It seems like I'm just an endless line of mistakes, just ask my father, he'll tell you," Connor said bitterly.

"Right and you were a mistake as you say, proven wrong, you've shown him that countless times." She reminded him. "You've always risen above your father's expectations of you, everyone else's for that matter and if I know you, you'll get up from this too."

Even if it took her forever, Sarah would make sure Connor would believe in himself just like she did.

Chapter Text

Sarah had been consulting on a patient for Dr. Charles when she first heard it. Doris and the other nurses seemed to be murmuring, about Connor and his upcoming surgery to separate the conjoined twins.

Among other things.

"Really? I thought he was dating Dr. Bekker." Emma, one of the nurses said.

"Me too, I guess Dr. Rhodes gets around. Who wouldn't looking like that and with that much money?"

Sarah stopped cold in her tracks. She turned around to face the gathered women. "Doris? I think Dr. Halstead was looking for you."

Doris realized Sarah must have heard them because she hurried away, and the others quickly got back to work.

"Everything okay Sarah?" Natalie asked. "Don't let them get to you."

"It's fine, I don't care what they say about me," Sarah said.

"But you do care if they talk about Connor or you and him, right? I heard it's just gossip."

"Dr. Manning, we need you," Maggie called for Natalie and Sarah turned around to get back upstairs to Dr. Charles.

A familiar smile welcomed her on the elevator. "Good morning."

"Hey." She said softly. "Where are you off to?"

"The lab, Dr. Latham is having us run these tests for the twin's separation," Connor said.

"You look tired." Sarah pointed out.

Connor smiled. "Yeah, I've been going about it in my head, we need to figure out a way to save both babies."

"I'm sure you will," Sarah told him.

"At least I have you in my corner." He told her softly. "Want to have lunch later? I'll probably just have coffee but…"

Sarah bit her lip. "I still have a million cases to run by Dr. Charles."

Connor took a minute to read her face. "Okay…"

The elevator stopped in Connor's destined floor. "You should go, Dr. Latham wouldn't like it if you are late."

He sighed. "Lunch, around 12, you'll be there?"

She didn't have time to answer back but a few minutes later she received a text from Connor.

What was she getting herself into?

Connor sighed, he hurried downstairs with Ava on a consult with Natalie.

"You're saying I have damage to my heart?" Tracy, Dr. Manning's patient asked.

"Uh, to be specific, it's your mitral valve, when it's not functioning properly, the body doesn't get enough oxygen."

"Which is why you've been feeling so weak and short of breath," Natalie added in.

"But she's never had any problems with her heart before." Her mother told them.

"In all likelihood, Tracy was born with a defect, and it just didn't show any symptoms until now, the baby has apparently added strain to your heart, which has caused it to present itself," Connor informed the young woman. "We'll need surgery to replace the defective valve," Ava said softly.

"Oh Okay," Tracy said after a moment. Natalie had noticed Rhodes's body language. There was more to it.

"There are potential complications," Connor told Tracy then.

"Complications?" Tracy looked from Ava to him.

"Due to your pregnancy, the medication needed to conduct the surgery could cause a life-threatening vaginal bleed and given that your fetus hasn't reached viability..." Dr. Bekker explained, then added. "We think it's best for your health if you terminate before undergoing surgery."

Connor and Ava stepped out for a minute with Natalie to let Tracy and her mom process what they'd been told and also that they could make a game plan in case she wanted to go on with her pregnancy.

"Should we consult Dr. Charles?" Natalie asked Connor.

"We could but it's really up to Tracy to decide."

"Is she capable?" Ava asked.

"She wants to save her baby, her husband just died, I've been there, she's full of emotions but she's very capable of deciding," Nat told her.

"We'll consult with Dr. Latham". Ava said. "Please page us if anything changes."

"Thanks, guys." Natalie smiled. Ava began to leave but Connor told her he'd see her upstairs. "Are you two still at each other's throats?"

Connor sighed. "No, we decided a truce was best if we wanted to pull through with surgery."

"How's that going?"

"We're getting there," Connor told Natalie. "Sorry, I have to get back upstairs, I'll keep you posted on what Dr. Latham says."

"Right, thank you."

"Sure thing." He offered her a smile. "By the way, I was wondering if you've seen Sarah?" Connor asked after a moment.

"Reese? Yeah, a little while ago, I think she had to hand in some evals for Dr. Charles, do you know if she's doing okay? I've seen you two have been hanging out a lot."

Connor huffed. "She's okay I think, trying to process all that's been going on with her father."

"Of course, I can't imagine, she must be grateful to have a friend like you to help her through it."

Connor bit his lip. "Well, I am the one treating her father," Connor told her. "So, anyway, I better head on upstairs."

"Connor?"

"Yeah?" He said turning around.

"It's none of my business but... maybe you should talk to Sarah, she was pretty upset this morning." Natalie bit her lip, she regretted being the source of gossip but the last thing she wanted was for Sarah to have to deal with judgement, she had to tell Connor what was going on.

Sarah hated feeling this way, she hated having to avoid him, in truth, she was.

If people saw them together, they would have a reason to talk about them.

She had had enough of people making her their topic of conversation.

And she also loathed the idea of people spreading rumors about Connor that weren't true.

"Sarah?" He asked softly. "Could you come here a moment?" Her father called to her softly as she stopped by his room, hoping to find him asleep.

She'd been avoiding her father for as long as he'd been in the hospital which was a few weeks now and he'd barely asked to see her, but Sarah felt like she at least should check on him. Did she feel an emotional connection to the man who apparently felt nothing back?

Sarah didn't know what it was but there was certainly something pulling her towards him, at least she knew she couldn't possibly be like him.

She cared too much.

So, she found herself in his room for the second time that week.

"Your last set of labs look good, if everything holds for the next 24 hours, they'll put you back on solid foods."

"That sounds like good news," Robert said softly.

"I also told her about your nausea, she'll be over in a few minutes with some Ondansetron." She informed him. Turning around to leave, his voice stopped her.

"Sarah? I know I haven't said it enough, but thank you, I can't tell you how grateful I am for all you've done for me since the transplant. If I could, just, uh, one more thing. It looks like I'll still be in rehab for a while. Uh, I haven't checked my mail since all this happened." He told her. "I'm sure the bills are piling up."

"You want me to run to your apartment?" She inquired.

"Unfortunately, I have no one else to ask."

Sarah looked at her father in the eye, and in spite all the warning signs of their latest encounters, she replied: "All right, but it'll have to wait a few hours. I have rounds at Cohn County."

In the past few weeks since finding out the truth about her father, she'd trusted Connor to be the doctor and she the concerned daughter.

She had been avoiding Robert out of fear because she couldn't trust herself in falling for his manipulating ways again.

Or in truth, maybe Sarah was just plainly terrified of him.

Still she didn't know why she had agreed to it.

"No clues to mystery surrounding missing college co-eds. Search for Indiana girl goes on …" Read Ms. Goodwin. Dr. Charles had come to her with a series of reports on missing people in different parts of the country.

"This poor young lady, Olivia Coveny, seems to have disappeared from the Madison campus, what, about ten years ago? " Daniel said, handing it to her.

"Wisconsin girl missing." Ms. Goodwin glanced over at the smiling girl's picture.

She felt sick. "What am I looking at?"

"Seems like somebody is trying to make a case that Robert Haywood is a very bad guy." Dr. Charles's explained.

"Sarah Reese's father?"

"Yeah."

"Well, I mean, apparently, he was a visiting lecturer at all of these colleges at the same time that these women disappeared," Daniel said softly.

"And you don't know who sent you this?" Goodwin inquired.

"Nope. Somebody slipped it under my door, apparently, somebody knows that I'm working with Robert Haywood." Daniel said.

"I think if you think there's something there, you should turn it over to the police." She told him firmly.

"Turn what over to the police? It's all completely circumstantial. There's nothing in here that connects him to any one of these women and if you read the articles, every single one of these cases has been thoroughly investigated by the police."

"You haven't shared this with Sarah yet, have you?" Goodwin asked worriedly.

"Absolutely not." Daniel assured her.

Dr. Charles would never dare to hurt Sarah like that, she'd become increasingly interested in her father's well being since his surgery, which it seemed to benefit Sarah but t worried Daniel.

"According to Dr. Manning, Tracy's Level Two ultrasound showed placenta previa, which puts her at an even greater risk of developing a serious bleed." Ava had been arguing with Connor over the next course of treatment for their pregnant patient in 4.

"Ava, you heard what she said. This baby is all she has left of her dead husband. Don't we have an obligation to honor the patient's wishes?"

"So, we should let the patient's emotional involvement impact our medical decisions?" She inquired.

"I think we owe it to her to give it a shot," Connor told Dr. Latham.

"Yes. With close monitoring, it is possible to stay ahead of any bleeding. Dr. Rhodes, if you believe that this is the best course of action, then please proceed." He told Connor, walking away."

"Thank you."

"Well, good luck," Ava told him.

"Oh, Dr. Rhodes..." Lucy, one of the nurses came to find him a moment later. "You'd asked me for Robert Haywood's most recent labs."

Connor sighed. "Yeah, thanks, Lucy." He turned his eyes to the tablet. He'd been immersed in the twins' case that he had forgotten to check on his post-ops.

It was time to pay Sarah's dad a visit.

"Sarah?" Connor's voice snapped her out of her thoughts. He seemed surprised to find her there.

"Ah, Dr. Rhodes… nice of you to stop by."

Connor smiled. "Sorry Bob, I know I have been sort of busy these past few days, but I'm sure everyone here's been caring for you."

"Of course."

"He's got a bit of nausea," Sarah told Connor.

"That's a normal reaction to the meds," Connor said, checking on him. "Lean forward for me? He waited a minute to listen to his heart. "Everything seems to be on schedule right now, you just need to get some rest."

"Alright, Sarah here, this is…" Robert reached for something in the drawer next to the bed. "This is the key."

Connor shot Sarah a glance. "Thank you again."

"Reese?" Connor caught up with Sarah as she came out of Robert's room. "What was all that about?"

"What?" She asked.

"The key thing, he's got you running errands now?"

"I'm just gathering some stuff from his apartment." Connor raised an eyebrow at her.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

"No, that's okay, I'll just ask Dr. Charles on our way back from Cohn County."

He got paged, almost cursing under his breath. "Okay, let me know how it went or if you need anything."

Sarah nodded, before walking away.

He'd come out of Tracy's surgery victorious, thank goodness. His plan had worked and she'd be able to keep her baby and carry it to term. "I take it things went well for Tracy and her baby?" Natalie smiled at him.

"You know what they say, right? Fortune favors the bold." Connor smiled.

"Indeed, it does, it seems, you took a big risk for them." She told him. "By the way, did you find Sarah?"

"Oh yeah, turns out she was visiting her dad..." Natalie shot him a glance.

"Why do you say it like that? She's finally getting to know him, that's a good thing, right?"

"No, of course... but the man's got her running errands now."

Natalie smiled. "He had surgery a couple weeks ago Connor, it's not like he can get out of bed."

Connor huffed. "Obviously not but, he's never been there for her, why should she?"

Natalie bit her lip, smiling softly. "You care too much, don't you?"

Connor didn't respond. "I just don't want Sarah to get her hopes up, that man has failed her countless times, I know what's that like."

Why was he talking to Natalie about it?

"Of course, I think it's sweet you care so much," Natalie said. "That's how I know the surgery with the twins will be great, just like it did with Tracy."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence." He said sweetly. "Keep me posted?"

"I will, and don't worry, you and Sarah are good friends, whatever you're worried about? I'm sure can be fixed."

Connor bit his lip as he walked away. Was that only what Sarah was to him? Then why did he care that much?

"Daniel Where are you going?" Ms. Goodwin found Daniel leaving during office hours. That wasn't something common for him.

"Robert Haywood still has a storage locker in Madison, Wisconsin that he rented before Olivia Coveny disappeared."

"Okay..."

"Okay, so I'm going up there to check it out." He told her. Ms. Goodwin huffed.

"Come on, Daniel, let the proper authorities handle it." She begged him.

"The proper authorities, they're just not that interested right now and I have a limited window..."

"Stop. Look, I know you're trying to protect Dr. Reese, but no matter what you find, you are really putting your relationship with her at risk." Sharon said warningly.

"Sharon, if there's even a remote chance that any of this stuff is true and, trust me, I don't want it to be but it's a risk I'm willing to take."

Connor Rhodes hadn't really understood what he'd just heard but he'd felt a cold shiver run through him as he heard Ms. Goodwin and Daniel discuss Robert Haywood which made him anxious, mainly because Sarah was so vulnerable against him.

He was about to go find her, but instead, he got a page to the ICU.

It was Tracy.

"If you want, I can help the mother with the paperwork." Ava offered. They'd just lost their 25-year-old patient to complications due to the passing of an old clot which happened to be a not very common side effect of the drugs.

"No." He told her firmly. "She was my responsibility."

Connor felt like he was dead walking as he headed to talk to Pam. He just couldn't believe how his ego, his hunger had gotten the best of him once more, costing that poor woman her child and grandchild. "Ms. Barker, I am so sorry for your loss."

"You talked my daughter into this, and now she's gone forever, you did this. This is all your fault! It's all your fault! "She snapped at him as she sobbed.

Sarah had texted Connor again, she needed to talk to him, this dance between them and mostly her demeanor today was driving her nuts and the last thing she wanted was to hurt him.

He'd probably be up in the lab running a test with Dr. Latham and Ava.

She couldn't pretend she wasn't proud of him, he'd worked so hard to make sure those babies had a chance.

"Connor it's Sarah, when you get this, please call me back..." She left him yet another message.

"Dr. Manning?" Sarah asked Natalie who was checking on a chart. Sarah had come to the ICU because she had been told he was here checking on the pregnant patient he'd been treating. "Have you seen Dr. Rhodes?"

Natalie barely noticed her. "He's upstairs." Will said softly, before Nat could respond.

"Oh, alright, so I'm guessing surgery went well," Sarah said. Will waved his head.

"No, they lost her about 20 minutes ago." He told her. Sarah felt her heart constrict inside her chest.

She had to find him.

"Ah, Dr. Rhodes, good we're just about to get started." Dr. Latham said as he and Ava glanced over at him.

"You coming?" Dr. Bekker asked.

"Dr. Latham, with your permission, I would like to remove myself from the team," Connor told him, having trouble controlling the emotion in his voice.

"Why?" The older man inquired. Ava glanced over at him worriedly.

"I think it would be best for the patients and for everyone involved. A surgery with this level of difficulty and in that environment, I don't know that I can trust my judgment."

"Are you sure about this?" He asked.

Connor nodded. "Yes."

"Very well." Was Dr. Latham's reply.

Sarah had looked everywhere for Connor. She'd run into Dr. Bekker but hadn't had time to ask her where he was.

His phone had gone straight to voicemail again. She was beginning to fear the worst, as always and had to overthink everything and her mind raced through just enough scenarios to make her more anxious. "Sarah? Are you alright?" Maggie asked.

"Umm...yeah I'm fine." She told her. Maggie smiled.

"He's in the lounge," Maggie told her simply. "I think he shouldn't be alone right now."

"Thank you, Maggie…" Sarah smiled.

She took a deep breath as she walked over and opened the door.

He tried going through the process again. Had he really been the one to blame for Tracy's decision? Maybe he should have insisted she'd terminate the pregnancy so her life could be saved but… he hadn't been brought up to believe there was nothing to be done.

"What happened my sweet boy?" Elizabeth had told a young Connor. He'd gotten into trouble again and he'd be facing the rage of his father when he came home that night.

"I didn't mean it…" Connor said, lowering his face to avoid her gaze. "But school is stupid."

"Learning will never be stupid, sweetheart, feeling alone can be hard but you just need to find where you belong." She'd said.

Connor felt tears stream down his face, he cleaned them quickly. His mother needed him, she didn't have to see him act as the weak link, as his father had heard him call him.

He had to be more like Claire, Cornelius had insisted.

"What if I just don't belong? Maybe I'm not good enough?"

He hadn't dared tell his mother he'd been skipping school at age 9. He didn't get along with his classmates much and he got bored in class so he didn't see much point to it.

"I'll talk to your father if it comes to it but I need you to tell me what happened, you are not alone baby, I'm always going to be there."

She'd died a year later and Connor had never felt more alone.

He really wasn't good enough. He'd come to realize that tonight.

"Connor? What happened?" Sarah's voice made him look up. "Will didn't go into much detail…"

"I don't want to talk about Reese," Connor said dryly. "Please just leave me alone."

"Not a chance." She sighed. "Listen to me, whatever it was, it's not your fault, surgery comes with complications, you taught me that. Sometimes it's nobody's fault."

He wouldn't dare to face her as she spoke, kneeling at his level as he sat on the couch.

"I pushed her into it," Connor said after a moment. "She looked me in the eye, trusted me and now she's dead." He said softly. "And all because I couldn't help but feel the need to play God."

"You wanted to give Tracy her best chance," Sarah said firmly. "What happened was just something horrible but it could have happened to anyone."

Connor pushed her hand away. "But it happened to me, Reese." He told her wearily. "And it should have never happened, maybe if I wasn't so immersed in my own ego."

Sarah had never seen Connor like this, she'd seen him haunted by Jason's death or how the presence of his father made him run as far as he could from him, but she'd never witness Connor Rhodes lose confidence in himself or his abilities as a doctor.

Reese took a minute to consider her options, she couldn't possibly leave him alone right now, she feared he would just go and get drunk somewhere or…

"You are more than whatever or whoever made you believe you were." She told him, screw rumors or how many people talked, Sarah grabbed his face to force him to look at her. "Remember when Jason died and you said I couldn't just jump and save everyone." Connor made eye contact with her, finally. "Maybe you were right but…you Connor Rhodes, you are worth saving."

They'd ended up in her car. She wasn't going to let him drive home in this state.

Roles had been reversed. She was now making sure she was okay, on the day of the shooting, Connor had taken care of her, now she was returning the favor.

"I'm fine Reese, you don't have to walk me to my door." Connor had told her after a silent ride to his apartment.

"I'm not letting you out of my sight for a couple hours at least." Connor huffed. "Come on."

He'd followed her and barely fought her as she insisted she'd get him home, now he'd barely spoken to her.

She didn't care. Sarah would let him process this the best way he needed it to. "I'll check the fridge. When was the last time you ate?"

Connor rolled his eyes at her. "Reese, really, what I need is to be left alone."

"Nope, you can get a drink or the bottle, but you'll eat something."

Sarah found some leftover Chinese food and some mac & cheese, she made her best intentions to move around Connor's kitchen as she watched him collapse on the couch, a bottle of what she guessed was a very expensive scotch by his side.

"Here, eat." She told him handing him a spoon.

"Reese, this is getting annoying." He told her frustrated. She knew he was upset and exhausted.

"I'll leave once you've eaten." She said firmly. He took the bowl from her and groaned.

Sarah sat on the other side, a little bit of mac & cheese on her own plate.

He'd eaten, but barely. Sarah guessed at least he was calmer. "I pulled out of the twin's surgery." She heard him say.

Sarah didn't dare to reply. "I just can't trust myself…"

"I trust you." She told him after she'd made sure he wasn't going to continue. "And you've worked so hard for this. A mistake is not going to define you, Connor, trust me I know."

"It seems like I'm just an endless line of mistakes, just ask my father, he'll tell you," Connor said bitterly.

"Right and you were a mistake as you say, proven wrong, you've shown him that countless times." She reminded him. "You've always risen above your father's expectations of you, everyone else's for that matter and if I know you, you'll get up from this too."

Even if it took her forever, Sarah would make sure Connor would believe in himself just like she did.

Chapter Text

His lips crashed into hers. Sarah couldn't breathe. Connor's blue eyes shined as he smiled at her, reassuringly. Reese allowed herself to enjoy the moment, she couldn't really believe this was happening, sure she and Connor had become close in the last few months ever since Robert had gotten sick but she certainly would have never thought he'd noticed her.

"Are you okay?" Connor asked softly as his hands touched both her cheeks, they were a little cold and she hadn't meant to shiver.

"My head is telling me to run." She admitted. Connor bit his lip.

"And what's your heart telling you, Reese?" "I don't know, I can't hear it. It's being too loud." Sarah chuckled.

"Close your eyes," Connor said in a mere whisper. Sarah did as she was told, holding her breath again. She felt Connor's lips on her cheek, and then on the other, the corner of her mouth as he inched closer to his destination.

A loud sound made Sarah snap her eyes open.

"Sorry." Connor's voice broke through and made Sarah realize she had been sleeping.

"I was trying to be quiet so you wouldn't wake up."

"I can't believe I fell asleep," Sarah said blushing.

"I won't tell if that's what you are worried about." Connor winked at her. Had they both fallen asleep on the couch?

Her head hurt, of course, it had only been a dream, she wasn't nearly as pretty as Ava or sexy as Robin or as charming as Sam. Sarah was definitely not Connor's type.

She had been a good friend, had done her job and kept him from ending up getting drunk at a bar, knowing for a fact she would remain that way, being the perfect friend, always ready to rescue him.

"I'm glad you're okay though, sorry about yesterday. It was a weird day." Sarah smiled.

"Tell me about it," Connor said softly. Sarah stood up and moved to the kitchen where he was making some coffee. "I went for a run to clear my head… thought you'd like these."

"You run?"

"Is it so hard to believe?" Connor inquired, Sarah took a peek at the pastries he'd bought.

"No, I just… I keep finding out things about you and I like that." She smiled. Connor laughed, which made her heart flutter. He was slowly pulling away from the darkness of the day before.

"I didn't get to thank you for yesterday Sarah…" He told her. "I was kind of a mess, I just…I'm glad you stayed, sorry about the couch though, we fell asleep and you looked so peaceful I didn't want to wake you, I honestly don't know what happened."

"You cracked. That's okay, it makes me realize you're human." She told him in all honesty.

Connor bit his lip. "So, how did it go at your father's'? You never got a chance to tell me." Sarah took a minute to look at him.

"Fine…" She told him. "You were worried for nothing. My father is just a very lonely man." After what Connor had heard from Ms. Goodwin and Dr. Charles, Connor didn't know what to think, suddenly his senses spiked up. "What?"

"Nothing." Connor took one of the pastries out of the brown bag and smiled. "Coffee?"

She took a seat in front of him at the kitchen island. It was so strange that in so little time they'd become like this, domestic. "Thank you." She smiled. They remained quiet for a moment.

"So?" Sarah asked about the giant elephant in the room. "All that nonsense about not being involved in the Cronin separation...It was just crazy talk, right?"

"Sarah…." Connor sighed. "It's not that simple."

"Of course, it is, you've worked so hard to earn it and the parents trust you, you can't just leave them hanging."

"Ava will be there, we've been practicing." Sarah shot him a look. "She's as good as I am."

"So, you say. This could be a game changer for you Connor, you can't just let it pass you by, you'll regret it."

Connor bit his lip as his pager went off. "I have to get to the hospital soon." Sarah rolled her eyes at him. "I have patients."

"Sure," Sarah said taking a bite of her pastry.

"Do you want to shower or…" Sarah suddenly turned red like a tomato. She had some clothes in her car from when she had to stay late at the hospital, thank goodness for the secret girl scout in her that always tended to be prepared.

"I need to go down to my car." She told him. "I have overslept a few times at Med, so…"

"Of course, you have." Connor smiled. "I'll lay down some clean towels for you in the guest room."

"Thank you." Sarah came back into Connor's apartment a while later. She had to be at work in less than two hours. She could hear the water running in one of the rooms in the back she figured was Connor's.

Sarah sighed. How had she ended up here again? And this time stayed over, okay. It wasn't like something had happened or anything but this wasn't like Sarah, she wasn't used to acting like this. She opened the door to the guest room. It seemed neat like the rest of the apartment.

She spotted on the bed a couple towels and small bottles that read shampoo and conditioner, it seemed Connor was ready for the eventual sleepover. Sarah suddenly a rush of jealousy come over her.

She had to move passed it as time was ticking and she couldn't possibly be late. She took a quick shower and changed as fast as she could.

Connor was back in the kitchen, getting his backpack ready when she came out of the room. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah." Sarah smiled, coming out of the room with her own bag over her shoulder and following Connor to the door and then the elevator. Neither of them spoke for a while. Connor offered to drive her car as an apology for the night before and she agreed, he opened the door for her and then moved to the driver's seat.

As they approached the hospital, Sarah could see Connor became more and more tense. "You okay?"

"I'm fine, the girls are being admitted in about an hour." He told her. "I just…"

"You care." She told him.

"Yeah, but pulling out, it was the right call."

"Was it?" Sarah inquired. "You should talk to Dr. Latham, I'm sure he'd reconsider."

"No, I've made my choice," Connor told her. They've reached the parking lot so she didn't have much time to argue with him. "Hey, Sarah?" "Thanks again." He smiled. "Really. Not a lot of people would have done that for me."

Sarah's heart fluttered. "I guess, I'm not like many huh?"

"Nope, you certainly are not." Connor smiled as he walked away.

"The girls are healthy," Ava said, smiling. "In my opinion, they're strong enough for surgery."

"Dr. Rhodes?" Mrs. Cronin asked.

"I agree with ." He assured them.

"Actually, Dr. Rhodes will not be in the operating room. Dr.

Latham and I will be performing the cardiothoracic portion of the separation." Ava put in. Connor could see the shock in the young parent's faces. And Nat's utter surprise,

"What?"

"You've been so involved since the beginning."

What if we spoke to Dr. Frisch?" Mrs. Cronin asked.

"Believe me, Dot and Lily have the finest surgeons in the hospital," Connor told them softly,

"We'll be back soon to take the babies to the O.R." Ava said as she and Connor took their leave.

"Excuse me," Nat said, following after them. "Connor… Why aren't you on the team?"

He sighed. "He pulled himself out," Ava told her.

"Why? Because we lost a patient?" She asked.

"I lost her and her baby, because of my poor judgement, I made the wrong call on her treatment."

"But the Cronin's are counting on you," Natalie told him.

"They're counting on the team." Natalie glared at Ava.

"She's right," Connor told her softly, Nat bit her lip and walked away, not believing what she had just heard.

"Have you decided on a rehab facility?" Sarah asked as she went to see her father later that day.

"Oh, you pick one." Robert groaned.

"I'm not gonna be living there, you are." She reminded her.

"Sarah, I'm sure you'll find the best one, or at least the lesser of all the evils." He told her softly and for some reason, it made Sarah uneasy, especially with that music he was listening to. "You know I suddenly love choral music Just like my heart donor, it's good to see you, the nurses aren't very good company. I hardly ever see them."

"What do you mean? They're supposed to be walking you." She told him. Connor would not be pleased by this and just as in cue, he appeared by the door.

"Dr. Rhodes..." Robert smiled. "So nice to see you again."

"Hey Bob, how are you doing today?" He smiled.

"Twice in one week? I feel honored." Dr. Haywood said cheekily.

"Have you been outside today?" Connor asked, brushing off his remark.

"Nope. Nurses put me in this chair and left me." Robert said. Connor glanced over at Sarah. "I imagine they are very busy."

He's supposed to walk every three hours, right?" Sarah asked Connor.

"He should be yeah," Connor told her. "I'll see to it."

"No, it's okay," Sarah said suddenly. "Come on Dad, we're going for a walk." Connor suddenly tensed up.

"Oh, I'd like that," Robert said as Sarah helped him up. Rhodes was suddenly paged by Ava. "Don't worry Dr. Rhodes, I'm in good hands."

"Please, can we have just one more minute? "Mrs. Cronin asked as they made their way to the OR, Connor being there for moral support or so he told himself.

"Yeah, guys, hold on." He told the team.

"We love you so much." The woman said to her babies, full emotion in her voice as it broke when the journey pulled away.

"Are we doing the right thing taking this risk?" Mr. Cronin asked Connor.

"Yes." He said.

Look after them, , don't let my babies die."

Connor made it over to the psych ward before the start of the Cronin surgery, he needed to talk to Sarah, for some reason she was the only person he thought of when those parents were begging him to be there for their babies; the last time he'd spent so much time here was with Robin and it made him uneasy to be honest, much like Dr. Haywood did lately; "Dr. Rhodes? Is there something I can help you with?" Daniel Charles smiled up at him.

"Dr. Charles...I, uh... looking for Dr. Reese."

"Ah, seems like Sarah is been kept pretty busy by her father." Connor didn't respond. "I've seen you two have been spending a lot of time lately. Is everything okay with Dr. Haywood?"

"He's not fully recovered yet, he will require therapy but his prognosis is good," Connor said. Daniel nodded. It took a minute for him to look over to the other man, was he really going to ask him about a conversation he had no place in hearing in the first place? What had that been really about?

"Connor?" Sarah's voice took the words out of his mouth.

"Dr. Rhodes, how nice to see you back here so soon, Sarah's just walking me around the hospital," Robert said.

Connor smiled. "That's good."

"It certainly is nice," Robert admitted.

"Did you need something?" Sarah asked Connor.

"I can get my dad back to his room and then I'll come found you?"

"Of course, it's not that urgent," Connor told her, earning a smile from Sarah. Daniel waited for a little to turn to Connor.

"He seems to have suddenly taken an interest in Dr. Reese," Daniel said casually. "It is normal you see, for him to want to play a role in which he seems like the concerned parent."

"Play a role? "Connor inquired.

"Ah yes, it is certainly role play, sadly as it's hard to admit it, Dr. Haywood will never be able to care for Dr. Reese as a father would. No matter how much she might crave for his love." Connor felt his heart dip a little into his chest. Sarah wanted to be loved by someone who couldn't possibly love show emotions? It seemed cruel.

She certainly deserves all the kindness in the world. He turned around to face the man, taking a deep breath but his pager went off. It was Dr. Latham. "Is there something on your mind Connor?"

It was the Cronin twins "I should go." He said defeated, that conversation would have to wait if he ever gathered enough guts to talk to Daniel.

"Of course, you go on ahead, I'll tell Dr. Reese you will find her later?"

"Both hearts on bypass, we're ready to go," Ava said.

"One more echo to confirm positioning." Added Dr. Latham.

"I'm seeing a pretty large muscular ventricular septal defect in Dot's heart." Connor heard Dr. Fisch say.

"Why didn't we see this on previous imaging?" Dr. Bekker inquired worriedly as Connor watched her.

"Doesn't matter, we'll have to correct it before we can proceed."

"Is this a big problem?" A young doctor asked Connor from the gallery.

"Patching a hole of unknown size near the heart's apex, a difficult spot to reach, yeah, it's a very big problem." He said, not taking his eyes off his teammates.

"To get access, we need to make a ventriculotomy," Ava asked.

"No, in this case, with the abnormal anatomy of the heart, by cutting into the ventricle, we can disrupt the heart's conducting system." Dr. Latham said quickly. "The heart might never beat again."

Connor thought of the options, his mind racing. "We lose one girl, we lose them both. Excuse me." He moved quickly to get access to Dr. Latham.

"I think we should patch the hole using the sandwich method: two pieces of Gore-Tex on either side," Ava told her superior.

"More incisions in her tiny, fragile heart, no, too risky." He told her.

"Use a transcatheter VSD closure device," Connor said behind them as the door opened.

"That's a cath lab procedure," Ava said. "We never do it on an open-heart case."

"It's the only way to reach the VSD and not damage Dot's heart, No incision. We snake the patch in through the atrium."

"Dr. Latham..."

"No, he's right. It's our only option." He replied.

"I will take full responsibility for the outcome," Connor assured him.

"Indeed, you will. Dr. Rhodes will perform the procedure. Go scrub in."

"Yes, sir." Connor turned back, with Ava's gaze following through and into the next room.

"Connor…"

"I have to do this…"

"You realize if those babies don't pull through, your career is over?"

Yeah, I do."

"Oh, Dr. Charles…"

Hello Bob and Dr. Reese, again…"

"Sarah was taking me for a walking me again, the nurses seemed pretty busy to have me walking around for the second time of the day."

"As soon as I get him back, I'll finish rounds," Sarah told Dr. Charles.

"Dr. Charles, why don't you see me the rest of the way? Let Sarah get back to her real job." Robert suggested.

"Uh sure. Thank you, Dr. Reese. " He said as they both watched her walk away.

"You know, Sarah told me that a woman in her support group says her husband came away from his heart transplant - a changed man." Robert began.

"Really?"

"Yeah, I did a little Googling." He smiled as they walked. "It turns out that there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that transplant patients experience profound personality changes."

"Yes, uh, "anecdotal" being the key word there."

"Oh, no, actually there's a name for it, it's called cell memory phenomenon: the theory that memory is stored in the neurons of donated organs," Robert explained, as Daniel tried to control the urge to roll his eyes and let go of Dr. Haywood. "I mean, it would certainly explain why recipients develop the tastes and preferences and habits, even dreams of their heart's donors."

"What are you doing, Bob? Your antisocial personality disorder isn't gonna be affected by a transplant, the issue is your brain, not your heart." Daniel said as he watched Robert's gaze upon him, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. "Glenda, could you escort Dr. Haywood back to his room? He has had a nice, long walk."

"Sure," Robert said softly as Glenda took his arm to help him walk back.

"Well, Sarah seems open to the possibility, or do you think she's just another young, gullible woman, Daniel?"

The procedure had been a success, Connor had promised not to get involved but Sarah was right, he'd worked so hard and made a special connection to those babies and the parents not to see it through.

Dot and Lily would have a full and long life. Connor felt like a rock star even though he knew he shouldn't have, it was only his job, but as he watched those babies rest in separate beds, he felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

"It's amazing." Connor heard Natalie said as they all watched the little girls coo happily.

He felt like he too, could just go home and sleep for 12 hours straight, he hadn't seen Sarah though in the crowd that had an assembled and was clapping at the team and he had to admit he felt a little disappointed.

"Excuse me, Dr. Rhodes? Ralph Ballard. You got a minute?" A man. Connor had seen in the gallery approached him.

"Yeah."

Sarah had come out of the million papers she had overdue and charts she had to put in the order late. She'd had a couple missed calls from Connor. She'd totally forgotten to get back to him.

So much for the perfect friend. "Sarah, you heard?" Natalie said as she saw the young woman in the lounge picking out her things to go.

"Heard what?" She asked.

"The Cronin twins, they made it." Natalie smiled. Sarah could see there was something bothering the young mother but there were not as close as Sarah had wished so she could ask. "Connor was amazing."

Connor?

Sarah smiled as Nat walked away.

She dialed his number but he didn't seem to pick up. "Hey, it's Sarah… Do you have a minute? Sorry I didn't find you like I said I would but you apparently you were pretty busy, you want to talk?"

She made it outside, hoping she would find him before he left, he hadn't been that easy to spot as she also saw Ava, they appeared to be arguing.

"You bastard…" Sarah froze. "You got an offer, tonight didn't you? The guy at the PICU?"

"Mayo Clinic," Connor said softly.

Sarah's heart sank. Was he leaving Med? She took a step forward which alerted both Ava and Connor.

"Sarah?" Connor's voice softened. Ava glanced over at her but Reese had frozen all of the sudden.

She began walking back to find her car, why was she suddenly mad at Connor for not telling her he'd gone ahead with surgery on the twins?

Or for having to find out he was leaving from Ava. "Sarah hold up!"

His hand reached for her. "Hey, wait a sec."

They had already reached her car, a little farther from the entrance.

"You did the surgery…" She told him, it was a mix between happiness and pride.

Connor smiled. "There were some complications so I had to step in."

"You saved them." She'd leaned against her car for support.

"We all did." He said Sarah, smiled.

"And you got an offer? That's amazing Connor, I'm so happy for you."

Lie, she was happy and so proud but she didn't like the idea of him leaving Gaffney.

"We'll see, it's not a done deal yet." He told her.

"It's Mayo Clinic, you shouldn't even have to consider it," Sarah said, Connor, gazed softly at her, biting his lip.

"Yet I am." He admitted shyly.

"Why?" She was afraid to ask. "You have nothing holding you back here."

Connor sighed, avoiding her gaze. "Maybe that's not true."

"It's a great opportunity, you should go for it, kids like Lily and Dot would be so lucky to have you." She told him, changing the direction to which the conversation was going.

"You want to go somewhere?" He asked, moving closer to her. Sarah held her breath. "To celebrate? We can both take ours this time." He smiled, inching closer to her, their faces almost touching.

"Connor I don't know what we're doing here or even if we should…"

"Honestly, neither do I…"

His pager buzzed all of the sudden, which made him ignore it at first. His lips were already brushing Sarah's. He felt his hand on her cheek.

But Sarah Reese wasn't dreaming this time. She was sure of it. "Connor, maybe we should just…"

He silenced her by leaving her lips and kissing her cheek instead, her hand was against his. "Sarah…"

His voice was a mere whisper and she couldn't hold back anymore, she'd been dealing with these unresolved feelings for months, feelings she knew would never be reciprocated.

Until now…

She leaned her forehead against his, nervously inching closer, her mouth and lips were touching his now, slowly at first, both unsure until Connor took a leap and tried to push her mouth slightly open, Sarah accepted the invitation as their tongues made contact for the first time, a shiver running through her.

But Connor's pager went off again forcing them to pull apart, not even being able to process what had just happened.

"What is it?" Sarah asked. she was afraid something might have happened to the girls. "Connor?"

He gazed up at her, his blue eyes were dark and had a look at them Sarah couldn't really place.

It was Robert.

Chapter Text

It had been six months since Connor had taken the job at Mayo Clinic.

Six months since Natalie and Will had gotten engaged.

Six months since Sarah had seen her father defeat death only to have him disappear from her life once more without a trace.

Six months since Ava Bekker had been the sole Fellow under Dr. Latham's wings and four since she'd left, determined that she was better than just Connor's spare. She'd decided to return home and get a clean slate.

Sarah made her way into the hospital in the early hours of the morning, glancing at her phone as she went.

"Good morning." Maggie smiled at her as she met the nurse's eye. "You've been coming in early this entire week, are you on timeout or something?"

"No, I just have a bunch of paperwork to get through."

Maggie nodded as Sarah disappeared into the lounge, just in time for her phone to beep.

"Good morning Dr. Reese." Connor's voice came into her headphones as she changed.

"Good morning Dr. Rhodes." Sarah grinned. "You got in okay?"

"Yeah, surgery was pushed back a bit, it saved me from having to explain myself to Randall."

"Sorry," Sarah said biting her lip.

"Why are you sorry? Yesterday was meant to be fun, it was me who was late, not you." He told her.

Sarah's mind drifted back to the night before, dinner at Connor's, wine and a crazy make out session, not that she'd admit it to anyone out loud, but yeah, being kissed by Connor Rhodes was pretty amazing. "Sarah? Are you there?" His voice pulled her back from her thoughts. "Are we still on tonight?"

"Do we have to?" She asked.

"You said you'd come with me." He told her with a smile.

"In my defense, I was pretty distracted when I seemingly agreed to it." She told him cheekily.

"It's just my sister." He reminded her, oh yeah, she was yet to formally meet Cornelius Rhodes. "Please, I'll make it up to you?"

Sarah bit her lip. "Fine, but just so you know, I don't get dressed up for just anyone."

"You're the best. Have a good day, I'll pick you up at your place at 8?"

"Going to a fancy party?" Natalie Manning said behind Sarah as the screen on her phone went black.

"Oh, it's just a thing with his sister." She said.

"Sounds important." Natalie put in. "Like you two are getting serious." In truth, they'd only been formally dating for a few months, but she had to admit Connor had been her best friend longer than that and yeah if she was being completely honest, maybe she and Connor were pretty serious. Sarah finished getting dressed and excused herself, making her way to the ward.

On the way to the elevator she found Dr. Latham's new fellow James Mason, Dr. Mason was a bit older than Connor and whom Sarah found out from the nurses had been Dr. Latham's next choice after Ava. It seemed he was a fellow that worked well with his mentor but the man seemed to keep to himself, Sarah figured it was because he was married with kids, so he liked his time at home to be private.

"Good morning Dr. Reese, starting early?"

"Always good to have a head start." Sarah smiled. Dr. Mason got off on his floor and Sarah took a minute to enjoy the peace of the elevator. These days she mostly took on the ED or the ward, whichever Dr. Charles asked her to.

Ever since her father left, Sarah had found a new confidence in her she didn't know she had, maybe the tipping point had been since that night she and Connor had made it back to Robert's room to find Dr. Charles trying to perform CPR, only to have Connor get him back a moment later that she had begun to give her life another look.

Her father's vanishing had caused Sarah to make a definite move on her life's path, declaring to Connor she wanted more to her life than just being a woman with daddy issues who couldn't trust a man because of what Robert had done to her.

Still, the consequences of her father's actions had left an impact on her fellow co-workers, especially Dr. Charles and Ms. Goodwin, even Connor had said he was worried about what that man was capable of, but all Sarah knew was that she was still reeling from the fact Robert was gone and she still struggled with it, even though she knew it was almost impossible for him to care or show emotion, specially for her.

The day went as smoothly as she hoped it would so she could go home and change before meeting Connor, thankfully there wasn't a catastrophe waiting to happen as she made it to her car and drove home.

She hated dressing up and what she'd said to Connor was true, she wouldn't just put on anevening dress for anyone. She'd just finished up her make up when he got to her apartment and she buzzed him up.

"What do you think? Be honest." She said as soon as she opened the door.

"You look beautiful, honestly." He smiled, he looked gorgeous of course, in a black tie, spiked up black hair and those blue eyes, he gave her a quick kiss on the lips. "Wine, will that be enough for my perfectionist sister?"

"You said it's just her and her fiancé, I'm sure that's more than fine," Sarah said, grabbing her coat as her boyfriend continued to examine his gift.

"You clearly haven't spent enough time with Claire, not that I plan to put you through that." Connor smiled as he offered her his hand and they made it down to his car.

Claire was getting married, which had come as a surprise to her brother of all people, not that they were close, Connor had admitted to Sarah early on and she had met Claire, barely, before as they had brought their old childhood friend, then, she had taken Sarah the wrong way, but now as she was more in more in touch with Connor's world, she honestly felt sorry for her, Elizabeth had died when Claire was young and their father had pulled away from both his kids and put a lot of pressure on them as they got older, which pretty much was a textbook diagnosis for the sibling's trust issues.

Sarah was honestly glad Claire had hopefullyfound someone as she'd found Connor.

"Where are you?" Connor's voice pulled her back to reality as he kissed her hand. "Everything okay?"

Sarah nodded. "Yeah, I'm just thinking..."

"Not about that dress I hope? You look beautiful Sarah." He told her, beaming.

"No, I just have this eval I have to hand over to Ms. Goodwin, I'm talking about work, sorry."

"Don't be." Connor smiled. It was times like these that they would talk about work, for at least a little while, their victories and loses. Sarah was honestly beyond proud of him for rising up to the challenge and not choosing Med over Mayo, especially if he'd done it because of her, Sarah didn't think she could forgive herself for it.

Mayo Clinic had just started a special facility, famous for advancements in Pediatric care in Chicago, which meant he was staying home, at least for the time being, having the opportunity to help babies and young kids like the Cronin girls, but Sarah was aware that he might as well be called over to the main faculties in Rochester or Arizona and that made her nervous, But for now, he was still within the same city but she missed having him around at Med, even if he was doing something pretty great, saving little kids lives.

"We're here." Connor glanced over at the house. It was his childhood home which seemed to be bigger than all the houses Sarah had lived in her entire life, and there were a lot. He opened the door for her and she followed him inside after the driver had taken the car away.

"We should come up with a safe word, for when we just had enough and want to get out of here," Connor whispered in her ear.

Sarah huffed. "Let's just at least say hello to your sister first, that's why we're here for, isn't it?" Connor rolled his eyes.

"You came, I was beginning to think you'd ditched me." Claire smiled at them both. "Sarah, so nice to see you again."

"You too, congratulations, this all looks amazing." She said in all honesty.

"I really didn't have a lot of time to plan like I'd wish to but…" Claire began as Sarah stood there watching Connor's demeanour, it was clear he still struggled with being there and tried to stay as far away as he could from events regarding his family.

"Connor, want a drink?" Eric, Claire's fiancé came to find Rhodes. "You grew up here, please save me from your sister's friends."

"Don't," Claire told Connor. "He'll have to learn to deal with them eventually."

Connor smiled, accepting the drink from Eric. "Sorry pal, I'm tired tonight."

"Like you'd ever do anything your sister told you," Eric told Connor. "What do you say, Sarah, as a fellow outsider, you want to give me a hand?"

"Don't you dare, the girl doesn't even have a drink yet," Claire told him once more. "Come on, let's go get you something."

Connor had watched Sarah around her sister before, but for some reason tonight she was a bit different, she didn't look like a lost puppy amongst Claire's friends or spent the night asking for him to save her. "Aren't you tired?" He whispered, standing beside her as people began gathering on the dance floor. Sarah looked up at him, kissing the side of his mouth.

"Now I am." She told him, she certainly didn't have the expertise or the etiquette to dance in front of Claire's rich friends, not that she'd dared to.

Connor chuckled. "Let's go."

They made it outside after saying goodbye to Claire and Eric and headed over to Connor's car.

"All I want to do now is get out of these shoes." Sarah sighed as she laid back in her seat.

"You didn't have the worst time, did you?" Connor asked worriedly.

"No, I don't think I did," Sarah admitted. "And Claire seemed happy."

"She did." Connor agreed. "Your place?"

"Please, I for once need to get a good night's sleep, I want to be as prepared as I can."

Connor smiled, biting his lip. "Can I stay for a little while?"

And stayed for a while he did, they made it to her apartment and she got out of that fancy dress, she didn't really mind if he saw her in just a pair of pants and a sweatshirt.

He'd already taken the tie off and his hair was messy. "You want a drink?"

"Just water." She eyed him carefully. Connor sighed and grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge.

"Thank you." She smiled as he slumped beside her on the couch. "Are you nervous about tomorrow?"

Sarah sighed. "A little, I mean it's interns and we'll be getting new people coming in and…"

"You're more experienced than any of them Sarah." Connor told her. "You'll do fine."

"Will I? Two years ago, I was as lost as any of them."

Connor thought of the whole ordeal with her father. "And then you found your way, you just have to show them to find theirs. be their Dr. Charles."

Sarah smiled, grateful for the encouragement. "I'll try."

Connor leaned to kiss her on the lips, he'd started slow and sweet but soon enough she was being pushed down on the couch. "Connor?"

"Yeah?" He said between kisses. "I should go, right?"

Sarah hated herself and her over righteous personality. "No, I was, umm... do you want to stay over? I mean we would have to only sleep because that is all I can handle right now but…"

Connor silenced her with a kiss. "I'd love to." He stood up from the couch and offered her his hand.

Sarah then thought of Natalie's words and just how she could get used to the idea of her and Connor being something serious.

He drove her to work the next morning as she was too anxious for Ms. Goodwin's eval and to meet with the new faces that would join Med.

"You're gonna do great baby, okay?" Sarah smiled, never in a million years did she think Connor Rhodes would call her that, nor that she'd wake up next to him in the morning. "Just remember to breathe."

Sarah got out of the car just as Natalie and Will were walking by. "Connor?" They both bent their heads into the car to say hi. "We've missed you around here, you're still coming to Owen's birthday party Saturday, right?"

"Or are you too much of a bigshot now for us?" Will mused.

"I'll be there." He said smiling.

"We'll see you in there Sarah?" Natalie touched Reese's shoulder as she dragged Will along with her. "Don't be a stranger, okay?" She waved at Connor.

Sarah bit her lip. "What?" Connor inquired.

"Nothing, it's just…" She didn't know why she suddenly felt self conscious of her relationship status. "Really, it doesn't matter…"

"Sarah…" He told her from inside the car, glancing at his watch as he got out. "Hey, talk to me."

"I just didn't, I never thought this would be us, you and me, going to Owen's birthday party and me dressing fancy for your sister.

Connor glanced at her confused. "Is this because I stayed over last night?"

"No, I didn't mean it like that…." Sarah looked down only to have him grab her chin softly. "You and I are what we make ourselves and you don't have to care about what others think, alright?"

Sarah nodded, grabbing his hand for a minute. "I should go." She told him.

"Go, be amazing." He beamed at her as he kissed her lips quickly. "Call me later?"

Sarah had nailed her eval and now she was ready to mentor. Daniel had called on her specifically to start grooming one of the newbies to tag along, she'd have to hunt for the best one.

"That went well, I'd say…" Daniel sighed as he and Sarah took a break from his office. "It was just the first day but I'm sure we'll have found someone by the end of the week, that is if Emergency Medicine doesn't lure them all away." There was silence between them. "You should go, Sarah, there's still a lot to do, but the real work? Starts tomorrow."

Reese sighed, she'd texted Connor for the fourth time when he called her to say he was running late.

"Sarah? Everything okay?" April Sexton found her sitting on a bench outside the hospital, she and Ethan were still walking on eggshells after the Emily disaster but Sarah was sure they'd work it out eventually.

"Yeah, I'm just." April sat beside her as she glanced at her phone. "Waiting for my ride."

"Connor?" The young nurse smiled. "You know I still cannot believe he left Gaffney, I mean, it was a great opportunity and all but…"

"Yeah, you and me both but he seems to be finding himself doing the work which is why he took it in the first place, the feeling of being stuck is the worst, I should know."

"Well, you two certainly seem to have found that with each other, no?" Sarah and April weren't close but in the last few months, she found herself in alliance and somewhat close to everyone at Med, she missed Connor and they provided comfort and familiarity with all the changes that were going around.

Sarah was about to reply when they both saw Connor park right in their eyes. "I'll see you later?"

"Sure." Sarah smiled shyly as April winked at her and eyed Rhodes as she went.

"Sorry, my day went from bad to worse today." He gave her an apologetic glance. Sarah didn't want to push him if he wasn't ready to talk but if she'd learned something this last year was that she couldn't have him keep everything bottled up.

Eventually, he'd explode. "Do you want to talk about it?" She offered as she got into the car and he drove.

"No, not really." He admitted. Sarah figured this had been a loss and it hit everyone hard, especially when you worked in Pediatrics.

She didn't say more. He'd tell her if and when he was ready. "How did the eval go?"

"Well, I'm officially Dr. Charles right hand man…. orwoman in this case." Sarah beamed.

"That's amazing, I knew you could do it…" Connor gave her a genuine smile and a quick kiss. "Do you want to go celebrate? Or maybe I could cook us something?" She'd let him cook because that relaxed him, she'd come to find.

Sarah sat by the kitchen island in Connor's kitchen like that night after the shooting and she thought of just how much her dynamic with him had changed and yet it remained the same.

"What?" He'd asked her, she must have been staring too intently.

"Nothing, sorry." She replied shyly. Connor had touched her chin softly and leaned in to kiss her.

"This...is almost done." He'd stared at his masterpiece of a meal, which he'd come up within less than half an hour and laid out plates for him and Sarah.

"So… your sister asked me to help her pick out a dress," Reese said as they ate. Connor shot her a look.

"She did?"

Sarah nodded. "I found it odd since she seems to have tons of friends." She pointed out. Connor had suddenly tensed up. "I can't see why she would, I know nothing about fashion or wedding planning."

His gaze softened. "Go, at least take advantage of it and have fun." He stood up once they were done and began washing dishes, another thing he seemed to find soothing. Sarah was not big on PDA but if she was home with him, being close, show him how much she cared was something she didn't take for granted.

Her relationship, she couldn't take for granted, it had been Connor who'd surprisingly to everyone, even her, had proven to bring so much joy into her life and it was so easy for Sarah to feel safe around him.

She watched him wash for a minute and then grabbed a towel. "I can do this, it's okay." He assured her.

"I know." She told him softly. "But if I help you we'll finish faster?"

"Teamwork, I like that." He smiled, touching her nose slightly and Sarah felt the sudden rush to kiss him.

A moment later they'd broken contact to breathe. "What was that for? Not that I'm complaining but...Did something happen?" He suddenly added in worry, typical Connor, he was the one who'd had it hard today at work and didn't make it about himself.

"Talk to me." She mimicked his tone from that morning.

"We lost one of the twins, Tobey didn't make it." He confessed.

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah…" He pulled away from her, sighing as he ran his fingers through his hair.

Sarah sat beside him on the couch as he looked desperate for comfort, she was asking him if he was okay but she could clearly see he was struggling.

"Connor, hey, it's okay, they can't all happen our way, no matter how much we want them to." He turned to look at her. "Those parents know how hard you tried to give their babies their best chance."

"It shouldn't have happened." He said, standing up. Sarah wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him.

She'd ended up staying over. Yeah, Sarah was pretty sure this was what getting serious meant.

The next few days went by in a blur for Sarah and she'd barely been out of Med as she dealt with the Med students and interns. She was pretty sure to have found her minion.

Stephanie Wallace reminded Sarah too much of herself when she began working at Gaffney and Reese felt the need to take the girl under her wing.

Saturday came and Sarah found herself finding a gift for Owen at the store, she'd been so busy with work she'd totally forgotten. Connor had had a last-minute emergency at the clinic so he asked her if he could meet her over at the park where the party would take place.

It was a small gathering really, a few kids and moms from his preschool, his Grandma Helen, nurses from the hospital who were friends with Nat and their kids.

April had shown up solo so Sarah went up to her.

"Hey, where's Connor?"

"Work," Sarah said as they both sat on the table meant for grownups. "He should be here soon."

"Ethan had a meeting at Emily's AA counseling so…"

"Oh yeah, how's that going?"

April shrugged. "She's trying, but I don't know, he's been disappointed too many times before…"

Sarah was an expert on disappointing family members. "If she needs someone else to talk to, maybe I could help?" She offered.

April smiled. "Thanks."

Just as they both turned around, Connor walked over, his head was covered with a backwards cap and a bright smile.

Sarah's heart skipped a beat. "What did I miss?"

"Not the cake," Maggie said passing by. "It's good to see you Dr. Rhodes."

"You too Maggie." Connor beamed, the nurse winked at the both of them as she passed by. Connor offered Sarah a quick kiss as Natalie called them to sing happy birthday.

The rest of the party went on smoothly. Will seemed more and more comfortable with the role he was taking on and Owen was too, Sarah noticed as she watched them.

"He's a natural," Natalie said behind Sarah. "And I'm not just saying that because we're getting married. I think he just needed to relax and let Owen take over."

Sarah smiled. "Makes me think of just how much I wish he'd have Jeff for that, does that make me horrible? I mean I love Will and I would never want him to feel like his second choice, even if I still miss Jeff." They then saw Connor join in the fun.

Sarah's mind began to race. She and Connor had never brought up kids and honestly, they were far behind on their relationship for that but she couldn't help notice how good he looked with a kid in his arms.

Natalie's pager beeped in her pocket and Sarah suddenly realized her pager was beeping too.

Will soon turned to look at them as well.

"Massive car wreck, at least 7 cars on the freeway. Med is the closest hospital." Maggie told them.

"Rhodes, you staying?" Will called as they all made it back to help, thank thankgoodness the park was near by.

Dr. Stohl glanced over at the former trauma fellow. "Dr. Rhodes doesn't have any privileges at Gaffney anymore."

"We could use all the help we can get." Goodwin appeared behind him. "There's at least 30 victims, I'll take care of it, will you manage, Dr. Rhodes."

"Of course," Connor assured him. Sarah followed the others inside as they began preparing for the incoming victims.

"Dr. Reese, you think you could give us a hand in Trauma today too?" Maggie asked. Sarah turned to look at Connor who nodded reassuringly. She smiled back.

"Reese, with me." Natalie called as Sarah hurried after her, glancing back at Connor as she went.

Alright, let's get to work people!" Maggie called.

Connor trailed after Will, feeling a rush as the first people began to arrive.

"Feels like you've never left, huh?" Will smiled at Connor.

It certainly felt good to be back, even if it was just for a little while.

Chapter Text

Sarah woke up to the feeling of the sun on her face, it was warm outside but soon summer would start to wind down and bring on the rain.

She was back at her apartment while Connor wasn't in Chicago as the Mayo team had gone to Rochester for a conference. He'd insisted she could stay over at his place if she wanted to but she'd declined.

It was nice to be back in her one- room apartment even if she was practically spending way too much time at Connor's.

"Dr. Reese." Stephanie said with a smile. "Good morning. Dr. Charles asked me to come find you as soon as you came in. He said to go straight to Ms. Goodwin's office."

Sarah nodded kindly. "Alright. Thanks."

Her student was turning out to be just as smart as Sarah had been, but not as shy and she seemed to have a knack for connecting with others, much more than she'd been.

"I'm gonna go check on Todd, he's restless again," Stephanie said taking her leave.

Sarah made her way up to Sharon's office, wondering why she was meeting her mentor and boss in such a hurry.

"Dr. Reese, come in please," Ms. Goodwin called as Sarah knocked. She saw Sharon, Daniel and Will's brother Jay in the office.

Why were the police there?

"Sarah, how are you?" Jay said kindly. "I'm sure you're wondering why you are here?"

She nodded as Jay offered her a seat. "Does the name Olivia Coveny mean anything to you?"

"No, should it?" Sarah inquired.

Jay glanced at Daniel and Sharon. "It appears someone has been feeding us information on a case," Ms. Goodwin said.

"Is she a former patient or…"

"She studied under your father when he was on Campus in Madison," Daniel said.

"Okay…"

"Det. Halstead has asked us to help in any way we can regarding your father's whereabouts Dr. Reese." Ms. Goodwin told Sarah.

"I haven't heard from him in six months not since he was discharged," Sarah told them. "What's this all about?"

"Someone has made us aware that your father might be involved in Ms. Coveny's disappearance," Jay said.

Connor hadn't heard from Sarah all day, he'd be back in Chicago the next day but it was Saturday and she'd be going on a shopping spree with his sister so knowing Sarah she'd probably be catching up with work.

He smiled to himself, the idea of Sarah and Claire getting along amused him but also made him happy, he was starting to make amends in some way for the crappy relationship he and his sister had had for years.

And he was aware Sarah's presence might have had something to do with it, Claire honestly seemed to like her.

On cue his phone buzzed on the nightstand in his hotel room.

"Hey, you." He said softly. "Long day?"

"You could say that." came Sarah's voice. Connor sensed something was off instantly. "And you?"

"I'm about to go for drinks."

"How's Rochester?"

"I like Chicago better." He admitted.

"So, no moving anytime soon?" He heard her huff.

"Wait, who said anything about moving?" Connor inquired.

"Well, it's obvious, once everyone sees how amazing you are, they're going to want you to stay."

"Sarah…"

"It's just common sense, Connor."

"Okay…" He said. "What's going on? This is not about whether or not I move, is it?" There was silence on the line. "Did something happen at work?"

"No, sorry I just miss you…"

"I miss you too baby." There was a knock on the door. "Hey listen, I'm going to tell them drinks are off okay?"

"No, go. Have fun, I'm just being mopey, I'll see you tomorrow okay?"

"Are you sure?" He asked sweetly.

"I am." she hesitated a bit. "Go, you deserve it."

"Alright, we'll talk when I get home?"

"Yeah, for sure." He reached for the door. "Hey, Connor? I love you."

"I love you too." He beamed.

The line went dead and Sarah laid her head back on the pillow, she had made sure to lock herself in twice, suddenly the apartment had turned out to be pretty scary, especially because she knew Robert could find it.

Jay had tried to explain the situation to her the best he could but Sarah couldn't process the fact that someone was implying her father had been involved in the harming of some girl who might as well be her age now.

Reese's logical sense told her it could be entirely possible, as to feel some kind of emotion, Robert could have taunted that girl and…

it made her shiver, she'd been so close to allowing him to move in with her, but he'd left before they could agree on anything.

Sarah turned on the TV, to have some background noise as her mind was reeling over where her father might be.

Connor made it back to his room early, he'd hoped to catch Sarah and due to the time difference, it would be around 9pm in Chicago. She answered rather quickly.

"Hey, I'm back in my room, drinks turned out to be boring. What are you doing?"

"Watching some rom com," Sarah said.

"Without me? Connor mused. "What time are you meeting Claire tomorrow?"

"Around 11…."

"So, you guys will be done by the time I get back?" Connor asked. Sarah figured they would. "I'll buy you a late lunch?"

"Sounds good, text me as soon as you board?"

"I will." He smiled into the phone. "Are you feeling any better?"

She wasn't. "Yeah, I probably just need some sleep."

"I'll leave you to it then." He said.

"Good night." She said softly.

"Rest easy Dr. Reese."

Morning came and Sarah had not slept. The looming sensation of what she'd learned yesterday hung over her.

She got up and tidied up the apartment a bit, her door locked and music turned on. She knew Claire would be on time to pick her up.

Sarah hesitated to open the door when she heard a knock. Even though she knew Claire would be on the other side. She'd just buzzed her up.

"Hey!" Claire smiled. "Are you ready?"

Sarah smiled back. "Coffee? I didn't know what kind you liked but no one can say no to Frappuccino's, right?" She handed her a drink. "Or we can get something else once we're there, whatever you want…"

"It's fine, thank you," Sarah told her. Claire looked at her for a minute, it was scary how her expressions sometimes mirrored Connor's so much although they were so different. "Everything okay? You're not too excited about this, are you?"

"No, I just had a lot of work to do, I'm sorry," Sarah said to Claire.

"Yes well, I only have to think about being a doctor and it makes my head hurt."

Sarah smiled. "Sometimes…" She followed her down the stairs and out the door where a car was waiting for them, Reese looked around, unsure of her surroundings. She wondered for a minute if she'd locked the door and almost turned back.

"Miss Reese." Tom, Claire's driver opened the door for her. "Good morning."

Sarah was thankful they at least wouldn't be alone. "So, I was thinking maybe we could start looking for bridesmaid's dresses? I won't have a Maid of Honor's but I'd love it if you agreed to it."

Would Sarah be one of her bridesmaids? What if she and Connor broke up? That would be pretty embarrassing to remember.

"Really?" She asked.

"Of course," Claire told her. "Listen, I know you and Connor haven't been dating long but, well, the truth is, I really like you, Sarah, you're genuine, unlike all the bimbos my dear brother has been with."

Sarah froze. Yeah, Claire probably knew all about Connor's track record with women. They reached Dolan Rhodes Department Store. Sarah had never been inside, not even now that she and Connor were together.

It was a little intimidating, to say the least. "Sarah? Overwhelming, right? Try being 9 and practically living here." Claire said. "Come on, we need to go up to my office."

Sarah followed suit, trying to ignore the fact she felt underdressed and a little undeserving to be there.

"Miss Claire, your father is here." A woman said once they got out of the elevator. Sarah watched as Claire demeanor seemed to switch at the mention of her father. "Should I tell him you've arrived?"

"Yeah, sure. I'll meet him in the office, Sarah, why don't you go ahead, I won't be long?"

Sarah nodded as she followed Tom to Claire's office. She kept her head down, she couldn't believe she was so close to Connor's dad.

She didn't want to meet him right now, not with bags under her eyes and especially not without Connor.

"So, he might have actually done something?" Will asked Jay. He'd come down to the ED after coming to see Daniel and Ms. Goodwin again. "Reese's dad?"

"We still don't know, is Sarah here?"

"No, it's her day off. Should we be worried? I mean her dad was a patient of Connor's. He could easily walk back in here."

"That's why I told you, you might want to keep an eye on her, he might try and reach out if he feels threatened…"

Will nodded.

"Jay, what a nice surprise, we missed you at Owen's birthday last week." Natalie offered him a hug.

"Yeah, I'm sorry. Did you get the gift I sent him though, I promise to take him out somewhere this week?" Natalie smiled.

"Of course." She told him.

"Okay, great, I gotta run, but make sure you do what I asked okay? And call me if you hear something?"

"What are you boys up to? You are not playing cops again, are you?" Natalie inquired.

Will chuckled. "No, Jay just came to talk about wedding stuff…"

"Really? You and Jay talking about our wedding?"

"Of course, he's my best man...speaking of which, we need to go check out the venues right?"

"Yeah. I made some calls, we might have booked The Rose for October."

"Oh…" Will smiled. "Okay…"

"Or we could take upon Connor's offer to use his place, it's cheaper." Will huffed.

"I don't know Nat…"

"I thought you and Connor were over that juvenile phase." Natalie chided making him roll his eyes.

"We are, but I can pay for it, okay? I don't need to be Connor's charity case. "

"Okay." Nat didn't push it further. She knew there were still unresolved feelings between them.

"Dr. Manning, we need you…" Maggie called. Natalie leaned in to kiss his cheek. "I'll see you, okay?"

"I'll be here." He smiled.

Connor would meet Sarah and Claire at a nearby restaurant, he glanced down at his phone, a picture of him and Sarah beaming at Owen's party looked back at him. He smiled to himself.

It had taken him so long to get back to being in a good place in his life, professionally andpersonally. This was actually a feeling he hadn't been familiar with in a while.

He looked up just in time to see the girls approach him. He stood up to meet them. "Sorry, we're late."

"It's fine, I hadn't been waiting for long." He grinned at Sarah, offering her a quick kiss. "How was dress hunting?"

"Exhausting, I pray this is my only wedding." Claire pointed out after she'd kissed her brother's cheek.

"Speaking of that, where's Eric?"

"He's flying in tonight from LA," Claire said. "Dad sent him to check out some business matters."

Connor sighed. "He couldn't groom his son so he's trying to tame his soon to be son in law? That's sad."

"Connor…" Claire glared at him. "Please don't start, it was your choice and Eric actually enjoys it."

"What? Sucking up to Dad?" Connor mused to his sister's annoyance.

"Can we please change the subject? I actually want to just hang out, or else I will steal Sarah and not invite you, next time."

Sarah allowed herself to relax as she and Connor got to his apartment later. She hadn't mentioned anything about Jay or her father. He'd havedragged Will's brother over and have him explain everything.

But she knew she'd have to tell him at some point. "You are too quiet. is everything okay?" Connor asked dropping his keys on the counter. "Is this about me going to Rochester?" He walked over to place his arms on her shoulders.

"How was the conference, you haven't told me…" Sarah tried to shift the conversation.

"It was…. different. Would you believe me if I said I felt as if Natalie should be there and not me?"

"Natalie?"

"Don't get me wrong, I love it, but Peds, it never felt like something I'd specialize on. It's different for sure, but I miss the ED."

Sarah wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. "I felt the same when Dr. Charles brought me over with him. It's new but exciting, you just have to find your place in it."

"I guess you're right." Connor mused. Truth be told, he struggled with it, it was an amazing feeling but also the most frustrating one.

These were little kids, most of them didn't have any idea of what was happening, they were scared and confused.

Much like Connor had been when his mother had gotten sick early on. He hadn't told Sarah much about his Mom. He didn't want to scare her off just yet. "What are you thinking about?" Sarah called his attention.

"How much I missed you." He grinned, taking her hands and kissing them.

"Not that much, right?" She joked.

"You want to bet?" He smirked.

"Oh, what are you going to do about it?" She leaned in to kiss him. He grabbed onto her face and deepened the kiss.

Sarah allowed herself to be immersed in the feeling of having Connor back, the calm he brought her, the safety of his home and his love for her.

"You're staying right?" He asked between kisses. "We haven't seen each other all week..."

He then moved to her neck. "I... I'm spending too much time here…" Sarah whispered.

"So? Is that bad?"

"I guess If you found a way to convince me, I would..."

"That's exactly what I'm trying to do Dr. Reese..."

Sarah lost all coherent thought as he continued to kiss her.

"I've missed you..." he admitted after they'd sat on the couch.

"Me too."

"How was being back at your apartment?"

Sarah took his hand. "Weird, I'm kind of getting used to here."

"You can stay over any time." He grinned.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

She smiled, watching as he stared at her. He was probably trying to read her. "So what do you say we go watch a movie?"

"Will we actually finish it this time?" She raised an eyebrow at him.

"I'll try my best." He promised, taking her hand as he led her to the bedroom.

An hour or so later she laid there, happy she hadn't returned to her apartment, unknown to Connor, mostly due to the fear of having Robert show up. Although it also had to do with just how much she loved being like that with him.. It felt like home.

Her phone buzzed, she glanced at the screen. It was almost midnight. "Sarah?" It was Jay Halstead on the other line. Sarah held her breath, a million scenarios playing in her head.

"Yeah?"

"I'm sorry for calling you at this hour, just wanted to check on you, we believe we have spotted your father, he might try and contact you…"

"What should I do?" Sarah whispered. She glanced back at Connor to make sure he was still asleep.

"As soon as he tries to get in touch, please let us know, are you at home?"

"No, I'm not at my apartment…"

"Oh, alright. Does your father have a key to it?"

"I didn't give him one." Sarah bit her lip.

"Okay, that's great, listen, Sarah, we're just taking precautions right now, you might be the first person he'll try to go to."

"Hey, what's going on?" Sarah almost jumped by the sound of Connor's voice a moment after Jay had hung up. "Are you being called in?"

Sarah turned to look at him. "It was Jay Halstead."

Connor's eyes widen in confusion. "Okay, why is he calling you in the middle of the night?"

She'd been caught and there was no running away from it.

Chapter Text

Sarah walked into Med with her head held high, she could tell everyone was watching her, or at least that's the way it felt.

Connor couldn't take his eyes off her either and not in a good way. She'd seen firsthand how he had reacted to Robin when she'd first gotten sick and she didn't want that. No matter how sweet or dedicated he was to the people he cared about.

"Sarah, hi." It was Will.

"Hey. Good morning."

"You alright?" He asked. She'd seen herself in the mirror before she left. She seemed tired.

"Yeah, I just have to start my rounds." She said kindly. Will nodded.

"Oh yeah, right." Natalie walked in, just as Sarah was about to leave and that gave her the opportunity to disappear.

The rest of her day was okay. No major traumas or anything which she was grateful for but then she was called her up to Ms. Goodwin's office, she told herself it wasn't because the police were there again.

Not exactly, but Sharon had extended her help to Sarah and wanted to talk to her about security measures and the idea that it might be better for her not to be alone.

Robert was smart, too smart for their wit and they understood that. That's the way he had played it before. Manipulated Connor, Sarah and even Daniel himself.

Sarah sighed. She wished she could just go home and curl up in a ball. She wished she had never been keen to want to know her father.

That she hadn't allowed herself to care about him in the first place.

She wished Connor hadn't saved him, because of her, because of himself and his desire to fix people.

She didn't know why she was suddenly mad at Connor, he hadn't known her father could be this dangerous when he first treated him.

The day ended and Connor called to let her know he was on his way to pick her up.

Sarah hadn't dared to leave Maggie's side until she was sure Connor was right outside, and even as she walked still she glanced around just to make sure.

They were going to his apartment and she didn't even care she might not even have clean clothes for the next day, still they didn't talk much as he hesitated to start the car.

He hadn't even kissed her. "Can we please not do this?" She spoke finally. Connor glanced at her. "Please…"

"Do what?"

"Act like we are just waiting for the worst to happen."

"How do you want me to react then?" He told her dryly. Not even when he had been a fellow and her a Med Student had he talked to her like that. "You didn't tell me what was happening, I could have done something."

Sarah felt as if she had been dumped into an ice bucket. "Can you please take me to my apartment?"

"You're not staying there by yourself."

"Says who?" She couldn't believe they were acting like this. "Open the door Connor…." He didn't move, she unlocked the door herself and pushed it open.

"Sarah…" He turned back to get out too."I'm serious, get back in the car."

"Guys, everything okay?" Natalie's voice called as she and Will were just leaving. Connor glanced at Sarah as she asked them to drive her home.

Will's eyes drifted back and forth between the two of them. "Sarah honey, I think you'd be safer at Connor's."

"Can all of you please stop acting like I can't take care of myself?!" She said angrily. "Because I can… I don't need people taking care of me." She started walking back inside Med and Connor watched her, pulling away from him."I never have."

"Sarah, wait…"

"No…" She told him. "Go home Connor…" They'd reached the door. "I'm back where it's safe, where there's security…"

He followed her inside, earning a few glances from Maggie, Monique and the other nurses. "Sarah, would you stop?"

"I told you to go home…" She almost threw the door of the lounge at him. He tried to reach for her but she pulled back.

"God, now I see it."

"What?" He asked, afraid of what the answer might be.

"What drove Robin away."

Sarah's eyes stared directly into Connor's face. Her mind was going crazy. A million scenarios playing in her mind.

"Sarah, will you please tell me what's going on? Why is PD calling you this late at night? Is it a patient?"

Could be. She saw a lot of disturbed people in her line of work. "Robert, they came to ask me if I'd seen him lately."

"Why?" Connor sounded like he was afraid of the answer, he might not be an expert but he understood enough on Robert's condition. "Why are the police interested in him?"

What he'd heard from Ms. Goodwin and Dr. Charles finally made sense in some way.

"Okay, I'm going to tell you but you have to promise to listen until I'm done."

Connor nodded in spite of himself.

Olivia Coveny? Why was her name so familiar?

He couldn't have heard it on the news, he'd hadn't been in Chicago ten years ago.

"Connor?" Sarah's voice snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Has he...has he tried to reach out to you?" He couldn't believe he'd been the one responsible for a man like Robert to continue to exist. And now he might be after Sarah.

He felt sick.

"No, I haven't heard from him in six months but Jay believes he might try and contact me." Connor nodded again. He'd said he was able to hear her mind scrambling to process it all. Now she could relate. He grabbed his phone. "What are you doing?"

"I'm calling Jay."

"Connor, no stop, let the police handle it, please?" She reached for his hand. He rubbed it, trying to find comfort in the fact that she was close, that she was with him.

Safe.

"What time is your shift?"

"I have rounds at 9." She said. Connor glanced at his phone.

Less than 9 hours. "Okay, let me… let me handle this…"

"Handle what? We need to sleep." She leaned into kiss him. "Nothing needs handling, I promise, Jay is already taking care of it."

"Sarah…" He looked at her and she touched his chin, Connor leaned his forehead against hers, opening those blue eyes to look at her."I can't just do nothing. Not when I know he might try and hurt you."

"First of, this is not nothing..." she assured him. He kissed her, pouring all he had into the kiss, all the feelings that had come out into it. "You can hold me, that's what I need right now, okay?"

He nodded, pushing her back onto the bed and she allowed him to, wrapping his arms around her waist, his chin against her neck.

But as Connor laid there, he was just trying to make sense of it all, he watched as Sarah slept now that she had finally managed to. He might not have been able to save his Robin, but he'd be damned if he'd let something happen to Sarah.

It had been two weeks since Sarah had heard anything on Robert's case. Jay had said all they had were leads but he didn't want to worry her with no need.

But she did worry, not that she'd admitted to anyone at work, they fussed enough already. Natalie and Will were particularly chummy and Maggie watched her carefully.

Constantly.

But worst of all was Connor, for once she was grateful he didn't work at Med anymore. She couldn't deal with him being overbearing there too. A part of her couldn't blame him, not really, he was Connor so he'd worry, but another part of her just wanted to make a run for the door, drive away and never come back.

She'd even considered going back to Michigan for a while with her Mom, who was oblivious to the whole Robert situation. She could just tell her she had a few days off and needed to get away, not that her Mom would pay any attention to it.

She had her own worries with her new boyfriend and work.

"Sarah, we're all going to Molly's later, want to come?" Natalie asked her on a Wednesday afternoon as she came down for a consult with Dr. Charles. Her mentor glanced at her. "You can tell Connor to come to if he wants to. Please don't say no, it will do you do some good."

Sarah smiled, honestly, she needed to get out of the apartment.

"Okay."

Natalie smiled, walking away ."Great, we'll drive you?"

Sarah sighed. "What?" She turned to Dr. Charles.

"Oh nothing…"

"That's not nothing." She told him. Daniel smiled.

"Any word from Det. Halstead?" He asked.

"No. Has he tried talking to you?"

"Not a word, but no news is good news, isn't it?" Sarah nodded.

"Did you know?" Sarah asked suddenly after a moment. "Did you know my father was capable of doing something like that?"

They hadn't talked about Robert much actually, Sarah had been avoiding Daniel in all her might, but that didn't prove easy given that he was her superior. " All Psychopaths work differently, they all have tendencies. Bob's profile didn't seem to fit the criteria."

"Which means it's the hardest one to predict, isn't it?" Sarah asked. Daniel nodded.

Great

Sarah made it to Molly's with Natalie and Will, later to be joined by April, Monique and Maggie.

Ethan hadn't showed up which Sarah could see was still hard on April, but in his defense, he had been focusing so hard on getting Emily clean that he really hadn't had time to focus on his relationship with her. April had asked him not to, he needed to work things out with Emily before they could have another shot.

Sarah looked down at her phone.

Connor was on his way even though he hadn't liked the idea one bit, but at least she'd be surrounded by their friend's watchful eyes. "How are you holding up Reese?" Will asked, forcing her to look at him. "Is Connor still being a pain?"

"Will…"

"What? He hired her a bodyguard… I mean, that's over the top, even for him."

Oh yeah, Sully, he was a friend of Tom's and came with high recommendation from Claire.

Sarah had had a fit about it, but Connor seemed to get off her back a little when she agreed to it.

"It's fine, Sully's actually really nice…"

"And cute." Maggie pointed out, watching out for the tall man on the corner. Sarah smiled. "Are you going to keep him?"

"Well, she and Connor are going to his sister's wedding together next month…" Natalie said and made Sarah blush. She was grateful they were keeping her mind off the obvious.

"Yeah, I heard about that. How's it going with the sister?"

"She's nothing like I imagined she'd be actually..." Sarah admitted. Claire was pretty amazing, to her at least, Sarah liked the idea of having won over Connor's sister, even if she hadn't tried to.

Not really.

"Hello stranger." Herman said as soon as Connor made it to Molly's. "What's up? The gang's over there."

"How's Sarah doing?" Connor asked honestly. Hermann smiled.

"You two having problems?"

"More like I'm the problem." His friend shot him a look.

"Ah, well, that happens, you should ask my wife all about it, she'd tell you." Connor smiled grimly. "Have you two talked?"

"Connor!" Natalie called, cutting his conversation with Hermann short.

"You better talk to her, hear me? Don't be like that pathology boyfriend she used to have…." Hermann winked at him and Connor sighed.

"Hey, why were you over there by yourself?" Natalie smiled as he approached them. He sat beside Sarah on the table.

"Maybe he's just too much of a big shot for us now." Will put in. Natalie glared at him. "Come on, I'll buy you a drink." Will told him.

Connor smiled, kissing Sarah's cheek and moving over to the bar to help Will with the drinks. Sarah couldn't help but stare at him. "So, have you found a dress yet?" April asked.

"Claire said it would be a surprise." Sarah shrugged. "We're going to check out catering tomorrow"

"Oh, how come she gets you to do all these fun things, I'm getting married soon too, can I drag you along?" Nat asked. "You'll be an expert by the time Will makes up his mind on a venue."

"Are you sure you want me to come?" Sarah asked.

"For sure. I'd love to." She assured her.

Sarah was glad she could be with the girls like this, she'd never been one to have many friends but since coming to Med, everyone had tried to make her a part of something.

"You'd love to what?" Will asked Nat as he and Connor came back to join them. Sarah leaned closer to her boyfriend.

"I'm taking Sarah along on everything wedding related stuff since you can't make up your mind on anything."

Sarah avoided Will's gaze. "Low blow Reese."

"Sorry, you sort of need to make up for mind soon…" Sarah told him and the others began teasing Will.

"You could always use the Ranch, I already offered it to Natalie." Connor told Will who shot him a look.

"No thanks, I can pay for my own wedding."

"My sister would love to charge you on it, she can even help you with decorations." Connor ignored Will and told Natalie.

"Oh, she would? You think she'd give us a discount?" Natalie went on.

"Nat, please don't encourage him…" Will begged, Connor grinned.

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Sarah whispered to him in a low voice as she pretended to kiss him.

"Just a little…" He admitted, kissing her softly on the cheek.

The rest of the evening went smoothly and for the first time in weeks Sarah was able to actually relax, Connor too seemed to have a good time, he seemed a little calmer now that they had Sully keeping an eye out.

Sarah headed straight to the bathroom to change when they got home. Connor had gotten stuff from her apartment for her so she was practically living with him now. It was a strange feeling even though, she'd practically stayed over almost every day before Robert, still, she felt as if she really she didn't live there. Specially in the last few weeks. But Molly's had seemed to have done the trick.

Connor came into the room when she was going through her notes for the next morning.

"So, I'm sort of nervous to have to give Stephanie her first evaluation." She said to him.

"Ah, so she's staying?"

"Yeah, seems like it. She's really got this gift with the patients, more than I ever had…"

"Hey, you are amazing, don't diminish yourself." He told her joining her in bed.

"No, I was dorky and clumsy, Stephanie seems to know what she's doing…" Sarah retorted and Connor laughed. She hadn't seen him laugh much, lately. "And you're laughing… great."

"Sorry…" He smiled looking at her with those eyes and that dark messy hair. "Adorably dorky." He put in to her annoyance and she laughed, hitting him with a pillow. "But honestly, you don't need to worry about her, I think she's more like you than you'd imagine."

"How do you that? You barely know her." Sarah said. Connor bit his lip, he hadn't actually officially gotten a chance to make his assessment on the girl. He'd barely been around Med lately, even though he tried to drive Sarah around as much as he could but work was getting busier by the minute. Sarah was back on focusing on her paper as Connor watched her. "Are you going to keep staring at me like that?"

Connor bit his lip, getting on his tummy and grabbing onto her feet. "Connor, no I have to get this done okay? Dr. Charles still grades me." She said as she pushed back. He groaned.

"Fine." He sat back again and grabbed his phone.

Sarah smiled, biting her lip and leaning to kiss his cheek a moment later. He turned to look at her and grabbed her chin softly, his lips on hers. Sarah closed her eyes as he kissed her. It was the first time in weeks actually that he had seemed relaxed enough. "Connor, seriously…." She chided when the kiss deepened. "I have to…"

"I'm not holding your hands…" He said cheekily, breaking the kiss when they finally needed to breathe, she glared at him. "Okay, I got it, I'll behave."

He moved to the other side of the bed and focused back on his phone, but Sarah couldn't leave it like that so she grabbed on her paper and moved so her back was in front of him. Connor understood and threw the pillows to the side to make room. He wrapped her arms around her as she cuddled against him, he planted a quick kiss on her forehead as focused back on work.

Trying very hard to ignore the fact that Connor would kiss her neck from time to time. She'd missed this, she'd missed the normalcy, the sense that her life wasn't some kind disaster waiting to happen.

Going out with Claire was a breath of fresh air for Sarah the next day, she'd told her she'd be having half day off and so she could get out of the hospital to meet her. Connor had been caught up in surgery so she'd texted him to make sure he knew she was on her way to see Claire, with Sully driving her.

Sully was taking her and she had a chance to relax. He was big and Connor had insisted he'd be armed.

So, Sarah asked him to drive her to her apartment to get some things, she hadn't been there since Connor's return from Rochester so she shivered at the sight of it, getting out when Sully opened the door for her.

She grabbed on her phone, a picture of her and Connor at Molly's taken a few months back appeared and her stomach took a turn.

"Are you alright Miss Sarah?" He would have asked her to stay in the car but she'd feel even more nervous to be alone in the street.

"I'm fine." She smiled at the mand and they made their way upstairs, Sarah took small steps, playing with her keys as she went.

She opened the door, the cool air hitting her in the face as she entered after Sully, he'd come inside first to make sure it was safe to, honestly Sarah felt as if she was living in a Law Order episode. "It's clear, you want me to get some bags from the closet Miss Sarah?"

"Thank you Sully." Sully smiled, taking his leave to the back room and Sarah roamed around her apartment. It had been her only home for so long but now looked so foreign to her. Her home was cuddling with Connor as she studied or have him try to teach her how to cook.

Or those late night make out sessions, in which the only sound she could hear was her own heart beating.

That was home for her now, a place where she belonged.

She sighed, moving to the bedroom to check on Sully and start packing. She had to hurry so she wouldn't be late to meet Claire but just as she walked further in, she noticed something was thrown over the kitchen, it took her a minute but Sarah knew she recognized it from somewhere.

She froze, suddenly remembering, having left that small stuffed cat in her father's car the afternoon he'd left.

20 years before.

Chapter Text

Sarah woke up alone, shaking.

Another nightmare. Connor was not home yet, he was probably working late again. She sighed, rubbing her eyes tiredly as she got out of bed and headed to the kitchen for a glass of water. Without Connor, the apartment seemed enormous and scary. She got back into bed, moving closer to his side so she could inhale the scent of his pillow, which happened to bring some comfort.

"Sarah?" She'd left the kitchen light on. Connor snuck his head in with a tired smile. "Hey, what are you doing up?"

"Waiting for you." She lied. She hadn't told him about the nightmares and he had been late almost every night this week to notice which she was grateful for.

She hated having to lie to him.

"I'm sorry the 'Racing clock' project is kind of crazy" he said, dropping his bag on the chair in the room and taking his jacket off, along with his shoes. "Randall is going to have us run it in Rochester in a month and everyone is on edge."

"Well it's a big deal." Sarah beamed. The project was meant to bring in some more funding into the clinic as the team figured out more ways to reduce procedure time on conjoined twins surgeries so that the babies wouldn't have to be under anesthesia for so long. But it was still in the trial testing stage. She leaned into kiss him on the cheek.

"It is." He said with a sense of pride. "We could reduce the risk of babies having any side effects to the drugs long term if we are successful."

"You'll figure it out." She said sweetly. "There's a reason they chose you, you think fast on your feet."

"And you? How was your day?"

Sarah bit her lip. "Good, but that new kid on my rotation? I mean I know I handpicked Stephanie but that Shane kid just keeps getting on my nerves."

"He's learning…"

"I know, but please tell me I wasn't that annoying? Wait, don't answer that…"

He grinned. Sarah smiled back. She loved to see him like this, doing great at work and not worrying over the whole Robert fiasco, of course, she hadn't told him about the toy.

She hadn't told anyone about it.

Not even Jay.

"What?" Connor's voice pulled her back from her thoughts. "Hey, you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm good…" She said leaning in to kiss him, Connor reciprocated quickly, he smelled like baby powder and sweat, which he seemed to realize. "Wait... let me just jump into the shower real quick okay?

Sarah sighed at the loss of contact. "Do you have to?"

"Yes, I was in the lab all day..." He gave her a quick peck and moved to the bathroom. Sarah then glanced at her phone. It was 10:30. She'd been sleeping since getting home.

She'd been doing that a lot lately, feeling tired and drained, maybe it had to do with the fact that she couldn't bring herself to admit her father had been in her apartment, that he might actually be after her, trying to get in her head again like he'd done when he'd first arrived at Med.

She shivered at the thought, she didn't need more bad dreams, as she began to scroll through pictures on her phone to pass the time. A few of the photos were of her and Claire and the venue.

It was funny really, how Claire had seemed like such a stranger to her early on, Connor had been very private about his life and for good reason but his sister was nothing like their father. She was actually very much like Connor himself and Sarah was grateful she had the upcoming wedding to keep her mind from other things.

It was actually the one moment of the day when she could pretend to be just a normal person, just Sarah, who enjoyed weddings, being girly and spa days.

Connor came out from the shower in a pair of boxers and worn t-shirt. Sarah knelt on the bed to reach him as she connected her lips to his.

"Told you I'd be quick." He grinned. Sarah ignored his remark and kissed him again, it was the first night she'd actually been able to stay awake to see him and she missed having all to herself. "Are you okay?" He asked, gazing into her eyes with a frown as he kissed her.

"I'm fine, I just missed you."

"Well, you've been falling asleep on me, which is totally my fault and I plan to make that right tonight." He said against her neck.

As he held her, Sarah thought of the implications of her lie, the idea that her father could just show up in her life again, the idea that he might actually hurt her or someone else, but in that moment, being that close to Connor, that wasn't her biggest fear, losing him was.

Another week went by but the bad dreams hadn't stopped and they were starting to take a toll on Sarah, but she was good at pretending, she'd gotten good at it growing up, pretending everything was okay when the teachers asked her, when her mother's boyfriends tried to be nice but would eventually leave.

Everyone always left. Maybe that'd been the reason she hadn't told Connor the truth about the toy.

Because if she did, he might leave too.

Sarah sighed as she got ready to go to some charity event, they would be meeting Claire whose wedding was less than 3 weeks away and she was getting more anxious so she had begged them to come along.

And she agreed because that was all she had the courage to do right now.

"Would you stop? You look beautiful." Connor said, coming up behind her. "Listen, if you are not up to it, we can forget about the whole thing."

"It's important to Claire, we can't just not go." Sarah replied. Connor eyed her for a moment.

"You and my sister, the biggest mysteries in my life." He mused, turning her around to kiss her lips.

Oh, she was a mystery alright.

They went in Connor's car and as they drove, Sarah couldn't help but think she should tell him... before he found out and hated her for it.

Before that scenario in her mind became a reality. "Sarah? What's wrong?"

"Nothing…" She replied quickly, glancing over at him, he took her hand and kissed it. "Did you talk to Randall?"

She was changing the subject which was good. "Yeah, the presentation is Friday, I can make it back in time for the wedding, don't worry. "

She did worry. He still had to tell Claire he might be late for her wedding. Sarah understood that this project was almost a year long in the making, and he'd wanted to see it through, she just wasn't sure how it would sit with his sister. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah…" He smiled. He glanced back in the review mirror as Sully's lights followed them closely behind.

"You need to tell her Connor…"

She needed to tell him too.

"I will." He promised. She shot him a look.

"Tonight?"

"Yes, tonight." He retorted. They'd made it over to the Rhodes Estate, a flashy party was the last thing Sarah needed but Claire had insisted.

And Sarah had complied.

Just like she'd complied to Sully.

Or her father

Or even Connor.

"Oh good, you're both here." Claire came over wearily. "Let me look at you."

"Stop." Sarah smiled. "She's fine." Eric said as joined them.

"Fine for what?" She asked.

"Dad's here."

Connor's demeanor changed instantly beside Sarah. "I mean, we've sort of been avoiding you meeting him at the office with all the wedding shenanigans but…"

Sarah suddenly felt light headed. "Sarah?" Connor's voice carried in her head.

But it was too late, she would recognize that man anywhere, not that he'd recognize her. "There you two are." Cornelius told Claire and Eric. "Connor, aren't you going to introduce us son?"

"Sarah, this is my father, Dad… this is Sarah Reese." Connor offered. The older man examined Sarah, as if she was merchandise from one of his stores.

Maybe to see if she wasn't damaged goods.

"Reese? What does that sound familiar?"

"She's a doctor too, she used to work with Connor." Claire put in.

"Ah, that's right, in the hospital where I invested too much money and you suddenly left." Connor didn't reply but Sarah felt the need to hold his hand. "How's that little project of yours going?"

"Dad…"

"What? I'm interested…" Cornelius smiled. "Well, I suppose you can give me details later, Dr. Reese, it's nice to meet you, I'm hoping you have better luck than all the other doctors my son seems to have his eyes on."

And with that he walked away. "Don't listen to him Sarah…" Claire mustered. "Come on, let's go get some drinks." She shot a glance at her brother as the other two followed behind them.

"We can go if you want to." Sarah said as she and Connor took a seat by the bar, far away from his father.

"I thought you said this was important to Claire." Connor said, taking a sip of his drink.

"Yeah but…"

"What, you didn't think he'd be here? He always seems to show up in my life someway and undermine me." Connor said. "I can handle it."

"I'm sure you can but…" Sarah leaned to kiss his cheek. "I'm not sure I can."

A smile crept on his lips as he looked at her. "Are you scared Reese?"

"A little, he's…" She said biting her lip.

"A jerk?"

"Well, that's a little strong but…" She put in and saw him relax. "Special?"

"Oh yeah, Cornelius is special for sure." Connor laughed grimly drinking down the rest of his scotch. He'd been drinking, his father seemed to have a certain effect on him, if this were one of Daniel's teaching moments, he'd said Connor was still waiting on his father's approval, not that she'd admit it to him. "I still have to talk to Claire." Connor said after a moment. He'd watch his sister laugh and joke beside Eric. Connor put his empty glass down and kissed Sarah's lips quickly as if he was hoping to help him muster the courage.

"Will, what…" Natalie walked inside her apartment, she had her eyes covered as Will led her inside by the hand.

"Don't cheat…" He told her. Natalie grinned. "Okay, keep your eyes closed... open them."

She did, and in front of her stood Helen and Owen, with a table set up.

"What's this?" Natalie asked.

"Well you said we'd been too busy with work and the wedding lately that we hadn't done much as a family so..."

Natalie turned to look at him. "Will this is amazing, look at you baby, you look so handsome..."

There was a knock on the door. "Ah, that must be Jay…" Helen put in, moving to answer the door as Will led Natalie to the table.

"Mommy, sit! Owen pipped in as he laid a napkin on her lap.

"Pizza is here." Jay beamed. "Surprised?" He glanced at Nat.

"Yay pizza!" Owen put in. "Jay's best!"

"Oh yeah, I'm the best uncle. Right let's eat, you want a beer?"

Will nodded at him. "I insisted on cooking but they wouldn't let me." Helen said to Nat.

Sarah drove them back home, she was pretty sure Connor was falling asleep beside her, he'd just been avoiding his father all night and having to admit to Claire about being late to her wedding had been the icing on the cake. As Sarah watched him cuddled on his seat, she thought of just how much she'd come to love him, in truth, she had been smitten by him when he'd first come to Med like the next girl and he'd been kind to her always, but she had seen him spiral down, on this doomed relationships, the same ones his father had mentioned and she didn't want to be one of those girls. The same ones who'd hurt him.

"Sarah?" His voice pulled her back from her thoughts.

"We're home." She said as they walked back into the apartment and to the bedroom. "Here, I'll get you something to drink and an Aspirin…"

"I screwed it up, didn't I?" He said as she moved to the bathroom. Yeah, Claire had been pretty mad at him and he hadn't handled it well, pulling her out of the party early and a little drunk.

"No, come on, Claire understands, and she knows you'll try to be there." Sarah said.

"Well, there is that and then my father."

"You don't have to explain him to me. I've got a good idea of just what kind of man he is, take this." He smiled wearily at her as she sat beside him and handed him the glass and the pills. "It will make you feel better…"

"You're good at this Dr. Reese." He said softly, looking up at her with tired eyes. "I am really sorry though."

"About?" She asked, helping him with his tie.

"Sully… I mean, I just want to make sure you are safe you know, that right? If anything happened to you, I..."

"Connor, don't…"

"No, I just, I just got scared," He said, full emotion in his voice. "Please don't hate me?"

She was scared too. "How could I hate you for wanting to take care of me? I've never had someone do that before." She leaned to kiss his lips softly. "You need to lay back, I'll bring you some wet compresses for that head okay?"

No, she hated herself.

"No, wait…" He pulled her back as she stood up. "I didn't tell you how beautiful you looked tonight enough and you did, I was just so immersed in my crappy moment that I didn't tell you."

"You did." She smiled. "But, thank you." He kissed her now. "I'll be back, okay?"

"Sarah?" I love you." He said with a weak smile. "I just, I need you to know that..."

"I love you too." She ran her fingers through his hair softly, placing a kiss to his temple as he laid back on the bed. "Close your eyes, I'll be right back."

When Sarah returned to the room a little bit later, he was asleep.

She slipped in, beside him and he instantly curled up against her.

She couldn't do this to him, he'd been hurt my too many people in his life.

she had to tell him the truth.

Chapter Text

"Did you hear?" Monique was asking Doris. "Dr. Charles's daughter is back." Sarah hadn't meant to overhear and yet she suspected the nurses had seen her but simply didn't care.

Robin was back? She hadn't asked Connor much about her after she'd left. Sarah knew how much he'd been affected by how their relationship had ended and regarding her treatment, which she transferred to her local hospital when she'd moved.

It had been almost two years since she'd seen Robin Charles and suddenly, Sarah felt her mind playing that scene of her lashing out at Connor about his overprotecting.

It hadn't been real but for Sarah it felt all the same. Truthfully, the last couple weeks had been 'normal', even after she'd had to confess to him about the toy.

"Sarah?" He'd come home one night and she was sitting in bed, playing with the small stuffed animal.

"I need you to sit." She told him. Connor nodded, dropping his bag to the side. "You know, when I was a kid, right after my father left, I kept telling myself it had been my fault he had decided to divorce my Mom. That I had made him so mad and that's why he'd left."

Connor didn't reply. "But that was a lie, I know that now, I know he isn't capable of feeling remorse or sadness over having left me and I'm working on it." She kept going. "The last time he picked me up from school, it was almost the end of my first year of elementary school. It was also the last time I saw him, until last year." She stood up, pacing, not letting go of the toy, but she saw Connor staring at her.

"Wait, What are you saying?"

"I left this in his car when I was six and it showed up in my apartment two weeks ago."

Her boyfriend's eyes widened, as if he was trying to make sense of her words. "I'm scared, not because he might do something, but because I don't want to lose everything because of him."

"Sarah…"

"I just didn't know how to tell you…"

"Why not?"

"Because you hired a bodyguard for me, because I know how much you care, but I don't want to be your project."

"My what?" He asked, hurt.

"I didn't want you to stay with me because you felt the need to save me."

Connor ran his fingers through his hair, "God, Sarah…" he moved towards her. "You are so much more to me than that, you know that right? I love you."

She didn't dare look at him. "Has he tried getting in touch with you again?"

"No, I don't even know how long the toy had been there." She admitted, leaning her forehead against his chest instantly when he held her. He wrapped his arms around her. "I'm sorry…"

"Don't be. I wouldn't have told me either." He admitted bitterly, almost ashamed. She laughed nervously.

"I had all these ideas in my head, all these scenarios."

"You did huh? And what? I left in every single one?"

"No, I pushed you away." He glanced at her. "I should have told you….Told PD, God only knows where he is now and if he hurts anyone, I don't think I'd be able to live with myself." She was crying now, but Connor forced her to look up at him.

"We'll figure it out, okay? I promise, I won't let anything happen to you."

Now, she hadn't seen him all week as he'd been in Rochester with the Mayo team and Claire's wedding was just around the corner so between his sister and work, she'd barely been alone.

And her friends made sure of it. Sully made sure too and Jay kept working on the case, he was sure Robert could be in Chicago still, but probably not in the city. Not since three weeks before when he'd seemed to have set up the toy in her apartment according to prints.

"But you didn't give him a key?" Jay had asked.

"No, he'd been there a couple times but we weren't that close that I would give him a key." Sarah said, Connor stood beside her.

"Any chance your landlord knew he was your father? Anyone in the building?" Sarah shrugged.

"Can we stop this please?" Connor sighed. They'd called Jay to come over as soon as she'd told Connor the truth, there was no way he was going to let her go through this alone.

"I'm sorry but I need to get all the facts, he could be very dangerous Sarah."

"I know…"

Sarah didn't look up but eventually Jay let it be for the night, assuring them he would do all he could to find him. Connor walked him to the door and when he came back he found Sarah still in the chair he'd left her in.

"Sarah?"

"You should leave while you can." She said in all seriousness. "Just do it, leave."

"You're forgetting one thing." He said, walking over and kneeling down to her level.

"What?"

"This is my apartment."

"I'm not joking." She glared at him, trying to fight off the tears.

"Neither am I." He told her, gazing up with those deep blue eyes. "This is my apartment and there's no way you are leaving, I made you a promise, remember?"

"But I…"

"You're not scaring me away Sarah, I'm a big boy, and I can decide what I want on my own. And I want you."

"You shouldn't want me."

"Well, too late." He kissed her softly, at first she tried to pull back from him but he held her face in place. "I love you and I'm not going anywhere."

"Sarah?" Ethan's voice pulled her out of her thoughts. "Your pager?"

She hadn't even realized Dr. Charles was calling for her. She nodded and made her way upstairs, earning a glance from Dr. Choi, she'd been getting those a lot lately.

She'd called Connor on Friday night, she'd spend the night with Claire at the Estate.

If she was being honest, she just kept trying to avoid the subject of Robert at all costs.

"Hi." He said as soon as he heard her voice. . "You are still over analyzing your dress?"

She huffed. "No, maybe a little… is Navy really my color?"

"Anything is your color Sarah, you look beautiful in everything."

She rolled her eyes. "Don't remind me. You almost tore it off last week and I had to tell Claire I've had had a situation." She heard Connor laugh.

Were they avoiding? Maybe a little, but it was better than anything.

"Well, I'm going to love to see you in it tomorrow." He mused.

Sarah bit her lip, blushing slightly. "You'll be here in time, won't you?"

"Sarah…"

"What? Claire is really worried Connor, you are her only brother."

"I know, I promised, didn't I?" He said.

"You did. So how was the presentation?"

"It was good, hopefully good enough to keep moving forward." He said. "And you how is everything?"

"Nothing much but this place is huge."

"Ah, have you perfected avoiding Cornelius too?" Connor said.

"He's flying in tomorrow morning..." Sarah said.

"What?" He felt the urge to roll his eyes.

"See why Claire is so worried?"

"Tell her she doesn't have to be, I'll be there." He assured her. "What?" He swore he could hear her mind reeling.

"They're going to catch him, right?" The conversation shifted rather quickly and Connor knew she couldn't keep her mind off it for too long, even if she tried.

"Don't think about that, you are safe." He said, firmly but softly.

"I might be, but those other girls…"

"This isn't your fault Sarah..."

"What if it is? I was the one who left him go."

"If you want to play blame here, I was keen on saving his life." Connor said. "So there."

"I wish I didn't have to sleep alone in that bed." Sarah admitted.

"I'll be home soon." He said softly. "I promise."

"I love you." Sarah replied.

"I love you too."

Sarah woke up early the next day, she took a minute to get up, she really didn't know where to go but she put on an old hoodie of Connor's that she wore when he was away and made it downstairs. Praying not to find anyone.

The kitchen wasn't hard to find but Sarah almost didn't go in when she saw someone was there already.

Katie, the maid Sarah had learned had been with Connor's family for more than 30 years and who'd she'd met the night before. "Good morning sweetheart, did you sleep well?" She asked warmly.

"Yes. Thank you good morning." Sarah smiled.

"Can I get you anything?"

"Coffee?"

"Of course." She moved around the room swiftly like Connor did at the apartment when he cooked. "Here you go." Sarah took the cup from the older woman as she sat by the counter silently. "Claire should be up soon, if you want to take a shower, everything is ready in the guest room where you slept."

"No, thank you I was actually wondering if I could just walk around a little?"

"It's a little intimidating, isn't it?" Katie pointed out.

"A little, yeah."

"I understand." The older woman said kindly as Sarah took another sip of her coffee. "You might want to start in the garden, Claire has kept it just as her mother liked it and it's quite beautiful this time a year."

"Okay, I will." Sarah smiled, taking her cup and making her way outside. The garden was in fact beautiful. And it made Sarah think of Elizabeth Rhodes; she wondered what Connor's life would have been like had she been alive.

She stopped at a bench and sat there for a minute long, enjoying the quiet.

It had been a while since she's felt safe enough to be alone like this.

Sarah made her way back into the house where she was met by Claire. "You're not sneaking out on me, are you?" The older woman said.

"No, I was just exploring. Sorry."

"Shall we? A make up crew is coming and a bunch of my friends and Eric's sisters."

Sarah felt as if she was on a movie set. They took about three hours for everyone to be ready. In the meantime, Cornelius had arrived but Connor wasn't there yet. Sarah could tell his sister was worried and truth be told, she was too. She had tried to get a hold of him but most probably he was still on the air.

"No sign of him yet?" Claire asked Sarah. "We have to leave for the church."

"He'll be there Claire." Sarah tried to sound reassuring but couldn't. They left for the church and Connor was still not answering.

"I'll see if I can find him." Sarah said as Claire went to the back. Sully stood near her as she waited by the side of the church door as people began to arrive.

Sarah kept texting Connor and her mind began reeling, what if something had happened to him? What if… and then she saw him, fixing his tie. "Hi beautiful."

"Hi…" she leaned into kiss him softly. "Come on, let's go in."

Sarah stood there with Claire as she exchanged vows with Eric. Sarah watched as Connor beamed at her and then at his sister.

Cornelius was also watching her and it made her nervous. There was clearly something off about him and how much he disapproved of his son and his choices.

"Ignore him, I do." Connor whispered to her as they walked out of the church. "So I was thinking maybe we could spend the night at the house. I've just landed and you didn't bring your car. We can get Arthur to drive us."

"Are you sure you want to?" She inquired.

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Connor assured her.

"We can't let them have control over us, right?" Sarah said. He'd said that to her in the past few months, she had to live her life and not let Robert's actions become part of her identity and he wouldn't allow his father to keep controlling his life either.

The wedding went on, both her and Connor avoiding his father at all costs, but there was a moment when she found herself alone with him. "Dr. Reese, if I didn't know better I'd say you are avoiding me."

Sarah blinked. She didn't even register that he in fact knew her name. "I'm not… of course I wouldn't."

"Don't you worry; my son has let you on my monstrous persona, hasn't he?"

Sarah didn't reply and thankfully her boyfriend was making his way back to them, so she didn't have to.

"Dad, Claire is looking for you."

"Alright." He said, glancing at both of them as he went. "We'll pick this up some other time Sarah?"

Connor relaxed instantly beside Sarah once his father was gone. She leaned into kiss him softly on the cheek.

"What did he say to you?" Connor asked worriedly.

"Nothing…"

"Are you sure?"

"Of course, babe, don't do anything rash, you promised Claire." She placed a hand on his shoulder as they watched Cornelius join Claire on the dance floor.

"You still want to spend the night?" She asked. He glanced at her but his gaze softened rather quickly. He moved so he was behind her before replying, his stubble beard grazing her neck.

"So, I have this fantasy…" he whispered huskily kissing her exposed skin. He whispered it to her and Sarah felt herself blush. "Care to dance Dr. Reese?"

"I'd love to, Dr. Rhodes." She said as he led her into the dance floor. The first dance of the night where father and daughter had to take center stage had just begun. Connor watched his beaming sister. She reminded him so much of his mother it was scary. He felt as Sarah squeezed his hand for comfort and as Claire beamed at him, he knew it was his time to dance.

He let go of Sarah as Eric took her hand.

"So, you did make it, little brother." Claire smiled as they began to move along the soft music.

"I told you I would." He said smiling. "You look so beautiful Claire."

"Thank you." She replied. "You cleaned up good too."

He chuckled. "And thank you for being on your best behavior with Dad, I know it's not easy, but I appreciate it."

"Well, I'm doing it for you."

"I know." She beckoned. "And I love you for it. I love you Connor and I want us not to be strangers. Mom would never forgive us."

"Claire…"

"Promise me…"

Connor sighed. "I promise."

"Good, my baby is going to need her Uncle Connor and Aunt Sarah around…" Connor's eyebrows rose up. "Oh, come on, it's not like I don't know you and Sarah are getting serious."

"You're pregnant?" He retorted back.

"We just found out, I'm pretty sure Sarah knew pretty quickly and almost called me on it." Claire admitted shyly. "I'm only glad Katie could secretly fix my high couture dress.

Connor grinned. "That's amazing Claire."

"It is, isn't it? I never thought I'd be a mother, not until I met Eric, I mean after we lost Mom, Dad's girlfriends weren't exactly good examples." Connor lowered his face. "So, when are you and Sarah, you know…"

"She's still in her residence Claire…" Connor said chiding her as they moved along the dance floor. "She's got other things on her mind."

"Right now, the only thing I can see on her mind is how much that girl loves you Connor, trust me, us girls, we know all the signs..."

He sighed as the song ended, kissing her cheek before Eric interrupted to take back his bride, and Sarah took her place facing Connor once more. "What?" She asked worriedly.

"Nothing, just…" He said. "I love you; I need you to know that."

"I do."

"It's just, these past few months, or well, almost this past year, between my work and Robert, I feel like I don't say it enough and… I guess its weddings…"

"Right." She said, leaning into kiss him. "Well, I love you too."

That night, Connor took Sarah over to his childhood bedroom, it was shocking really, how identical Katie had left it since he had left at age 18. "Thank goodness this isn't your fantasy, I'm too tired to move." Sarah mused as she entered the room. Connor felt like he'd seen a ghost as his eyes landed on a picture of him and Elizabeth.

"I'm pretty sure that's one of the last pictures I took with my Mom." He admitted to her. Sarah glanced down at the smiling little boy.

"Claire looks so much like her."

"She does." Connor admitted falling onto his bed. "Come here." She was still wearing the Navy bridesmaid dress and he had tossed his tux jacket and had his sleeves rolled up. She smiled as his eyes fixed on hers. "I wish you could have met her, she would have loved you."

Sarah leaned into kiss him softly; he deepened the kiss by grabbing her face and pushing her against the bed. It was a queen size so they both could easily fit.

They ended up in each other's arms after a heated make up session, but Sarah was too tired to think about anything else.

Today had been the first time in weeks her mind had not been completely occupied by her father and his impending whereabouts.

The next morning, they made their way down to find Claire, who would be leaving for her honeymoon that afternoon copying Sarah's routine of sitting on the bench by her mother's garden. "I miss real coffee." She said as soon as she saw them, "You two slept well?"

It had been strange, being back in his childhood home, in his childhood bed, but he slept well, considering, safely in Sarah's arms.

"Where's Cornelius?"

"Upstairs I think? I'm not sure…"

"And Eric?" Claire glanced back to the kitchen where Eric stood with Katie, "So, what's the plan?"

"Well, I was thinking maybe we could play happy family for a few more hours?" Connor almost rolled his eyes at her. "For your niece or nephew."

They had breakfast together in the main dining room, it was certainly something very different from the apartment but Sarah could certainly see the stress building up in Connor as his father left.

"Come on." He said as soon as they were done. He led her over to a room in the back of the house; it was filled with musical instruments. "My Mother had this built when I began taking piano lessons."

Sarah glanced around; it was like a collector's room. "So if you had this fantasy, I'm wondering how many girls you've brought up here." Connor smiled shyly.

"You're the second." He bit his lip. "Clarissa Summers was the first, she was into musicians."

"Oh." Sarah suddenly felt jealous but she also felt herself being grabbed by the hand and pulled down by Connor as he sat on the piano bench as their lips connected.

It was a head to head battle of their tongues and hands everywhere. "What if someone hears us?" Sarah said between kisses and trying to catch her raging breath as Connor kissed her neck.

"They can't, the room is soundproof." He said huskily. "And I locked it."

Sarah closed her eyes at his touch, he'd always been good with his hands…"Okay…"

"I love you Sarah…" he laid her down on the bench, taking off his shirt. "I love you so much."

She grabbed his hair as he descended down her body. "Would you play me something?"

He looked up at her. "Later?"

He grinned, kissing her once more as he came up to capture her lips and went down again.

Yes, he was definitely good with his hands.

"Have a safe flight you two." Connor said as he hugged his sister goodbye.

"Thank you." Claire kissed his cheek. "And thank you for trying and being here. Don't take too long to come back." Connor nodded, making a silent promise.

"Claire, congratulations again." Sarah went on to hug her as well. "Thank you for everything."

"You're thanking me? I feel like it's me who should be thanking you. My brother is here and I have a good feeling it's because of you."

"That's not true. Sarah insisted.

"Oh but it is." Eric mused hugging her as well. "Take care Miss Sarah. Us outsiders have to stick together, don't we?"

"Connor…" Cornelius said as Sarah watched him closely.

"Dad…" Connor shook his hand.

"Dr. Reese." He threw a nod at Sarah. "I do hope we see each other again."

Arthur ended up driving them with Sully next to him. "Where to sir?"

They still had the afternoon off so they wanted to go home.

The drive was quiet for the most part; they held hands in the back seat, giving each other stolen glances and kisses. "Are you okay?" Sarah asked.

Connor had this feeling he couldn't shake that morning; maybe it was his father or…"duck down sir." Sully called.

"What is it?"

"I believe someone might be following us." Sarah's senses spiked up and she instantly looked at Connor.

It was a mere glance before she felt a pull and everything went black.

He opened his eyes at the sound of sirens. He tried searching for Sarah. She wasn't moving.

Chapter Text

The sound of sirens still haunted Connor's ears as he came to his senses. He tried to move, to check on the others in the car, but a sharp pain in his leg made him stop as it was probably pinned down. "Sarah?" He gasped, trying to reach for her again but to no avail.

Claire Rhodes was waiting in the crowded airport for her Father's jet to be given the ok to fly. Eric eased her worries with a gentle squeeze of his hand as they sat together. The doctors had cleared her too and Sarah had assured her she would still be able to travel for a few more months at least.

Sarah couldn't open her eyes but her senses spiked up again as she tried to come to, she'd barely had time to register what had happened, but she could feel Connor next to her. She could have sworn he was calling for her but she couldn't reply.

No matter how hard she tried to scream.

"Do we have something else Maggie?" Will Halstead came down the hall with a chart to be completed and filed. "No wonder...it's Sunday huh?"

"Don't jinx it, you know better." She scolded. Monique sighed as they all looked around the empty bay. Everyone was out but Will, Natalie and Ethan.

April had come down with a nasty cold and Dr. Charles had taken the Sunday off to see Robin who was back in town.

But the calm always came before the storm, Will's comment had seemed to have cursed them all and their calm afternoon was about to turn haywire. Ms. Goodwin came over a moment later; her face was serious but strong. "There's been an incident" she said simply, to the people gathered around Maggie's station "And two of our own have been caught up in it." She continued. "Med is the nearest Center so that's why they are being brought in, and I do believe our team to be the best equipped to handle the situation. I trust all of you to do your job.

Natalie shot a glance in Will's direction. "Who is it?" He asked.

Ms. Goodwin sighed. "Dr. Rhodes and Dr. Reese's car was involved in the collision earlier today; we still don't know the extent of the situation, all we know now is that they are alive."

Natalie gasped as she tried to compose herself. Goodwin then pulled Will, Maggie and Ethan aside. "There's one more thing, we are going to need PD down here. Dr. Halstead, you best get your brother on the line and ask him to come down as soon as possible."

"What does that mean?" Maggie asked. "Were they hit on purpose?"

Sharon gave a loud sigh. "Also, Dr. Choi, I will need you to care for another victim." She said sternly as Ethan seemed to be the only one to keep a cool head given his military training.

"It's Haywood, isn't it?" Will all but whispered. Sharon gave a small nod. "We are going to need to contact Dr. Charles and get him to come in."

"The bastard is alive." Maggie swore under her breath. "And they are bringing him here?"

"I guess we all know why they asked Choi to take over." Will hissed. "We're all too involved anyway."

"It's not our job to judge who lives or dies Will." Ethan said darkly. But Will knew it hit him hard as well, Sarah was his surrogate little sister and Connor was his friend.

"Not even if that one person tried to kill our friends?" Maggie said. Ethan sighed beside her.

"We have a job to do Maggie." Ethan reminded her. She placed a hand on Will's arm and followed Ethan to wait for the incoming ambulance.

Connor could barely move as his eyes came into focus to a bright light. "Connor? It's Hermann, can you hear me?"

"Sarah…" He gasped as his eyes searched around.

"She's right behind us buddy. We've got her, don't you worry." Hermann smiled at him and placed an oxygen mask on his face. "You're going to Med, we'll see you there…"

Claire's phone buzzed in her purse as she was about to come down the main stairs and onto the tarmac to board the plane. "Honey, what's wrong?"

"Miss Rhodes, My name is Sharon Goodwin, I'm calling from Gaffney Medical Center…" the next few words she heard were mere whispers as she tried to register what they meant. "There's been a situation…"

"Claire?" Eric was beside her in a second. "What is it?"

"Connor, he's… he's hurt. Sarah too."

"What?" He asked.

"They were in a car accident with Arthur and Sully…"

Natalie Manning had seen a lot of horrible things in her line of work, some wonderful and others that were just plain terrifying and as the couple of gurney's that were carrying her friends arrived into Med, she understood, just how messed up the world could be, just how sick of a sense of humor it had. "Nat?" Maggie placed a hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"I'll take Sarah." She said simply.

Maggie nodded. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, let me know, about Connor?"

"Of course, alright you are going to Trauma One….." Natalie moved on autopilot, taking a minute to look at Sarah and then at Connor beside her still trying to make sense of the situation.

"He's conscious." Will called as Nat saw Connor trying to get up, with Severide and Hermann managing to hold him down.

"Connor, stop man, or I'm going to have to sedate you, you need to let me check you out." Will said. "Sarah's right next to you. Nat's got her, I promise." Will felt Connor's glare on him. "I've got you, you're both going to be okay." He saw Connor's eyes close as Maggie slipped some Haldol to calm him down which allowed Will to finish the examination.

"How is she?" Will turned to Nat as the nurses settled Connor down about half an hour later. Honestly, the last 30 minutes had passed in a blur for all of them. Arthur had a few bruises and concussion and Sully was up in surgery. Sarah didn't seem to have any internal bleeding but Natalie was keeping an eye out for decompensation.

"Still non responsive." Nat said. "Him?"

"They might have to take him up to the OR, his leg is in pretty bad shape, other than that, it's touch an go, but there doesn't seem to be any neurological trauma."

"How did this happen, Will? It's like something out of a movie." Will placed a hand behind her back soothingly. "How's Haywood?"

Of course she'd heard who the other person was, the one that had caused the accident. It wasn't like that couldn't be kept for long, especially when Nat had given him that look.

"Sharon moved him upstairs. She didn't want Connor to see him." Natalie huffed.

"Great. The killer gets VIP treatment, he was a great waste of a good heart."

"Nat...None of us knew just what kind of a monster he was." Will put in but Natalie kept her eyes fixed on Connor.

"He knew. Or at least he sensed it early on, that there was something more to Robert Haywood." Will was about to reply as Monique came down the hall.

"Dr. Manning? Are we still up for the MRI?" She asked coming back with a tablet for Nat.

"Yes, but first..." Natalie gave a glance on the nurse's direction. "Let's make sure she's not in any danger." Monique raised an eyebrow at the test she was requesting.

"You think she could be pregnant?" Will asked, wide eyed checking the chart.

"Her count was a bit elevated. I want to cover everything." Natalie sighed. This felt like Wheeler all over again. Only this time their friend's lives were in their hands and they knew the outcome of what their actions or lack thereof them could mean.

"Can you imagine Connor with a baby?" Will said, turning his head to the once trauma fellow."Or Reese?"

"Actually I can." Natalie said bitterly. "And that monster might rob them of everything Will. Have you heard anything?"

"No, Ms. Goodwin is keeping it on the down low until Jay gets here, he's still down at the car wreck site. All I know is that he's alive."

Claire's head was spinning as she and Eric made their way into Med. It was like she was reverting to the night Elizabeth had died. "Excuse me." A nurse looked up from the chart. "My brother, his girlfriend and.."

"Miss Rhodes?" Sharon Goodwin, a familiar face greeted her. "I'm not sure if you remember me but we spoke on the phone…" Claire nodded but suddenly she couldn't move her mouth, she was feeling light headed.

"I'm Eric Robertson, Connor's brother in law…how are they?" Sharon updated them on all of their conditions. Arthur was out of the woods and recovering well while Sully remained in surgery but Dr. Latham appeared optimistic.

"Dr. Rhodes and Dr. Reese both remain unconscious. He was lucid for a moment but we had to sedate him to assess his injuries. He's going to be taken up for surgery in a little while."

"Surgery?" Claire choked out. Sharon then explained the extent of Connor's injuries.

"Claire, you should sit honey." Eric told her. Ms. Goodwin then understood as Claire's hand moved to her tummy. "We're supposed to be in our honeymoon…"

"I see." Ms. Goodwin said. "If you want ."

"Claire, please."

"Claire, we can have someone examine you. We wouldn't want you and your child to be in danger. I'm sure Dr. Manning will be more than willing..." Claire's eyes rose up at the mention of Natalie. She nodded and Lucy led her to where Nat was standing.

"Do they know what happened?" Eric asked in a mere whisper as Claire was out of earshot. "Where are the other people who got hurt?"

"We don't have all the facts yet." Goodwin told him. "I'll keep you posted Mr. Robertson, it's best if you are with your wife right now."

Eric nodded. "Thank you. Will you let me know when they take Connor to surgery?"

"Of course." Ms. Goodwin took her leave as Natalie greeted him.

"Is that Sarah?" Claire said as her head turned to the side. "How's she?"

"She hasn't woken up just yet." Natalie said, trying to control her emotions. "But it is still too early to tell exactly what's wrong."

"Sarah is sweet and I know she loves my brother, the way she looks at him, I've been waiting my whole life for someone to care about Connor like that, everyone who ever pretended to, only did so because of the money, but not Sarah." Claire admitted bitterly. "She's different."

"She's family to us too. They both are." Natalie said kindly as Eric stood behind Claire, a hand on hers.

"I have Sarah to thank for having some sort of a relationship with Connor…" Claire smiled sadly. "God, if anything happens to either of them…" She sobbed.

"Claire…" Her husband warned worriedly but Claire pulled away.

"He's my little brother Eric and I've been horrible to him for such a long time." She countered. "I haven't even called Dad...I need to call him even though I know Connor's going to fight me on it." She smiled bitterly at Dr. Manning.

"Families can be complicated." Natalie commented reassuringly.

"There's that and then there's the Rhodes scale." Claire replied grimly.

"Let me worry about your Dad and you know Connor is one tough guy, he'll be okay." Eric smiled. "Right now we need to focus on you." Natalie did a quick sonogram and Claire was relieved to know everything was normal.

"Baby's doing just fine, but have you eaten anything in the last few hours?" Natalie asked when Eric took a step outside to try and get a hold of Cornelius.

"I'm not sure…" Claire said tiredly. "When are they going to take Connor? Can I see him?"

"Of course." Nat said with a kind smile."I'll take you."

Maggie watched it all from her spot at the nurse's station. Everything had settled down again, so much she was afraid something worst was going to be dropped on them soon. She looked down at the small screen of the device in her hand, she had been trying to get a hold of Sarah's Mom for a while now but hadn't gotten a response.

"Anything?" Will stood beside her. Maggie didn't reply. "Morrison is taking Connor up soon." He said as they watched Claire stand beside her brother. "You know Sarah told me they'd barely talked?"

Maggie eyed Will. "Guess they do now?"

"All thanks to Sarah." Will stated sadly. "And now her own father might end up killing her."

"Don't you there say that, she's going to be okay, they both are." Maggie said firmly as Will offered her a small smile.

"Nat thinks she might be pregnant." Will said after a moment as they watched Morrison make his way over.

"Good thing we drugged Rhodes, otherwise he'd be up there going all Rambo on Haywood." Maggie said sombrely.

Will tapped his hands on the tablet. "Call me as soon as Sarah's Mom gets here?" He made his way back to Natalie as he went to greet Claire and Eric and check on Connor before he was taken up.

"Claire, Eric this is Dr. Halstead. He's..."

"You're Will?" Claire inquired in surprise. "So if he's... you two are getting married soon, aren't you?" Will turned a bit red as Natalie smiled. "Oh yes, I can see it. You have to have the wedding at the ranch." Eric shot Claire a weary look.

"Honey…"

"What? I need to focus on something else or I'm going to go crazy." Claire told him. Natalie and Will offered her a kind smile as Dr. Morrison arrived to take Connor up to the OR. It was strange really to have to operate on the guy you'd taken the job from.

"We'll keep you updated. "Will said taking his leave behind Nat.

"You'll think about it? For your wedding I mean? I'd love to." Claire commented kindly.

Natalie nodded softly glancing at Sarah's small frame from their spot by the door as Claire and Eric walked over to stay with Reese. "I'm going to page Abrams to come down."

"You think it's neurological?" Will inquired. "Like her brain just shut down?"

"Could be. She's been dealing with this for far too long." Natalie said tiredly. "I don't even know what I would do? I wonder if we could have done something more?"

"Like what?" Will asked. "Connor pulled all the stops, Jay and PD were after him." Will countered. "And to think I made fun of him for hiring her a bodyguard, If it had been you..." Natalie leaned closer to him."She lived in fear this whole time, didn't she?"

"This is so messed up. We didn't take it seriously enough and now she might never come out of it." Natalie beckoned taking his hand. Will felt his heart sink in his chest. He still couldn't believe this was happening.

"I should head upstairs and check on Connor..."

"Dr. Halstead!" Monique's voice interrupted them once more as they both looked away from each other. "You need to get to the OR, Dr. Morrison needs you..."

"Me?"

Monique nodded. "It's Dr. Rhodes."

Chapter Text

Natalie paced back and forth, it had been 24 hours since Sarah and Connor had been brought in and Sarah still hadn't woken up. Dr. Abrams had done all the tests possible to confirm a diagnosis but there wasn't anything apparently wrong with her.

"Nat?" Will had opened the door behind her. Sarah had been moved to a room on Claire's request. "How's she doing?"

"The same. I just don't get it Will." Natalie said, placing her hands in her face and sitting on the chair beside her friend's bed. "How's Connor?"

"Still in the ICU." He told her. "Dr. Morrison didn't want to take any chances of moving him after what happened in the OR."

"What does Sam say?"

"That his convulsing could have been caused by a number of things, personally, I would consider that swelling of the brain from the blow was what triggered it, but we won't know more until he wakes up."

"Dr. Charles." Jay Halstead made his way over to the Psych ward late in the morning. "Mind if I have a word?"

Daniel looked solemnly at the door in front of him. "Of course Jay, what can I do for you?"

"Well, I wanted to ask you something."

"Yes?"

"As far as we know Dr. Haywood caused the crash." Dr. Charles nodded. "But to what purpose. Did he mean to kill them all?"

"Not according to the pattern. He seemed...desperate."

"How so?"

"Well, he hadn't been able to approach Dr. Reese directly, couldn't get her alone, mostly because she was always at work, with Mr. Sullivan or Dr. Rhodes."

"So, he wanted her alone?" Jay asked. Daniel nodded.

"Of course, he wanted nothing to stand between him and Sarah, but it was clear Connor wasn't going to let that happen."

"So, what? He'd been stalking them?"

"Yes, since coming back to Chicago the night he placed that stuffed animal in Sarah's apartment, apparently."

Jay bit his lip. "So he played them." It wasn't a question.

"Yes, he wanted to make them feel safe again, to disappear from their lives only to come back and…"

"Finish what he had started…" Jay said darkly.

"I don't believe his first intent was to kill Sarah." Daniel told him. "At first he seemed to have wanted to get close to her, playing the victim, the role of a dying man and father. Then he would manipulate her into saving his life."

"Which, Connor did." Jay said. "But why would he try and kill the man who saved his life?"

"Because, Det. Halstead, he had stolen the one thing Haywood thought he could still control to his liking."

Will came face to face with Ms. Goodwin as he made his way to the ICU to check on Connor. "Dr. Halstead, I was just coming to find you. How is he doing?"

"We're keeping monitoring him closely in case he seizes again." Will said and Sharon nodded.

"What does Dr. Abrams think?"

"Well, there doesn't appear to be any long term damage from what we can gather, but we won't know much until he wakes up."

"And Dr. Reese?"

"She's hanging in there." Will said sighing and tapping his finger on the tablet he was holding.

"Dr. Manning told me she thought Sarah might be pregnant." Sharon said.

"She's not." Will replied, hanging his head down a bit. Ms. Goodwin nodded.

"Alright." She retorted. "Please keep me updated on both."

"Of course. Ms. Goodwin?"

"Yes?"

"Haywood, he's…"

"Awake, yes. We have security in the room now; your brother went to find Dr. Charles." Will gave her a nod.

"I'd like to be in the room, I know Dr. Choi is the one handling the case but I feel like I should be there. I need to look him in the eye and just…"

"He won't feel any remorse for any of it Dr. Halstead." Ms. Goodwin reminded him. "This is a man who's very much been described by Dr. Charles as a serial killer."

"I understand that, but, I mean you have children, you get that, I feel responsible for Sarah and Connor."

"Of course I do." She agreed. "Very well, but please I would ask you to be cautious." Will looked at her as she took her leave, he then asked Monique, who had been put in charge of Connor's care to come find him in case something changed and made his way over to find Robert Haywood.

"Dr. Charles. Here to gloat?" Robert Haywood mused as Daniel came into the man's room.

"No." The other man said, stepping further into the room. Just dropped by to, uh let you know Sarah's alive and so is Dr. Rhodes and the other two men that were in the car with them." Daniel could see Haywood's mind registering his words. "Why are you telling me this?" Robert retorted. "It wasn't my intention to kill them anyway.

Huh...It wasn't?" Daniel inquired. "Then what? You wanted to teach them a lesson?" Robert shrugged but didn't reply. "Or maybe you couldn't stand it."

Dr. Haywood's eyes shot up. "What?"

"The fact that Connor knew right away who you were. What you were about."

"And yet he saved me."

"Because Sarah wanted you to live. That's a pretty crappy way to thank them though" Daniel said.

"Dr. Charles?" It was Jay Halstead and beside him was Will. "Can we come in?"

"By all means." Daniel said with a nod. Jay pulled up a chair as if he was in the interrogation room. Will stood beside Daniel.

"I'm pretty sure Dr. Charles has already informed you about Sarah." Will said. Robert nodded. "Yes well, she's been unconscious for the last 24 hours."

"Oh." Robert mused, as if he was almost enjoying it too much. Maybe he was just trying to get Will worked up. "Is she really? Is there anything else you can do?"

"Don't answer that." Jay shot.

"No, I will." His brother beckoned. "Actually and Dr. Charles, you can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Sarah isn't ready to wake up yet." Jay shot Will a look. "You see, I believe her mind is trying to protect itself from the haunting reality of that accident. Of the idea that, no the fact, that her own father tried to kill her and her boyfriend."

Robert didn't speak. "But there's more. Connor Rhodes is in Intensive care. He could actually die and then you'd actually be charged with murder and not just attempted murder."

Will couldn't take this anymore. He made his way down the lounge to find Natalie. "Hey, are you okay?"

"I talked to Haywood…"

"You what?"

"I just needed him to be aware of what he had done. Even if he isn't capable of feeling any remorse, I wanted him to know that even if he's not charged with the crimes the police are investigating him for…"

It wasn't a secret in hush voices anymore. Olivia Covney or any of the girls on the cases, Jay had done his homework. "He's going to go to jail for a long time."

Natalie reached for his arms and pulled him close.

"I was going to ask Connor to stand with Jay at our wedding. I knew you had asked Sarah to be one of your bridesmaids." Will said, breaking Nat's embrace. "Quite a turn huh?"

"It's not hard to see you and Connor are friends, even if you both seem to not want to admit it." Natalie told him sweetly but Will hung his head down.

"Will, what is it that you are not telling me?"

He couldn't answer her because they heard a pager going off. Nat took it out. "Sarah's awake."

Chapter Text

"I want to see him." Sarah spoke as she reincorporated herself. It hadn't even been ten minutes since she had been awake but there was only one thing on her mind.

"Sarah, he's in the ICU…" Will spoke softly. "You know better than that, we can't…"

"Right, because you don't owe me or Connor anything." Sarah shot. "I'm a doctor Will, I don't need you to sugar coat it."

"We could ask Goodwin…" Natalie suggested.

"Yeah, but with Gwen lurking around…"

"Will…" Natalie said urgently. "Come on, it's Connor." Will bit his lip.

"Fine, I'll try to talk to Goodwin." He said, lowering his head. He didn't look at both the women in front of him, there was something more he hadn't told Natalie, she had been right about that. Will stared at his brother from the window as he excused himself.

"Hey, how is she doing?" Jay asked.

"Physically, she seems fine."

"Have you told her?"

"No, she already had quite a shock when she knew about Connor, I think that's all she can handle right now." Will admitted. "Any news on how soon you can get him out of here?"

"No, he needs to be discharged." Jay said. "But he's in lock up. He's not getting near them Will."

"It's not him I'm worried about." Will mused bitterly. "I mean, can you imagine just what it means for Sarah?"

"There's a lot of messed up things out there in the world." Jay commented. "But Robert Haywood is going away for a long time."

"More if Connor dies." Will said somberly.

"Is it that bad?"

"I'm pretty sure he put his body in between Sarah and the blow, that's why she doesn't have a scratch on her, but him, he's a ticking time bomb Jay and now I have to go tell his sister. "

Mrs. Robertson?"

"Claire, please, I've told you." Claire spoke slowly as she sat in a waiting room chair with Eric.

"Right." Will said. "I'm sorry, I understand this is a very hard time for you and the last thing we want to do is.."

"When can I see Sarah?"

"As soon as the doctor is finished checking her out." Will continued. "Claire, I need to ask you something very difficult, since Connor isn't conscious and you are his next of kin, we need to perform a very complicated procedure to relieve the pressure in his brain, which is probably what's preventing him from waking up."

Claire hadn't seemed to have heard him, but Will could read her anxiousness, for the most part, she had seemed a very put together woman, like Connor when he needed to put on a strong face.

Will assumed it would be something they would have to learn from birth in the world they came from. Claire let out a small sigh, almost like a laugh. "Connor, he, uh, he never wanted to have people take care of him." She spoke. "No, he.. is all about caring for others, much like my Mom was actually. Sadly I'm more like my Dad. That's part of why I think he became a doctor, but it's funny, you know? How you are the doctors and you end up getting hurt." Will smiled. "Should I talk to Sarah about this first? She's a doctor and his girlfriend, I feel like I should."

And so, Will found himself in the room with Claire, Sarah and Natalie. "Can't the swelling go down on it's own?" Sarah asked.

"We've already tried that but Sam is worried." Will said.

"How about induced coma?" Sarah put in.

"Sarah, that's a last resort option, surgery is our best option...Reese, as your friend and as Connor's, I feel like this is what we should do." Sarah glanced over at Natalie, then at Claire.

"Can we see him?"

Will sighed. knowing this was a battle he wasn't going to win.

"Okay, we're moving him up to a room before surgery, you can see him then, but Sarah, I don't want you out of bed, did you hear me?" She nodded. "We'll go set up the paperwork."

"What are you thinking honey?" Natalie asked as she sat beside Sarah a little later on

"Yesterday. It just seemed like it was all a dream you know, we had this amazing time at the wedding and I felt like I was part of his world, like he'd allowed me glimpse of it and we were able to relax for the first time in months and now." Sarah was beginning to crack now, the emotions of the day, her fake facade falling apart. "I feel like that's all a dream and this is a nightmare…"

"Oh sweetie…" Natalie slid into bed with her and held her as she sobbed. "You know Connor isn't going to give up, right?"

Sarah nodded. "I kept telling myself I didn't need anyone, after what happened with my father, that I didn't need a man or even friends and he just, him out of all people came into my life and saved me. He saved me Natalie, he saved me from becoming what I was most afraid of."

And Natalie understood. "Sarah, you are nothing like that man, you hear me? Nothing." Sarah just pulled back from her embrace as Dr. Charles stood by her door.

"Dr. Reese, Sarah, how are you feeling?" Daniel took a step further inside. "I came as soon as I heard you were awake."

"He's here, isn't he?" Sarah said, tensing up beside Natalie. "My, uh, my father. He is the one who did it?"

Natalie and Daniel looked at each other. "Please, otherwise Jay wouldn't be here, if it was just some random accident."

"Sarah…"

"Is he alive?"

Dr. Reese…."

"Is. He. Alive?" She asked, pausing, trying to find the courage to speak. Daniel nodded as she laughed, trying to clear the tears from her eyes. "I told Connor to go, to run away and just leave me. That I wasn't worth of him loving me or putting his life in harm's way, and now he's fighting for his life because he thought I was worth it."

"To him, you are worth everything Sarah." Daniel commented. "Even early on, you could see he cared for you, those feelings, they don't just go away."

"And now he could die." Sarah finished, tears again in her eyes. "Because I didn't make him run."

"Sarah?" It was Will. "We're getting ready to get him upstairs."

Natalie and Maggie helped Sarah into a wheelchair as she was rolled over to where Sam and the other nurses were waiting, Claire already stood there with Eric by her side, the older woman offered Sarah her hand and squeezed it gently. Will stood there beside Sarah as she was wheeled closer to his bed, she reached out for his hand, not caring their friends or his sister were there.

"What are you thinking about?" Connor had asked in a whisper after they laid at night. Her head was against his bare chest, limbs tangled together.

"Thank you." She had said.

He arched an eyebrow. "What for?"

"For not running away, even though I told you, you could." She said, closing her eyes as his lips touched her forehead,

"Remember that day when you came into the lounge and told me I was worth fighting for?" Connor whispered into her hair. She nodded. "Well, you Sarah Reese, are worth it too." He had kissed her softly and pulled her even closer to him. "We should probably get some sleep, Claire's leaving tomorrow at 9 and asked me if we could have breakfast with her and Eric and my Dad before she leaves."

Sarah smiled, touching his chin. "You are really making your sister happy, did you know that?"

"Well, I did, sort of promised my Mom. That I would take care of Claire, even if for the past 20 years, I've been doing a pretty crappy job."

"Hey, it's never too late to try and do the right thing, we all deserve second chances."

"We'll give you a minute." Natalie said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

Sarah just stared at Connor, she always thought of him as this strong guy and later, a total teddy bear, because every time she hugged him, she felt this enormous amount of comfort, but now she couldn't deal with seeing him this fragile, this broken and more because of her.

She felt the need to kiss him, that maybe in some twist of fate, like magic, he would open his eyes, but a tube which was helping breathe, was preventing her to get close, instead she held on his hand, opening his palm like he usually did when they laid in bed and she wanted to feel closer to him. His hand wasn't cold but it wasn't warm either.

Like he in between with life and death and in a way he was. "I love you." She spoke softly, almost in a mere whisper. "You need to get through this. He doesn't get to win, you hear me?"

"Sarah, we really need to take him now." Natalie said to her a moment later. Sarah nodded as she played with his short hair and kissed his hand and they rolled him away. She closed her eyes, almost praying quietly, that this wasn't the end.

That the bad guy wouldn't win and she would see those beautiful blue eyes again.

Chapter Text

Sarah?" His voice came as a whisper behind her. She was staring out the window from the second floor of the guest bedroom that had been set up for them. It was the morning after the wedding and they'd woke up early, the sun was just coming up and she had found herself staring out as it rose. She took his hands in hers as they wrapped around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder. "Everything okay?"

"What time do we have to be downstairs?" She asked, still not looking at him.

"About two hours." He said, kissing her shoulder softly from behind. "Why?"

"I wish we could freeze time," She replied. "To right now, as if the last year didn't happen and my father wasn't to blame for killing those girls."

"Sarah, hey, I thought we agreed this weekend was just about us." He spun her around so she was facing him. She didn't want to look into his eyes, because her mind would start racing and she would ruin the last day and a half and just how normal it all felt. "Babe, look at me. We are not doing this, right now is just us here and nothing else matters."

She bit her lip and nodded her head, smiling. "How big do you think that shower is?" She asked and Connor's eyes shined as she took his hand and led him to the bathroom.

"Well it's important we save water." She grinned and wrapped her arms around his neck. Grateful the conversation hadn't turned into yet another argument. She didn't want to be gloomy around Claire, she didn't need to.

Connor didn't need it either, he had tried so hard to keep her mind off anything but the wedding. She owed him at least to try.

He helped her undress and she watched him. Sarah thought of just how less than two years before, being with him like this, with anyone really would have never crossed her mind that she could be with someone like that, her relationship with Joey even that seemed almost childlike while with Connor it was all about commitment, although she knew he had trust issues and if she was honest, so did she but they seemed to have brought the best out in each other.

First as friends, then as lovers, partners and equals. It didn't matter if she was still younger, it didn't matter the people that had come before. What mattered was them and how much they cared for one another.

"What?" He asked as they were face to face in the shower.

"I love you." She leaned to kiss him.

"I love you too." He replied, pulling her closer and kissing her cheek before his lips descended to her neck and she lost all coherent thought. "So. Much." Connor added between kisses and Sarah felt herself calm down.

Yes, he was right, it was only them right then and she wouldn't want it any other way.

"How are you feeling Sarah?" Jay Halstead came into her room Wednesday afternoon. She had been in the hospital for 3 and a half days, Connor had been in the ICU the exact amount of time and her mind had been trying to process it all.

He had survived surgery barely, Dr. Abrams had told her it was only a matter of time, because they couldn't predict just how much damage had been done, so Sarah had been wondering if he'd wake up, if he'd be able to talk, walk or operate again. Connor wasn't even 34 years old. He didn't deserve this happening to him.

Jay took the chair beside the bed and sat down. "They told me Connor did well in surgery."

"They can't really know anything unless he wakes up." She told him. Jay didn't respond. "Are they taking my father soon?" She hadn't seen him. Dr. Charles had come to talk to her about it when she had first asked but she hadn't dared to. It had seemed that all the bravery she had gathered in the past year had suddenly evaporated. She needed to remain focused on Connor and she didn't have the energy to do anything else.

"I've come to talk to you about that. Is right now okay?" She nodded. "He's been discharged at the end of the week and we're taking him over to the medical facility once he's transferred." Jay informed her. "He's been charged with attempted murder. Four counts."

"So, I take the investigation isn't going so well." Sarah said. Jay leaned a bit closer to the bed, joining his hands.

No, they still hadn't enough evidence against Robert; given that the only person they could place in connection with him was Olivia and the monkey toy they had found in his apartment.

"No, but we're joining forces with the SVU team. They're coming tomorrow from New York. It seems that one of their open cases fits Haywood's MO."

Sarah sighed. Yes, this was like one of those Law and Order episodes she had watched reruns of after school. Except her father was far worse than what she had pictured growing up.

He was a monster and if she thought about it, she had been lucky he hadn't been around in her life, other girls, though, that had crossed his path were gone. She shivered at the thought. "I'll do anything to help."

Natalie had come back with Sarah's latest tests results. Her levels had gone up again, but she had run them twice. She found Will by the nurse's station working on a chart. "Hey what's up?"

"Does this seem normal to you?" She asked. Will took the tablet from her and swiped up. "I'm thinking it's just stress."

"Dr. Halstead, Dr. Morrison was asking for you." Maggie said. Natalie instantly thought of Connor but Maggie was way to calm, way too stoic. "It's Haywood."

Will made it upstairs just in time to see James Morrison and Dr. Charles in Robert's room with the policemen that had been placed outside his room. "What have you got?"

"He complained of chest pains, shortness of breath." Dr. Morrison said as Robert eyed Will carefully. The hairs on Will's neck stood on end. Daniel shared a glance with Will and the both of them stepped out as James examined him.

"Did he really complain?" Will asked in a whisper.

"Yes, we were talking and he began slurring his words."

"So, he's still talking to you." It wasn't a question.

"I'm not done with him, so yes; he does still talk to me. Two can play this game Dr. Halstead." Daniel said firmly watching Robert. "I heard Connor pulled through." Daniel commented.

Will hadn't been working the past few days, his Dad had not been doing so well and with Jay working on the case and Pat refusing to come in, Will had been forced to miss work. In truth, his father had asked for Connor and whether he could make a house call and Will had told him what he could about the accident.

"It's still hard for me to wrap my head around it all." Will admitted to Dr. Charles. Daniel nodded his head. These last few days with his Dad had made him put himself in Sarah's shoes. Pat had his flaws but he had done his best for him and Jay to the extent of his abilities.

"Yes, it makes us examine our own existence, doesn't it? Our own capabilities as parents." Daniel said to Will.

"Tell me about it, Jeff's shoes, those are pretty big ones to fill but I'm trying, especially now that Owen is getting older. Natalie tells him about his Dad and I try not to be upset about it. I'm not his father but all I know is that I want to be the best parent I can to him. Does that make sense?"

"It does. It doesn't mean you are trying to replace his father, you just want to do your best to be one yourself, much like riding a bike, without any training wheels." Daniel told him. Will nodded. His pager went off, there was an incoming major trauma, a fire, and they needed all hands on deck. "I need to go, keep me posted?"

"Of course."

Claire found herself in the hospital chapel for the second time that week when Eric went to get her. "Your Dad is here." He told her sitting beside her. Cornelius had arrived at Med Monday night. Just after Connor had been taken to surgery. It was quite the sight to have him in the waiting room, holding his daughter's hand.

Much to her surprise, her father hadn't made any snarky comments about the hospital, the staff or Connor. He had almost seemed normal, especially when he'd gone to check on Sarah. "I'll deal with him. Are you sure you don't want to go home and get some rest? It can't be good for you, you've barely slept Claire."

"I'm fine. I'll go once Connor wakes up." She said, glancing down at her hands.

"Honey it could be months before…"

"No, don't. I don't want you telling me the statistics, that's what they used when my Mother died. I know them Eric and I refuse to believe them." She stood up and looked at the lit candles before walking away in search of her father.

She found him speaking with the Chief Operating Officer at the hospital, who she'd met the night of the accident. Gwen Garrett. "Dad, ."

"Hello Mrs. Robertson. Claire. Your father was telling me just how much he has contributed to the hospital, the ward in your mother's memory."

"Yes, but somehow Connor didn't seem to want to work here anymore." Cornelius said. "Such a shame really, I have a feeling you are just what this hospital needs Miss. Garrett."

"And so is your son. All I keep hearing about him are wonderful things." Gwen said. Claire huffed but not loudly enough for them to hear, only Eric was able to as they talked about Connor like either of them actually knew anything about him but Claire couldn't really make sense of much after that because all hell broke loose in the hospital and Gwen was called away.

Will thanked the heavens his father had been staying with him for the past few days because the fire had happened near where he lived. The day mostly passed in a blur for him from that moment on. He and the team worked on the multiple casualties. Including an old patient of Connor's who hadn't known he didn't work at Med anymore and who Natalie had been in charge of.

"He's back." Natalie said, referring to Connor's Dad. Will sighed. "Any update?"

"No. And Sarah? Were you able to figure out what those tests were saying?"

"I still think she could be pregnant, but I have to do some more digging, if it's too early, not even blood work would be able to detect it." Will sighed. "Her HG levels aren't high enough yet."

"I'm not even sure Claire has told her father about her own baby yet."

"Well, he's sort of intimidating."

"It's all for show." Will told her. "Hey by the way, I'm staying over with Dad again, after what happened today I don't want him to go back to his apartment alone."

"Oh, okay." Natalie said. "Helen is keeping Owen for the night, so I'm going to stay and check on a few of my patients."

Will's pager went off again and Maggie called him over. "I gotta go, keep me posted on Reese?"

Natalie entered Sarah's room as she was flipping through the channels on the TV. "So, I went to check on Connor. His vitals look good. Sam is optimistic about him waking up soon."

Sarah looked at her. "Yeah, he told me." Vitals didn't mean anything, she wanted him this to be over. And for him to be okay.

"Sarah, honey we're not giving up. None of us are." Natalie said, standing beside the bed and reached for the chair. "And you don't get to either."

"Why not?" Sarah let out. "This is all my fault…"

"Sarah…"

"No, don't, stop. I don't want to be treated with kid gloves. I'm done." She didn't dare look at Natalie.

"Okay, well maybe you would want to look at that another way." Natalie said patiently. "When was the last time you had your period?" Sarah froze.

Her heart sank down to her feet as Natalie glanced down at her chart.

"I did a few tests when you first came in but they were negative." Dr. Manning said. "But could also just mean it's too early to tell."

Then it hit Sarah, she hadn't taken the pill since the week before Claire's wedding and with everything that had happened, it could very well mean she could be pregnant. It fell on her like a ton of bricks even though it would still be two weeks before she would know and her period was still days away.

"So, it's possible?" Natalie asked. Sarah nodded slowly. She found herself touching her flat stomach and Dr. Manning noticed.

Sarah then pictured it all in her head, the house, the dog, the white picket fence, but somehow her fantasy had one thing missing. Connor.

She remembered the first time it had happened. The first time he had made love to her. It was more than just sex, even though she had known his history, of easy relationships, his trust issues, a few she had herself, but that didn't make it less special to her. Or him, he had later admitted.

This was more serious than they both anticipated and it scared the hell out of her.

"We're going to take it one day at a time, alright Sarah?" Natalie suggested when she noticed her demeanour change. "But I promise you, you are not alone, we're going to get you through this." Natalie's voice pulled her away from her thoughts.

"Can I see him?" She asked. Natalie looked at the time. Gwen would probably be gone for the day and when she wheeled her over to Connor's bed in the ICU, Ms. Goodwin who was there simply offered both women a kind smile, placing a hand on Sarah's shoulder. "His sister and father were just here." She told them. "Dr. Abrams has informed me there's been good progress."

Yes, Sarah had heard him say that too, she had heard the statistics but Sam hadn't sugar coated it for Sarah, she was a doctor and she had done her homework being stuck in bed. Her mind of course had trailed off and she had read all she could on the side effects of cerebral edema surgery and what it could entail for his progress, what his time table could be.

She knew and she wasn't ready to give up. Now she had something else to fight for. She grabbed his hand; it was warm and she placed it gently against hers. Natalie stood by the door as Will had arrived with Dr. Charles and Jay in tow.

"We thought she might be here." Dr. Charles said. "How is he?"

Natalie shrugged. "It's hard to say. Sam insists no sign is a good sign but I'm not convinced."

"Well, his brain does need time to heal itself." Will commented. Natalie turned around to the boys.

"How good is your friend Peter, Jay?" she asked.

"He's the ADA leading the SVU team now. Why?"

"Because Sarah might be pregnant after all."

She could see them watching and talking about her, but she brushed it all off. "Connor, I need you to open your eyes babe, for me." She reached to brush his hair, her other hand still holding his and then she lowered it to her stomach. "For us."

It was still just an assumption, a what if, but it was something that made it real, the idea that she wasn't ready to give up on him. She felt something on her hand, just ghosting there as if his had moved, but as she glanced up, his eyes hadn't opened.

"Sarah?" Natalie was back beside her. "We need to get you back to bed." She sighed, watching the three men from the glass. She turned her attention to Connor though and kissed his cheek, standing up a bit from her chair with the other doctor's help, she kissed the side of his mouth like he did occasionally, playfully.

"I want to see him. Robert." Sarah announced as they all walked her back to her room and Jay asked why they had all been called down there after she had admitted to them that she had asked Natalie for all them to be present. "Before he's transferred."

Chapter Text

Sarah had never pictured herself as being mother material, her mother had never been, as she had always placed her with nannies for as long as she could remember, especially after the divorce, but now it seemed like she had no choice, she was having a baby and there was no stopping it.

She had insisted on knowing what she was having, a boy. She had been in the hospital since her waters had broken."Sarah, how are you feeling honey?" Natalie had come into the room as Sarah was breathing through yet another contraction. "How far apart are they?" Natalie asked Monique was assisting.

"I can't do this...." Sarah had found her voice in a gasp after a rather strong one. "I can't do this Natalie. Not without him."

"Shh... don't think about that, once you have him in your arms Sarah, everything else will fall into place."

Reese looked over at her friend, she'd done this herself almost five years earlier, she'd been in her place, not alone but surrounded by the people who loved her. "And believe me Sarah, he's all worth it."

She pushed, breathing through the pain, with Will beside her, holding her hand, Claire on the other side encouraging her, it hadn't been too long ago that she had had her own baby, a little girl she'd named Elizabeth after her mother.

"You're almost there Sarah, I promise you, one more push and it will be over." She heard Natalie say. "I can see the head honey."

Sarah took a deep breath as Will smiled at her. "Squeeze as hard as you want Reese." She laughed because there wasn't much else she could do and pushed again until she heard it. Her son's first cry.

She woke up with a jolt, searching for the feeling of Connor's arms as her mind registered she was still at Med and Connor was still in a coma.

The dreams hadn't stopped, she was alone, trying to run away from something, someone. Glimpses of her life without Connor, raising the baby as a single mother. She sighed, burying her hands in her face. She would be seeing Robert later in the day and had spent the majority of her time the day before deciding on how to face him, back when he had first showed up in her life Sarah had been hesitant and with good reason, he had been the man who had abandoned her and her mother, had caused her mother to get herself into self-destructive relationships.

And given Sarah trust issues.

Her mother, Sarah's mind drifted to the woman, poised and dedicated, Claire reminded her a bit of Susan. Sarah was sure she'd been notified of what had happened, Hermann and the team had recovered her boyfriend's phone but hers had been crushed and Sarah had barely been awake long enough to deal with one parent at a time. Today she had to deal with Robert once and for all; Susan could wait a little longer.

"Sarah?" It was April and Dr. Choi. "How are you feeling?" Her hands instantly moved to her belly, still flat, Natalie had said she was less than four weeks pregnant but to Sarah it was already real, as real as her father being kept locked on a floor upstairs while Connor remained in critical condition and she slept just a few floors below.

"I'm fine." Sarah replied.

"I hear congratulations are in order." Ethan smiled."Natalie told me the baby is strong."

"Thank you Dr. Choi." Sarah spoke softly, her hand still not leaving her lower stomach. "It's still a little early but Natalie is optimistic."

"Of course she is, that baby was meant to be here Sarah, and the fact that the baby survived the crash should tell you that." Ethan said reassuringly. "By the way, you will be happy to know that both Sully and Arthur are being discharged later this week."

"Good." Sarah gave another weak smile. April took both her and the baby's vitals and as she had been hooked up to a monitor.

"The heartbeat is strong." The young nurse spoke with a smile. "Claire just came in for a check-up as well; she seems to have taken a liking to Natalie."

"And wants an excuse to check on Connor as well."

"Of course." April said. "That too."

"How's she doing? How's the baby?"

"Healthy." April assured her taking her blood pressure and helping her sit back. "She's a little bit further along than you, isn't she?"

"Yeah, she told me she was pregnant a few weeks ago." Sarah said. They had gone back to the caterer after Claire had had her doubts about the wedding menu and tried a few dishes, but for some reason suddenly salmon had made Claire sick and she had hurled almost on the spot, to the young man's horror. Sarah had seen pregnant women during Med school and her rotation at Med. The rest had been easy to figure out. The next day Claire had called Sarah to tell her she'd bought a pregnancy test and it was positive. April bit her lip, as if she didn't want to let out the question in her mouth escape. "How's Connor?"

"The same." Sarah replied. "Dr. Abrams keeps saying it's too soon to know anything, but I swear to you, I felt his hand twitch when I put it to my belly." April smile again. "And I know he can hear me. Comatose patients are known to remember entire conversations that they have had with love ones." Sarah didn't look up again until there was a knock on the door, Jay and Will had come into the room with someone. Sarah figured she was a detective of some kind, she looked official.

"Reese?" Will smiled at her. "Do you mind if we come in?" April glanced over at Sarah, not missing a glare thrown the detective's way. "Is this a good time?"

"I was going to go see Connor." Sarah said, hoping being drilled by yet another detective wouldn't be dragged on.

"This won't take long." Jay assured her. Sarah nodded.

"Sarah, this is Lieutenant Benson."

"You can call me Olivia, Sarah." The older woman offered her a kind smile, stepping further into the room. "How are you feeling?"

"It seems like that's all people ask me these days." Sarah huffed.

"I understand this past year has been very difficult for you." Olivia continued. "Det. Halstead brought me up to speed on Robert Haywood."

"Did he tell you, he tried to kill me?"

"He did." Olivia replied, her voice firm. "And that's what I'm here for; to make sure he doesn't hurt you or anyone else ever again."

Sarah stared at the woman for a moment. "What kind of detective are you? Homicide?"

Olivia took a deep breath. "SVU. New York," Sarah's eyes registered her words. "We were following a lead that trailed all the way back here. " Reese felt sick. She knew what it meant; it meant Robert was not only being suspected of killing those girls but also of, raping them, across the country no less. "And since you were Robert's Haywood's last victim."

"I'm not his victim, I'm his daughter." Sarah said as if the words burned down her throat."Ironic, isn't it?"

Olivia kept a calm stance in front of her but moved closer to the bed. "The only case we've been able to implicate Haywood in, in some way is Olivia Covney's and of course the attempt on your life and your boyfriend's, but regarding those missing girls, there's not much to go on."

Sarah tried to find her voice again. "He manipulated me into trusting him; he manipulated Connor into saving him because he cared about me and now he might never wake up." Sarah was trying to keep her emotions in check. "My baby might never know its father because of him."

Sarah's voice caught up on her throat as the realization hit her.

April was still standing beside Sarah. "Maybe that's enough for now, she still needs to get some rest."

Sarah Reese had always been an over thinker, even as a young child, the moment her father had walked out the door never to return, she blamed herself, a million scenarios played in her head, had she been bad? Had she not being as her smart as her father? Why had he left? Those thoughts haunted her even into adulthood until the day Robert Haywood had come back into her life and now she stood there, in front of her father's hospital room door, ready to face him once more.

Once and for all so she could move on with her life, be normal and finally be able to let go, at least that's what she told herself, she would never not be ashamed of him, for the monster he was, the kind of heinous man she'd come from. Will stood beside her, watching Haywood carefully, Olivia and Jay outside the room.

"Sarah." His voice was calm, almost stoic as he spoke; she was not in a wheelchair but in a standing position in front of the man who'd caused so much commotion and destruction in her life. Sarah struggled a minute to find her voice.

"When you left, I blamed myself, I blamed Mom, and I blamed everyone but you." She spoke as firmly as her emotions allowed her too. "And when you came back and wanted me to be a part of your life again, the six year old child in me wanted to cry because you'd finally come home."

Robert didn't even react at the admission. "When I had to care for you because you were dying, when I found out a heart had been found for you, I'd already known who you were, what you were capable of doing and even then a part of me was glad because you were going to live, now..." She blinked the tears away. "I wish you had died, I wish Connor hadn't saved you."

Robert's eyes kept watching her, as if they were prying into her soul. "Why did you do it? To get back at me for not being the grieving daughter, for not allowing you to stay with me? What? I want to understand." Her voice was rising. "Or where you so selfish that you couldn't stand my happiness, I feel sorry for you, because you'll never know what that is. What love is."

"What do you want me to say Sarah? That I'm sorry? I am not." Robert spoke as if it was the world's honest truth. "He should have known better than to care too much, you care too much and that's how you will burn. People aren't essential Sarah, they are just as much tools as the medical instruments you use to try and save them, and Dr. Rhodes, well he isn't better than me then, he played God with a dying man, he should have known better than to save me, but I guess that's what you get for being weak, you end up getting yourself killed." Sarah held her breath. "Connor Rhodes was wrong Sarah." Robert spoke. "And now he's ruined your life, just like I ruined your mother's, because in tne end, you are all alone and all of us, that's what we deserve."

It was true, she was alone, just like she'd been her entire life.

Sarah wasn't sure of what had happened next but she wished she could wipe off that look on his face as she felt Will's hand on her shoulder.

"Reese, that's enough, let's go." Sarah didn't want to cry, she didn't want to give the monster in front of her the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

"Oh wait, Dr. Halstead, one more thing?" Robert spoke and Sarah froze. "I'm guessing history is going to be repeating itself, of your child growing up without a father?"

Sarah was feeling weak when she walked back to her room. Olivia Benson as well as Dr. Charles stood there was Will led her out. "Anything else you need Detective?"

"No, I think I've seen enough." Olivia said, placing a hand on the young woman's shoulder. "I'll make sure, he can't hurt you anymore. I promise."

Sarah wished she could believe her.

She found herself face to face with Olivia Benson later that day again. She couldn't shake the sound of Robert's voice in her head. "Sarah? May I come in?" Sarah didn't reply but the older woman took a step forward. "Congratulations. How far along are you?"

"About four weeks." Sarah smiled, vaguely, her eyes drifting to her stomach which was covered by the covers. "I have a son myself, he's six." Olivia spoke softly. "I had wanted to be a mother for so long, even though I doubted myself constantly, after all, I never knew my father and my mother struggled with it, she was young and wasn't ready."

"But she pulled through?"

"She did and I am too, although not with as much flying colors." Olivia said with a small laugh. "My point is that even though we are made up of two people, we can choose our path Sarah and who we want to be."

"Connor, he..." Sarah said softly. "After his Mom died, his father practically shaped him to take over the family's business, but he, uh, he did the complete opposite and became a doctor. He never did care for the money or the prestige."

"He sounds like a good man." Olivia spoke.

"He is, one of the best." Reese admitted. Sarah looked up again after a moment."Will you have enough to charge him, Robert?"

"Yes, it looks like we have enough evidence." Olivia replied and Sarah sniffled, not even realizing she had tears streaming down her cheeks. "You did the right thing Sarah and you will get through this."

It had been three months.

Three months since the morning Robert Haywood had been charged and taken to prison, he was being charged in two states for the murder of the young girls who had been his students and the attempted murder of Sarah and Connor.

Three months since the accident. Sarah was having her every two weeks scan and today she was pretty sure she would be able to find that what she was having. Claire had offered to come with her, Eric too. They had, alongside with her friends at Med had become her support system, her family.

"Sarah would you stop?" Claire rolled her eyes at her as she spoke. "Now I get why they say doctors make the worst patients. Nothing will be wrong." Sarah nodded as she was called in by Natalie.

"Lay back for me." She instructed. Sarah sighed as she did was she was told, Claire offered her a reassuring squeeze of the hand. "We're all agreed on finding out the sex?"

"Oh well, I'm hoping for a girl." Claire mused. It was Sarah's turn to roll her eyes. "What? I would buy her the cutest outfits; by the time she's born I will be an expert."

Sarah walked inside the hospital room she now knew so well. She knew every crack, every spot on the wall. "Hey babe."

As always, she waited for a response that never came. "I had my sixteenth week scan today." Sarah pulled on the chair beside the bed and grabbed Connor's warm hand in hers. "Please don't be mad at me. Claire practically cornered me into finding out. She wanted to start thinking about matching outfits."

Sarah took out the small picture of her latest scan and placed it on the wall, next to the other ones. Every scan seemed to take her one step closer and it terrified her, specially doing it alone. "It's a boy Connor; we're having a little boy."

She took his hand in hers again and remained staring at him, she lowered the hand she'd taken to her growing bump. She took some sort of comfort in the sound of the ventilator that was keeping him alive, but it also meant she couldn't kiss his lips anymore, so she kissed his hand instead.

Hoping, waiting. Until she felt it, at first she didn't think much of it; it wasn't like she hadn't been tricked by her emotions before.

Until his eyes opened, staring right at her.

"Connor, can you hear me?" Will and Natalie had entered the room a moment later; Sarah hadn't dared to leave his side. "Page Dr. Abrams."

Connor squeezed Sarah's hand in desperation. She squeezed it back. Dr. Abrams cleared him to have the ventilator removed. "Okay, now I need you to take a deep breath and cough."

Sarah didn't think she'd heard a most amazing sound in her entire life, Connor was breathing on his own. "Try not to talk much." Natalie advised him softly.

"Sarah..." Her name was not even a whisper.

"I'm here. You're okay." She spoke as his hand traced her cheek and she kissed him softly, Connor grabbed onto her cheek for dear life as she reluctantly pulled away. Connor's eyes didn't miss her bump. His eyes widened.

"Don't worry. It's yours." Will said trying to lighten the mood, Connor rolled his eyes. "I'll see you in a bit." He said with a smile at both of them.

"We'll give you guys a minute." Natalie smiled, squeezing Connor's arm herself. "But just for a little while because we still have to run some tests and you need to rest." She said to Connor.

"Do you want some water?" He nodded as she grabbed on a small cup and put it closer to his lips as Connor drank slowly, soon, silence settled in between them for a minute. "How long have I..."

"3 months." Sarah spoke, it had felt like a lifetime to be honest. She smiled at him, still squeezing his hand gently.

"Are you.. is the baby okay?"

"We're both fine." She said. Trying to reassure herself and him. Trying to convince herself this was really happening. "Here." Sarah pulled the chair closer to him as he sat up the best he could. Connor moved his hand to her tummy, almost hesitant. "It's okay." He moved his hand gently as he tried to keep his eyes from watering. Sarah wasn't so lucky though.

She had had pictured this moment for so long, she placed her hand on top of his and leaned to kiss his lips softly. They were soft and unsure and real.

"Hey, I'm here, I'm not going anywhere.." He still sounded very weak as she stood beside him now, Reese bit her lip."What happened?" She didn't have time to respond as Will and the rest of the team ushered her away, insisting they both had to rest.

Sarah then grabbed her phone and sitting down tried to dial Claire's number, but suddenly she couldn't fight the tears falling from her eyes anymore she broke down. She felt someone wrap their arms around her, Natalie, and she cried, sobbed, because he had survived, she had survived and the nightmare was over.

Chapter Text

Sarah walked into Med on a Friday morning, her ever growing bump peeking out from under her sweater.

“Sarah, hey.” It was Maggie. “Aren’t you a bit early for you shift? You should be sleeping now while you can.”  

Sarah smiled. "I want to spend some time with Connor first.” Sarah smirked to which Maggie responded with a nod. 

“Ah, when is he getting discharged?”  Maggie knew it was hard for Connor, the once seemingly invincible man was now on pins and needles by his own doctors and it was driving him mad.

He tried to pretend for Sarah and for his sister but Maggie knew better, she knew everything.

“Not yet but if it was up to him, he would be gone home already.” Sarah said with a small smile. It had been two weeks since he’d woken up and he was getting fed up of people telling him he couldn’t do things, plus having learned who’d caused the accident had him flipping out but the idea of upsetting his pregnant girlfriend was something that could keep him in check.

She’d made him promise not to do something crazy, for her, for their son, but Sarah knew he was struggling over having to practically put his life, his work at Mayo on hold for the moment. The team had continued the research, some of his co-workers had popped in and out in the 3 months he’d been in a coma and they had come to see him the day after he woke up to tell him his job was waiting for him when he was ready.

But Sarah knew it wouldn’t be that easy for him to get back to it, even with Robert behind bars, the remnants of the accident were ever present, not only on his leg which he was just getting back to moving but Sam had discovered there was some neurological deficit in his motor skills from the delicate state his brain had been in, which he’d have to work on, especially on his right hand.

His surgical hand.  And it would take time.

She stood outside his room for a moment, watching him. Monique and Will were in the room getting him to his feet as they'd done every morning when she had come to check on him. “Reese.”

Connor’s eyes turned from his feet over to her at the sound of Will’s voice. “Good morning.” The redhead spoke as she smiled. Connor had insisted she go home after the first week of staying with him, she had to take care of the baby and herself. She’d already returned to work a month before on Claire’s and Natalie’s insistence, that she needed to keep herself busy, and she needed to finish her residency as well, she had made that promise to the baby and to Connor early on that she wasn’t just going to stop living. She wouldn’t allow herself to let her father take that away from her too. “Hard at work I see?” She beamed at Connor who was standing up with a hand on the bed while Monique was holding the chair in front of him.

“As it happens, we’re about to take a break.” Will said with a smile. “I’ll come check on you in a little while.” He told Connor and then gave Sarah a nod as he and Monique left the room.

Connor still hadn’t sat back down on the bed. “Everything okay?” Sarah asked, stepping further inside.

“He’s not pushing me enough.” Connor said, not looking at her.

“Will?”

“Him and Sam.” He said frustrated, pulling himself into a sitting position on the bed.

“It takes time Connor; your brain was inactive for a long time. They don’t want you to overdo it.

“My brain is fine, I am fine.” He said, looking at her. She was now standing by the bed. 

“Okay.” She said softly, offering him her hand. “But you still have to listen to them, they know what they are doing.”

“I was a trauma fellow too Sarah.” He said, the frustration still in his voice as he glanced down at her hands, avoiding her gaze."And they treat me like I don't know what's going." 

“I know, they do say doctors make the worst patients.”  She smiled as he turned away from her. Connor let out a loud sigh. “Come here.” Sarah sat on the bed as he reached to kiss her softly.  

"I'm sorry. How are you?"  His tone had softened instantly, it wasn't fair for him to let all his frustrations out on her. She was already dealing with enough. 

“Good, that pillow Natalie gave me does wonders.” Sarah joked.

“I wish I was your pillow.” He let out with a grin.  “I miss having you around to keep me company, nights seem to get rather lonely around here.

“Yeah, the apartment is too quiet too.  Soon, I promise.” She said, reassuringly, leaning her forehead against his as he kissed her again. “How’s the hand?”

“The same.” He said, his tone changing instantly. She took it in hers and moved his fingers tenderly. He hissed a little from the pain it caused but got through it. It was clearly still stiff and it hurt him. “I have physical therapy later.”

“And you promise not to give so many orders this time? Tammy told me you’d been a little too difficult yesterday.”

“Sarah…” He groaned at her tone. She stood her ground though, she had to.

“You can’t be a doctor and a patient, people here, they know you Connor and they want to help you, but you have to let them.” He sighed. She then remembered something and smiled. “Now, someone’s been wanting to say hi, scoot over.” She took something out of her bag as he moved so she could join him, she didn’t know exactly how the hospital bed had seemed to fit them both but it somehow did. 

Connor was careful to move his bad leg and let it hanging a bit out of the bed so that he could wrap his arms around Sarah as she laid back on his chest. She took out the portable sonogram Claire had gotten for her early on, this had become a routine for them. She would come to check on him before her shift and together they’d listen to the baby’s heartbeat.  

It offered Connor a bit of serenity in the madness that was his life since he’d woken up.

He poured the gel gently with his left hand over her bump as she tried to find the baby. “He was moving earlier, I swear.”  They waited, Connor’s hand on top of hers, guiding the small device over. “There, you are a little shy today, aren’t you?” Sarah said pointing out the faint pounding that came from the monitor until it became louder as Connor placed his left hand over one side of her bump and kept listening to the sound of his son’s heartbeat with closed eyes “Claire’s coming over later to have her check-up, Natalie said she’d squeeze me in too.”

“I’ll be there.” He said.

“You better.” She smiled. He helped her clean up a moment later, she had to go begin her shift. “Get some rest, I’ll come find you?” She said getting to her feet. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” He smiled as she kissed him, she didn’t miss the stiffness on his right hand though as she helped her get her sweater down, dismissing it for now as Sarah really didn’t want to ruin the moment.  But it worried her and she was keen to have a talk with Will and Sam about it as soon as she could.


 

Sarah woke up to the sound of her son’s cries, she tried to get up rather quickly but soon realized the cries had stopped. She suddenly noticed the other side of the bed was empty, slowly, she made her way over to the nursery to find Connor bending over the crib and taking the baby gently into his arms. His movements were gentle but unsure as he used his weak hand to cradle the baby’s head.

“You shouldn’t be up. You have a big day tomorrow.” He turned at the mere sound of her voice, she moved closer to him, as his eyes never left the baby’s.

“What if I don’t have the surgery?”

“Connor, that’s not what we agreed on.”

“It doesn’t really matter, you heard what Abrams said, my operating days are over anyway.”

“You could learn, there are other ways to practice medicine, to do what you love.”

“You and our son, that’s what I love, what I need.” He said.

“You know that’s not true.” She was now right behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist. “Being a doctor is just as important to you.”

He turned around to face her, the baby was now nuzzled into his father’s chest, his heartbeat was clearly calming. Sarah grabbed his face and leaned into kiss him, his now shaven face made him look younger, almost boyish as she searched for his eyes in the dim light of the room.

Connor closed his eyes at her touch. “Let’s go back to bed.” She took the baby from him gently and led both her boys to the main bedroom of the house they’d just bought outside the city. It was like they longed to put everything behind them and start anew, with their son, in their relationship and their careers. Sarah placed the baby in between them, safely securing him between pillows and their own bodies.


 

“Dr. Reese?” Daniel’s voice snapped her out of her daydream.  They had just come down for a consult on Jamie Delson, an old patient of Dr. Charles' who also  happened to be one of Connor’s first patients at Med. He’d come back in with a nasty cold and even with the set of new lungs he’d gotten, Daniel was still keen on running every test possible to reassure Jamie that it was just a regular cold, because honestly, he hoped that after almost four years, he wasn’t rejecting the transplant. “We can take a break if you want.” He noticed she was trying to catch her breath, and probably her feet were hurting too.

“No, I just need to get through the day, I’m fine.” She insisted. Daniel smiled, their relationship had slowly begun to become normal again in the last few months, without Connor, he’d helped her without a second thought.

“You are having a scan today, aren’t you?” Daniel said. “The first one with Connor.”

Sarah nodded. “Yeah, he’s trying to pretend not to be nervous about it but I know he is, I mean, he had to deal with the news pretty quickly.”

“But he’s happy?”

“Yes but, he’s struggling, with his hand and with having to be in a bed all day.” Sarah said. “I actually think the baby is the one thing keeping him sane.”

“That’s understandable, it’s a lot to process, his life practically changed in a blink of an eye.” Sarah bit her lip, hers had too, the crash, the baby, Robert. “But it’s a good thing he has you to support him Sarah and I don't think you give yourself enough credit." 

"Thank you Dr. Charles..." She nodded. 

"And you know if you need to talk? I'm around." 

Sarah had to admit, that just like Connor, Daniel had been in her corner always. 


 

They entered Jamie’s room, the patient, who was no longer such a young boy but was at Northwestern getting his masters smiled at his old doctor and at Sarah who he had not met before.

“Honestly Jamie, the hospital can’t be the best place for you to come visit, I mean if you miss me, we could meet for coffee somewhere else.” Daniel joked. Jamie struggled with a laugh. “This is Dr. Reese.”  

“Should she be near me if she’s pregnant?” Jamie said. “No offense, I just feel like I could be a doctor at this point, having spent most of my life in and out hospital.”

“That’s true.” Daniel smiled. “Of course, well we still don’t know what we’re against but I’m sure Dr. Reese appreciates your concern but not to worry, she’s not actually here to examine you. She’s on my service.”

“Oh, is it Dr. Rhodes then?” Jamie perked up. Sarah then looked at the young man. Daniel sensed her demeanour change.

“No, Dr. Rhodes is unavailable right now, however he’d be really disappointed that you are back here.”

“Him and me both.” Jamie smiled. Will came into the room a moment later.

“Jamie, we thought you’d gotten tired of us.”

“Maybe not.”

“Well, sit tight, we’re going to run some tests and see what’s going on, alright?”

“I’m not going anywhere doc.” Jamie beamed tiredly.


 

Will found himself in Connor’s room after he was done with therapy. That might have been the worst time for a visit but thankfully it would get his mind off his own problems and it did as soon as he mentioned Jamie. “Yeah, actually I saw Sarah with him earlier, he asked about you.”

Connor smiled, remembering how Jamie had been one of his first patients at Med almost five years before. “Is Sarah okay?”

Will smiled. “She’s fine, it’s good that she is keeping herself busy with work so she’s not worrying about you all the time, in fact, I think getting your mind on a case is just what you need, that’s why I came.”

“You want me to help you?” Connor inquired shifting on the bed, making Will sigh as he handed him a tablet.

“It’s not like you have something better to do.” Connor rolled his eyes but then turned his attention to Jamie’s tests results. Connor sighed.

“Organ rejection years later is rare but not unheard of, especially in  young patients,  because they may be at increased risk of acute cellular rejection of transplanted tissues compared to other transplant patients, CF is especially tricky." 

Will nodded. “Yeah, that’s what I thought, so he’s definitely rejecting the lungs?”

“Seems so.” Connor said with a sigh. “Do you mind if, I, uh come with you to see him?”

Will was about to answer when there was a knock on the door. Sarah was there as promised.

“I’ll talk to Dr. Charles first, and once we have a game plan, I’ll come find you?”

“What are you boys up to?” Sarah inquired, eyeing them curiously.

“Nothing you should worry about right now Reese, all you need to concern yourself with is that baby, alright?” Will helped Connor into the wheelchair earning a thankful smile from Sarah.


 

“How are you feeling, really?” Eric insisted as Connor had said he was fine. Sarah rolled her eyes at her boyfriend.  His sister was there too, having just come out of their appointment. Their baby girl was healthy and growing.

“Annoyed, right? Is he still being impossible?” Claire asked Sarah. “He’s always hated people taking care of him.”

“Well then, it’s a good thing he has Will, they can be stubborn together,” Natalie pointed out.

“Oh, no venue yet?” Claire asked. Connor blinked. Since when were Natalie and his sister friends?

“No.”

“You can still take my offer.” Claire said. “Trust me. I live to plan events, plus the sooner the better, before I have this baby.”

“Your sister is as insisting as you.” Natalie smiled at Connor. “So, are we ready? Sarah, you know the drill.”

Sarah turned to look at Connor as she hopped on the bed the best she could as she was almost four months along. He stood up, holding onto the handles on the side of the wheelchair.  Monique then moved it so he could sit beside Sarah holding her hand. Sarah hissed at the coldness of the gel that had hit her skin, then she heard the familiar beeping sound as Natalie searched for the best angle.

He had seen the videos they’d made for Sarah, the pictures, but seeing his son on the screen for the first time, knowing he was real he didn’t think there was something that would be able to top it. He hadn’t noticed Sarah was staring at him until she squeezed his hand reassuringly. “Just like his cousin, this little guy is growing as he’s meant to.” Natalie said with a beaming smile as she watched Connor. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you.” Connor smiled. He then leaned into kiss Sarah softly as he maneuverer to lift himself up a bit.

“Don’t thank her, It’s Sarah who’s been doing all the work.” Connor rolled his eyes at his sister’s tone.

They had agreed to have lunch with Claire and Eric after the scan, Connor was still confined to the wheelchair and his mind was rather occupied on Jamie’s case. “So, are we finally going to talk about it?”

He knew what she was referring to, Sarah kept living in Connor’s apartment alone while he was still in the hospital, even though Claire had insisted she’d be better off with her and Eric at the Estate. "I thought we had agreed to drop it Claire?" 

“Don’t play dumb Connor, you two are just as stubborn as each other, Sarah could be perfectly happy at the house.” She sighed, then turned to Sarah. “They could drive you to and from work, you wouldn’t have to drive at all and I’d feel better if you weren’t in that apartment by yourself.”

Sarah bit her lip. Back when she had first found out she was pregnant, Claire had insisted on it too and she had agreed on it for the first month or so but she refused to be pampered and confined to the Estate no matter how amazing and glamorous it was, the truth was, she’d only agreed on it because Robert was yet to be locked up in prison and she’d felt safer having people around, but she had wanted to be by herself too, to be back in the home she’d shared with Connor.

“I’m getting out of here soon.” Connor told her.

“How soon?” Claire retorted. She didn’t mean to push or sound harsh but she was worried, about him and about Sarah, but just like Connor, expressing her true feelings didn’t come easy.

“Claire, they’re both grownups honey, I don’t think they need you to be bothering them about it. We said we weren’t going to push…” Eric reminded her and Sarah saw Claire throw the same look Connor gave her when he was annoyed, her husband’s way.

“We have are meeting with Dr. Abrams later today, I’m sure he’ll give us an update.” Sarah said.

“Okay, but will you at least think about it?” Claire pleaded. Connor didn’t think it sounded that bad now that he'd thought of it.  especially because he wasn’t sure just how long he would be staying in Med and it worried him that Sarah was all alone.


 

“Okay Connor, now try and squeeze.” Will instructed calmly. Connor refrained from rolling his eyes as Sarah watched him.

His hand barely moved. Sam then took a turn and stimulated his fingers with a pen. “How much longer is this going to take?” Connor asked, he was tired, fed up and in truth his hand hurt and was the same as it had been since he’d woken up. He saw not point to it anymore. 

They hadn’t noticed right away though, Sam said it could very well develop over time and it seemed to have done it textbook like.  Sam had seen it in patients who had had strokes or had had some kind of neurological trauma, Connor had checked all the boxes. Will didn’t have to look at Sarah to notice she was tense, worried for him, he was too, to be honest, but he figured at most, he could go home pretty soon.

Also, he was worried about Jamie and he told her as she laid with her once more on his tiny hospital bed, his good hand tracing circles on her belly.  “Is that even possible?” She asked.

“Yes, I’ve seen it happen, sadly, not in a transplant as old as Jamie’s but…”

“Poor kid.” Sarah said.

“I think he was barely my second patient on my first day at Med.” Connor admitted. “And to think that I can’t help him.”

“What do you mean you can’t?” Sarah piped up, eyeing him in the dim light of the room. “You treated him. If there’s someone who knows the case is you.”

Connor sighed, maybe Will was right, it wasn't like he had something better to do and he felt like he owed it to Jamie to at least try. 

“Oh hey, there you are.” Sarah was saying goodbye to Connor for the night when the girls came to find her, then it clicked in her mind that she had agreed to go to Molly’s for Monique’s birthday which she had postponed a couple times already.

“You’re not bailing on us again, are you?” April asked.

“She’s not.” Connor replied before Sarah could.

“I’m… not?”

“No.”

“What’s up Reese?” Will mused entering the room. “You’re still here? I’m sorry but since you are stealing my fiancé, I figured I could keep Connor company.”

Sarah let out a huff. They had all planned it, ganged up on her so she could go out. “Really guys?” Will smiled.

“Yes, really, now go and have fun. I’ll take good care of him, I promise.” He winked.

“You heard them, let’s go.” Natalie smiled pulling her by the arm after she tried to argue further to no avail.


 

They drove over to Molly’s. It had honestly been a while since she’d had had a girl’s night out, her evenings usually consisted of keeping Connor company until she had to go home, the past three months and in the last few weeks. 

And she had been reluctant to leave him. 

“What’s going on in that head of yours?” Natalie asked as they were left alone at the table for a moment as the others went to get refills, Sarah hadn’t even realized she had zoomed out from the conversation.

“I’m sorry, I’m just tired I guess.” She lied but Natalie could read her well, especially because she’d already been pregnant.

“And you’re worried about having Connor back at home.” It wasn’t a question. “Will told me Sam said he might be able to go home by the end of the week.”

“Oh, yeah.” Sarah said. “But It’s not about him going home, I mean it’s all I’ve wanted for months but…”

“But…”

“I don’t want him to feel too overwhelmed.” Sarah admitted. “Today, when he saw the baby, it became real for him Nat, before it was like he’d been trying to process it all but today, I saw him. I saw Connor, my Connor. Not the guy who had just woken up from a coma realize he is going to be a father and I'm worried about him." 

Natalie sighed. “I get it, after Jeff died,” She began. “It didn’t seem real that I had gone to having a husband and a baby to having to raise Owen alone. It’s a lot, but the thing is Sarah, that you are not alone, Connor is here, he’s back, you two just have to convince yourselves of that.”

"I guess, maybe I'm reading to much into it but today when he kissed me.” Sarah said after a moment, trying to process the other woman's words. “The baby kicked harder than I’ve ever felt him. I don’t even know if it was just in my head or maybe it was the hormones but it's getting too real for me too." 

“What about hormones?” April asked as the girls had returned. “Are they all over the place?”

“Yeah, more often lately.” Sarah admitted. “Today when we kissed, it was like everything felt heightened. Like every nerve of my body was on fire.”

“That’s more normal than you think, as it is for you to feel the baby more.” Natalie pointed out.

“Oh, how are you guys in that department?” Maggie asked and Sarah felt herself blush at the implication. “Intimately I mean?”

“None existent, he’s recovering from having been in a coma and physical injuries, plus we haven’t even been able to be alone without someone interrupting.”

“That’s Med for you.” Maggie said and then took a sip of her drink. “But luckily, you have me.”

“What do you mean?” Sarah inquired curiously.


 

She arrived back at Med that night, Connor was still awake as she came into the room, with Natalie and April behind her. “What’s going on? I thought you were going home after Molly’s.” He then saw Maggie roll a twin bed beside his. “Sarah, what...”

“After everything today, I just didn’t feel like going home,” Sarah said once the other two had left, closing the door with a knowing look. “And we can’t put any strain on your leg so Maggie had this brilliant idea.”

“Maggie huh?” He smirked as he saw her take her jacket off and placed the bag she still kept in her car for emergencies on the mattress and then turn to his own bed to face him. “What’s going on in that head of yours Sarah Reese?”

His eyes had darkened and his voice was low as she leaned to kiss him. “You.” She said closing her eyes as he pulled her closer, his arms around her waist, she almost didn’t pull away when he began running his left hand over her belly tenderly, it was true her senses were all fired up, she gave him one last peck on the lips as she walked back and into the bathroom as she heard him sigh. 

She came out soon after in her pyjamas and a lazy bun, the beds were barely separated now and Connor had made sure they were put on break so they wouldn’t pull apart.

“Come here.” He whispered to her, in that husky voice that made her shiver. She did and lifted herself to be on the now larger mattress, she was skinny enough for her bump to be prominent on her body but not too much, she leaned her face into his as Connor caught her lips for a kiss, for the first time since he’d woken up they’d been able to be together like this, his left hand was soon everywhere it could reach, his lips as well. “God Sarah… I missed you so much.”

“I missed you too.” Connor wasn’t oblivious of her grown tummy as he pushed her further down into the mattress, the material, squeaking as he laughed. Sarah then felt herself overcome with emotions as he lifted her shirt and touched the small mountain that was their son growing inside her. Sarah had noticed he was not as kin to use his other hand so she took it and placed it on her belly firmly.

“You know we’re going to fix it, your hand, right?”

“Sarah, I don’t really want to talk about that now.” He said looking up at her from where he was tummy down so he wouldn’t have to push his leg to lengths it wasn’t ready yet. All coherent thought was lost to Sarah as he leaned to kiss her again, his tongue against hers in a fight, Sarah then felt something else which didn’t go lost on Connor either. “Was that...”

“I think we woke him up.” Sarah smiled into his lips. Connor then froze. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I just, I can’t believe his big enough for me to feel him, I’ve missed so much.” He didn’t mean to bring her down but it was the truth, he hadn’t been there with her from the beginning.

“You are here now.” Sarah said forcing him to look up and into her eyes, he continued to caress her tummy as she watched him a moment later, her eyes almost watering.

She blinked the tears away though. She didn’t want to be a crying mess.


 

They woke up the next morning, Sarah was nuzzled against Connor, her back to his chest as his arms were wrapped around her body, specially over her belly, protectively. They really hadn’t done anything more than make out, but to Sarah it had meant everything, He was back with her and soon he’d be going home and they could start over.  She wished she could stay like that forever but her stomach was growling and she had to soon get ready for her shift, plus she didn’t want to get caught.

Connor was still asleep when she came out of the bathroom, thankfully the muscle relaxers he’d been given helped him relax and sleep through almost everything. She smiled as he opened his eyes though. “Good morning.”

“Morning.” He beamed back sheepishly. “Where are you running so fast to?”

“My shift starts soon and I’m pretty sure someone’s going to come through that door any minute.” She smirked getting her hair up. He gave her a small smile.

“I’m seeing Jamie later.” Connor said reincorporating himself in bed, his legs hanging to the side, running his hand through his face.

“Good.”

“Not so good, I’m going to have to tell him he’s going back on the transplant list.”

“Connor, I’m sorry.” She said honestly moving to close her bag and then turning to face him. 

“Yeah me too.” Connor sighed. He stood on the bed as best he could and allowed her to hug him. He placed his left hand on her tummy. "How about you come find me later?" 

"Okay." She was gone a moment later with a kiss and a promise to have breakfast before work. After all, she was eating for two. 

True to her word Sarah made her way up to the cafeteria running into Maggie on the way. “Hold up Reese.” She called.

“Where are you off to?” She asked curiously.

“Cafeteria.” She said. “Hey Maggie, about last night, thanks.”

The head nurse beamed. “Well I do hope you two had a nice time.”

Sarah felt herself blush. “It was all worth it, so thank you.”

“Oh no, you’re not getting off that easily, as a matter of fact I have time for breakfast too.”




Chapter Text

 

"Dr. Rhodes." Jamie smiled at Connor, he'd come to visit him late the night before he was meant to be going home. "How are you doing? You're finally free tomorrow huh?"

"Hey. Yeah, and since we're not going to be seeing each other so much..." Connor said, grabbing onto the railing of Jamie's bed. "I was wondering if we could talk?"

"Sure." Jamie smiled. "You must be happy to be out and walking."

Connor agreed with a smile. "Listen, Jamie...We've already contacted UNOS. You are on the top of the list." Jamie stared at him.

"So, how long do I have if I don't get a transplant?"

"Jamie…"

"How long?"

"A month at most, but there are other options while we find a donor."

"Which are?"

"Well, we could put you on Ecmo."

"Didn't you try that once with me before and I said no?" Jamie said to Connor.

"Yeah but you are older, so there's a possibility we wouldn't have to put on an ET tube, you could breathe on your own. Dr. Halstead already ordered the tests to verify if you are a candidate."

"And if I'm not? You'll have to put me to sleep?" Connor nodded. "No thanks."

"It might be worse than last time." Connor said grimly. "This is not about CF anymore Jamie, your body is rejecting the transplant. Soon you won't be able to breathe and the infection will kill you."

Connor was now sitting beside him on a chair by the bed. "Can I ask you something?" How did it happen, how did you get hurt? Dr. Charles just said you were in an accident." Jamie asked as if he hadn't heard him.

"A car crash." Connor spoke. "I was in a coma for 3 months."

"And you want to put me to sleep? How is that not ironic?"

"Only if we have to." He corrected.

"And what's to say that I won't reject these new lungs too, would they even give them to me? If they know I already had a chance?"

"We're going to do everything we can to make that happen." Connor told him.

"What if I don't want it?" Jamie asked, Connor sighed, staring at his right immobilized hand. "The transplant or the Ecmo? Maybe someone else should have it."

"Come on Jamie, without it, you know you'll die, right? Don't you want to, I don't know, finish school? Get married?"

"Dr. Reese, you two are together, right?" Jamie said after a moment. Connor smiled slightly at the mention of Sarah and nodded. "Yeah, I figured, you hear way too many things around here."

"Truth be told, I had never pictured myself as someone who could be in an stable relationship, let alone become a Dad, uh, my own father and I don't have the best track record." Connor admitted. "But Sarah, she changed everything for me. She showed me that I could be more than I had ever pictured myself to be. Does that make sense?"

"I guess, I'm happy for you Dr. Rhodes." Jamie smirked."For me, the sad truth is, my parents can't even bring themselves to care anymore."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be, I'm used to it." Jamie said with a slight shrug. "I'm sure you're going to to be an amazing Dad, Dr. Rhodes."

"Thanks kid." Connor smiled. "But can I be blunt? The thing is, the moment I found out I had a kid on the way and that, that little baby had survived, the accident, it all changed for me, my priorities changed, because the truth is, I love Sarah and my son more than I thought it possible, you know and if he survived it? Why couldn't I? And why can't you?"

Jamie pressed his lips together. "I have a girl. Well we just started dating but, uh, I really, really like her." Jamie said after a moment.

Connor smiled again. "She was the one who talked me into coming in when I felt sick, she's the only one who has been with me all through school and masters. We were friends first but I finally got the nerve to ask her out and for some reason she agreed. "

"Sounds like she's one hell of a girl." Connor said. Jamie smiled.

"Yeah, she is."

"And so maybe you see a future with her?" Connor asked. Jamie bit his lip tiredly.

"I don't know."

"Well, don't you think you at least owe it to yourself and her not to give up?"

Connor thought it was a little hypocritical of himself to tell that to Jamie but argue with Sarah about surgery. He knew he'd have to talk about it soon.


"Thanks Sully." Sarah smiled at her now driver and former bodyguard. He was going to drive them back to the apartment the morning Connor was discharged, and him, true to his nature, he had refused to have someone push him out to the parking lot in a wheelchair and instead walked with his head held high.

"Take care of yourself." Natalie said with a hug. "And listen to Sarah." Connor huffed.

"Yeah." He smiled breaking the hug. "Thanks for everything Nat, and specially for taking care of her while I was…"

"Hey, It's no problem. You two are family." She replied. Will stood beside Natalie, the two men shared a knowing look as the redhead offered Connor his hand to shake.

"Thanks for being a pain in my ass Halstead and you know, not giving up?" He admitted, Will smiled.

"Hey, you would have done the same for me, right? And now you can be at the wedding, which apparently your sister has taken to herself to plan."

"Right."

"It's going to cost me a fortune."

"Uh, I'm sure I can think of something to meddle the damage." Connor mused. "Hey, keep me updated on Jamie? I want to be here if I can."

Will nodded. "No Mayo?"

"Only if I still have a job to go back to." Connor said in a whisper. "I'm sure they don't want a surgeon who can't operate." He then turned back to where Sarah stood beside the rest of their friends who were saying goodbye, before Will could reply.

"You ready?" Sarah asked, taking his hand as Sully opened the door for them to get in. Connor glanced back at Med and at their friends and then at her.

"Let's go."

It was funny really to drive through such familiar surroundings and feel as if he didn't recognize it. He'd moved to that apartment after Robin had left, it had been a fresh start for him but now it felt like going back to a place he didn't know anymore. "Are you okay?"

Connor sighed, his good hand hadn't left hers the whole ride over. "No but, I will be."

Sully went in ahead of them carrying the bags they had, Connor took a minute to contemplate the fact that he would be sleeping in his own bed that night. "Anything else you need sir?"

"You know what? Why don't you take the rest of the day off?" Connor said. "It's not like we'd be going anywhere." The other man nodded and after saying his goodbyes left, closing the door behind him. Sarah hadn't moved.

She watched him, walk slowly over to the kitchen which looked the same, the living room was the same as well, except for the pillow that stretched over the cushions. He was pretty sure Sarah spent most of her time reading or watching TV there. "Are you hungry? We could order in?" Connor tapped his fingers on the kitchen island. The immobilizer in his right hand catching his eye. He knew it was there, he felt it, he had heard Sam's instructions and the therapist's about keeping it until surgery.

But it still felt foreign to him. "Connor?" Sarah's voice made him look over at her.

"Did I tell you Jamie is, uh going on Ecmo?"

"Really?" Sarah walked over to him. "That's great."

"Yeah, but he gave us a deadline because he had to hand in a paper in order not to lose the entire semester."

"When?"

"Monday, they're going to be attempting the procedure without the ET tube, I swear that kid has more conditions than anyone I have ever met." He laughed.

"Huh, I'm thinking of who he reminds me of?" Sarah countered. Oh yes, surgery had come up and Connor was still unsure of just how good it would be for him to have it if it wouldn't make any difference.

"This is not about me Sarah." He said, pulling away from her. Sarah sighed. "This is about Jamie."

"Well, we don't have to talk about it now, it's your first day back home, but tomorrow… we are talking about it Connor." She said, closing in the space between them again, her hand on his cheek. She leaned to kiss him. "Promise me, we'll talk about it."

"Fine, we will."

"Good, now, anything you want to do?" She asked, pulling away from him and peeking into the fridge which was practically empty, but she suddenly felt his hands around her waist from behind.

"Well, I don't think I've had a real shower in three months." He said, his voice almost sounded shy as he put his head on her shoulder

"How does a bath sound then?" She perked up taking his hand and leading him to the main bedroom, which also looked the same as it had been the morning they had left for Claire's wedding. He sat on the bed for a moment as Sarah suggested to warm up the water.

"Hey, what's wrong?" She asked coming out the bathroom a moment later to find him just staring down at his hand again.

"Nothing, I'm just glad to be home, with you." He said looking up at her and pulling her close. "Both of you" He said gesturing to her stomach.

Sarah smiled. "Trust me, I am too, here." She offered tenderly helping him out of the immobilizer, Connor then pulled himself to his feet, they undressed each other between stolen kisses and roaming hands until they found themselves inside the bathtub, Sarah's back against Connor's chest, both their hands on her tummy and her free one massaging his right one.

"Do you remember the last time we did this?" He asked. Sarah looked up at him. "I don't think I do."

"Connor…we're not going to do this right now please, not today."

"I thought you wanted me to talk about it?" He insisted. She sighed, she could feel the butterflies in her stomach that meant the baby was moving around at the sound of his voice.

"I lost 3 months of my life Sarah, I wasn't there when they took Robert away or when you found out you were pregnant." He hissed over the pain as she gave his hand a light squeeze and then she kissed it.

He hadn't told her about what it was like to be in a coma, not because he didn't want to, he honestly didn't remember most of it. He just had bits and pieces of the accident and then waking up.

"That doesn't matter. You are here now." She told him, snuggling even further into him and moving his hand along still. They stayed like that a moment longer but Sarah had remained quiet.

"You okay?" He asked into her hair.

"Yeah, I'm just a little sleepy."

"It's like 5:30." He said with a smile, teasing.

"Hey, I'm carrying another human inside me. Your little human..."

"You were there too, you know?." He said with a grin, one that she couldn't argue with, she loved that smile.

"And plus, Maggie did say I should sleep while I could." Sarah mused. "And you should too if you have that meeting with Randall tomorrow. You are going, right?"

"He's not going to give me my job back Sarah. He needs a surgeon, I'm barely half of one now."

"Hey. No." Sarah said looking up at him again. "You are Connor Rhodes. Dr. Connor Rhodes."

"Saying my name like that isn't going to make my hand better." He said resting his head back against the cold tile of the bathup.

"So, but therapy and surgery will." She countered.

"And if it doesn't?"

"Then we'll figure it out, but for now, you could still do research."

"I hated pathology." He mused. "I'm not a lab person Sarah."

"Trust me, I know." She smirked. "Connor…"

"Hmmm…" He said into her neck.

"I'm hungry." She admitted shyly which made him chuckle and relax.

"Right, I'll order us something then, how does a movie in bed sound?" Connor offered. He then helped her to her feet as the water had turned cold and handed her a towel which she wrapped around herself, he did the same and moved to the room. She didn't have time to process the moment he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her to him again and kissed the back of her neck, making her close her eyes at his touch.

"You know that if you keep doing that, I might want to have my way with you, don't you?" He just grinned at her as Sarah lifted her hand to touch the side of his cheek, then, she turned around to capture his lips with hers, but he didn't let her. 

"Patience Dr. Reese." He said, pecking her lips slightly. "I'm feeding us first."

Sarah smiled as he leaned over the bed and grabbed the immobilizer to put it back on his hand and then grabbed his phone after putting on a pair of boxers and a hoodie.

They stayed in bed, just enjoying each other's company. Sarah would watch him, trying to drink him being beside her. "What?" He asked, his eyes were scanning her worriedly.

"I just love you. You know?" She said. Connor smiled, placing the empty takeout container on the nightstand.

"I love you too." He grabbed her cheek softly. "And babe, I don't think I say it enough but, thanks for not giving up on me."

"When did you huh? Not even when I was just an awkward fourth year med student who couldn't even put in a line."

He pushed his lips together. "Oh, I remember." Connor then leaned closer, his lips ghosting hers, their half finished dinner forgotten.


That night as she felt him breathing beside her, she could barely believe it was real. "Did I, do something?" He asked as he looked at her face, afraid that maybe he had put on too much weight on her body and hurt her in some way.

"No, I'm just trying to make sure that I'm not dreaming." She said, trying to keep her voice steady.

"You had dreams of us, doing this?" He smirked.

"Don't joke." She said hitting his arm. "I'm serious."

"Sorry." Connor, who was now on top of her moved a strand of hair from her face kissed her softly. She could feel her body being on fire as he continued to touch her, every part he could reach."But yeah, this is real Sarah. As real as it gets."

Later, after they ended up tangled in each other and he had fallen asleep with a hand gently on her bump, Sarah cried, for the first time in weeks, she hadn't allowed herself to do so, because she had wanted to be strong for him and herself but the reality of it and bottled up hormones were too much for her to handle.

Thankfully though, he hadn't woken up as she slipped out of bed and reached for the back of the closet to grab a small bag. She put it on the nightstand next to him and slid back in bed, finally drifting to sleep.

Chapter Text

Connor woke up to an empty bed the next morning. He grabbed on his phone and saw the time, he had to meet Randall in a few hours, but suddenly something else caught his eye, a small bag resting on the nightstand, he rolled in bed and sat up to grab it.

Sarah was sitting on the couch when he came out of the room. "Hey."

"Hi…" He said with a smile as he kissed her on the cheek from behind. "I see you and Claire have been up to doing a little shopping." Connor grabbed on the small shirt.

Sarah smiled. "How did you know?"

"I know Claire." Connor said, sitting beside her.

"Well it was her idea to go shopping." She took the small 'Relax, my daddy's a doctor' shirt from him. "I think I bought it a few weeks ago, right after you woke up, Claire said we needed a pick me up and hers is go highwaire on baby stuff, me on the other hand? This is as far as I've gotten. Do you like it?"

"I love it." He said to her with a light kiss, staring at the shirt in her hand and at her growing bump. "And we do have plenty of time to get ready for the baby, starting this weekend if you want."

"Connor, you are avoiding…" She echoed. "I mean this, you are an amazing doctor and I want you to believe it too. "

"I'm getting there…" he sighed. "I promise."

"Huh, huh, wait until you go back to Med tomorrow, it will remind you just how good of a doctor you are..." Connor smiled.

"Here's to hoping Ecmo works just enough to give us time to find him a new pair of lungs."

"Is Goodwin granting you privileges?" Sarah perked up.

"I'm not sure, Will said he would sort everything out, that I just had to show up."

"See? I'm not the only one who thinks you need to get back to it, even if Sam said to take your time. When you help people, it's when you are at your best."

"It's hard to believe Will Halstead to be on my side. When did that happen?" Connor huffed.

"Since you two stopped that stupid rivalry you had going on in the beginning, it doesn't matter who did but it just means you two can finally accept that you are just as good."

Connor sighed. "You do always know what to say, don't you Dr. Reese?"

"Well, not all the time…" She saw her mood shift.

"What?"

"Do you really want to go baby shopping? When did we turn into that sort of people?" She laughed. "I didn't even like to go to the mall as a kid."

"I grew up in one. Can you blame me?" He said with a sad smile. "Come on, this just means we can spend more time together."

"Okay, or... I might have other ideas on what we could do that doesn't involve leaving the house…" She said leaning to kiss him, Connor responded quickly, brushing his left hand to her cheek as their tongues engaged in a battle.

"You're insatiable Dr. Reese." Connor joked as he laid on his side on the couch so he wouldn't crush her.

"And whose fault is that?" Sarah said. Just as on cue, she felt the baby kick when Connor put his hand on her tummy.

"Listen, as much as I wish we could stay in bed all day, I..." He lost track of his words when Sarah kissed the side of his neck, having pushed him now to his back. "I have to get ready to go meet Randall."

Sarah looked down at him. "Right. How about breakfast then? I've missed you cooking for me."

Connor laughed. "How exactly did you manage to feed yourself alone?"

"Good question." She said blushing while kissing his chin and moving back into a sitting position. "But luckily you are here."

"Luckily." He smiled, standing up and moving to the kitchen. "What are you in the mood for?" Connor opened the fridge to find just enough to make them pancakes. "Okay, no, we're going to get groceries, you need to eat better."

She rolled her eyes at him and grabbed the cup of tea she had been drinking and moved to the kitchen island. "Can I come with you then?"

He hesitated for a minute and Sarah didn't miss it. "Fine, you can come but as long as you let me take you out and get something decent to eat." She didn't argue, if he wanted to take care of her, she was going to let him.


She drove them to the meeting after they had given Sully the weekend off so they could spend time together. Sarah had gone to the clinic a couple times, it wasn't as big as Med by any means and Connor had admitted they mostly did their trail runs in Rochester but it was still intimidating yet friendly.

"Are you okay?" Sarah asked, touching the back of his neck softly with her hand once she had parked.

"I'll be fine." He assured her. They walked hand in hand to the main entrance of the clinic, a woman who clearly seemed to know Connor but Sarah hadn't seen before greeted them with a wide smile.

"Dr. Rhodes, it's so good to see you out and about." She said. "I do hope you got all the cards we sent. Oh, and congratulations on the baby, you two must be so happy, especially after all that's happened." Sarah just nodded.

"Thanks Stacey." Connor smiled warmly. "Is Dr. Randall around?"

"Oh yeah, he's in his office. I'll tell him you are here." Stacey replied. "Sarah, right? I don't think we've met but I've heard a lot about you. I just transferred from our Rochester clinic a few months ago."

"Nice to meet you." Sarah said. Stacey smiled again and then turned her attention to the phone she was answering.

"Dr. Randall is ready for you."

"Right, will you be okay on your own?" He asked, Sarah rubbed on his arm reassuringly as he pulled her close.

"Oh, don't worry Dr. Rhodes, I can keep her company, she'll be just fine." Connor nodded and then kissed Sarah softly before making his way to the elevator. Sarah didn't miss his step until he disappeared inside it.

Sarah didn't have the worst time around Stacey and the rest of the staff, in fact they were all pretty nice and praised Connor's work like crazy, which made her feel a whole in her stomach about what exactly her boyfriend's future regarding work would be. They couldn't just fire him, but Sarah knew him too, he wouldn't want to risk all the patients by having him around just because.

He came out about an hour later, he didn't seem upset, but honestly Sarah couldn't read him as well as usual either and it worried her, they said their goodbyes to the staff and made it out to the parking lot. "Connor, please talk to me. What happened?"

"He said I still had a job." He answered after giving up on Sarah's insistence. "That he needed someone to supervise the project still."

"But that's not what you want, is it?" She said. Connor looked at her with those blue eyes that usually reassured her but now seemed so lost.

"No."

"Hey, you know that shirt this morning? I meant it…" She repeated. "This isn't over, we're going to do all we can for you to get back to work…"

"It's not that simple Sarah…"

"Why the hell not?" Oh, it was never a good sign when she used words like that. "Do you think Dr. Latham's autism slows him down? No, he still as good as any."

"But he has two functioning hands and to be a surgeon, you need them..." Connor countered, trying to keep his temper in place. "Can we just go please?"

"I told you we weren't done talking about this…" She said, holding her ground. Connor looked at her but she wouldn't back down. He turned on the passenger seat and reached for her, his hand tracing her cheek. "Talk to me, I want to help you."

"You can't Sarah, no matter how hard you try, you can't fix this." He said in almost a whisper, pain in his voice. "I don't even know what to do with my life now, all I have been is either a Rhodes to society or a doctor. Without it, I'm just Connor."

"And you don't think that's enough?" She asked, tears were threatening her eyes but she pushed them back.

"I didn't mean it like that but the truth is, I don't know." He admitted, almost shamefully. Sarah sighed, she decided not to push anymore, to allow him to tell her when he was ready, it was too much coming his way in so little time with the hand and the baby.

They still went grocery shopping, and Connor cooked for them, the best he could with his almost immobilized right hand. He was now having to rely on his left one for almost anything.

Sarah helped him set the table on the kitchen island, and an almost deja vu feeling washed over her. She had found herself here before, the night of the Lincoln Park shooting, the night she had finally realized she felt something for him and just like back then, when Sarah felt shy about telling him how she really felt, she was unsure to touch on the subject further.

Maybe the shirt had been a stupid idea and she had pushed it on him but she hated to see him so lost. He told her he was going to take a shower and she had to lay down, her head was killing her.

Connor had just come out of the bathroom when he found her sleeping, she was wearing one of his jersey's that were big enough to cover her entire bump. He slid in beside her to kiss her forehead.

Sarah's eyes flickered open. "Hey."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you." He said softly.

"It's fine. Are you okay?" She said in an equally low voice.

"Fine, I just, I'm sorry about earlier, I didn't mean to say that I wasn't nothing or that us and our life isn't enough, I mean, I'm alive and you and the baby are okay, I should be grateful." He had sat up on his side of the bed now. She was behind him, sitting up too. "I shouldn't have taken out my frustration out on you."

"You are entitled to feel like nothing in your life makes sense." Sarah said. "I've been there remember? When Dr. Charles hired me back at Med, I was feeling like I didn't know myself anymore." Connor hung his head down as she kissed the back of his neck. "But it gets better, trust me babe." She then wrapped her arms around his waist from behind, her bump, was there present between them.

This was who he was now. Responsible for someone else other than himself. He was about to be a father and he had to get it together, but he just didn't know how.


Sarah woke up on Sunday alone, the smell of food from the kitchen jolted up her senses. Connor was in the kitchen making breakfast, like it was just another Sunday morning, it was strange really that she had woken up beside him two nights in a row after been without him for so long. "Good morning beautiful. Are you hungry?" Sarah smiled and after a quick hello and a kiss sat on the kitchen island, a plate of fruit laid out for her. "So, I was thinking… we've been spending way too much time inside the apartment, how about we go for a walk?" Sarah didn't seem amused by the idea of leaving the comfitness of her pajamas . "Come on, it would do us both some good, plus I want to take you somewhere."

"It's late September Connor…"

"Right, so not too cold or too hot." He perked up.

"Do we really have to?" She said, taking a bite of her food.

"We don't have to, I just thought it would be nice."

She didn't have the will to argue when he looked at her like that and seemed to be in better spirits.

"Just because I love you." She said, leaning to kiss him as he sat across from her after serving their respective omelettes, they didn't talk much but instead kept to their own thoughts but it was like both of them had this silent conversation and it almost felt normal.

"I love you too." He beamed.

They didn't use the car and instead walked over to the park, a few families that lived in the neighbourhood were either playing ball or walking their dogs, Connor hadn't had that growing up, his father had barely been home after Elizabeth had died and even if at some point he had, had that sort of normalcy, he could barely remember.

It always seemed like a fantasy to him more than anything. "So, I've been thinking... that maybe we should move, outside the city." Connor said when they had settled on a bench.

Sarah blinked. "When exactly did you have time to think about that?"

"Med. Maggie even gave me some pointers." Connor admitted shyly. "I just think it would be good for us, a change."

"We have enough room for the baby in the apartment." Sarah countered. Connor seemed disappointed and she instantly regretted her words. "I just mean, that Med is nearby in case we need anything and if we move outside the city…"

"Yeah, I'm sorry, I didn't think about your job." He said vaguely. He felt Sarah's hand in his right one, which was sort of curled up on his fingers.

"Babe, don't you think we should try and make small changes? Sam said you should take it slow and with the baby coming…"

"You are right." He huffed. "I just thought..."

"I know you, and it's completely okay for you to want to make this new slate at life happen but, we already got one, you are here and the baby is coming before we even realize. We're okay right now. We don't need another big change, trust me." He smiled, tracing a cold finger on her lips before kissing her softly. "And now, will you let me buy you a hot dog? Or even just one for me? I'm hungry again." He laughed, relaxing as he pulled her up and linked their hands together.

Yeah, maybe she was right, maybe this was okay for now.


They returned to the apartment later, Sarah knew Connor was still reeling from that morning and she didn't really want to push him further, she needed him to believe he could get back to work on his own, even if it was gradually. They were cuddled on the couch having finally come back from the park, Sarah was beginning to feel a little tired so baby shopping would have to be postponed. "Connor?"

"Yeah?" He spoke as she had her head on his lap and he was tracing small circles on her arm.

"I'm hungry again." She spoke, almost shyly, looking at him with puppy dog eyes. He smiled.

"Any requests?" Connor perked up.

"Hmm… not really, just, I had a hotdog earlier and I don't think I should give into all cravings I might have."

"Of course, you can." He said kissing her cheek. "Cravings are completely normal, it's just means he's growing." Sarah felt him move behind her so she was alone on the couch while he went to the kitchen. "How does ice cream sound?"

"I'm going to end up looking like a cow." Sarah huffed.

"Sugar is good early in pregnancy, actually." He said, in his usual doctor tone. "And I'd love you no matter what." He had already brought over the ice cream and two spoons.

"You're spoiling me." She huffed as he sat beside her and she took a spoon from him. "I don't know how good that might end up being in the long term. I could get used to it."

"I like spoiling you, taking care of you." He said into her cheek. Sarah bit her lip and leaned in to kiss him. He brushed her cheek slightly.

"Did you talk to Will?" Sarah said taking a spoonful from the ice cream container. "How's Jamie holding up for the procedure."

"He's a good candidate. I actually asked Randall about it yesterday, he's got strings in paediatric cases and I told him Jamie has a history and he told me he was going to look into it. "

"That's great. Are you coming in with me to work tomorrow then?"

"Yeah, I want to be there before they take Jamie up." Connor replied taking a few spoonfuls of ice cream. "He could use someone in his corner."

"Good thing he has you, huh?" Sarah smiled. He didn't look at her but instead focused back on the movie they had been watching. Sarah winced all of the sudden, Connor's face turned to worry.

"He's moving again." Sarah said, taking his good hand after putting the ice cream container on the coffee table and placing it over her bump.

"I still can't believe we're having a baby…" Connor smirked. "You are going to be such an amazing Mom."

"No, I'm not. Have you met mine? I hardly had a good role model in Susan, I even asked her not to come yet, I'm not ready for her to disapprove of me having a child when I'm not even done with my residency."

"Ok, so if we're taking on role models then, Cornelius is hardly one either but Sarah, I never thought of myself as being the guy who wanted a family, I was so into my work and given my track record regarding relationships, I was terrified of getting myself into one again, but you changed all of that and now I have this chance to, I don't know, break the cycle and prove to myself that I can be someone's partner and… What I mean, is that I want it all Sarah, the dream, the baby, the picket fence."

She was now crying, damn hormones but her lips were on his before he could register what was happening. "I love you so much." She said against his lips. "Sorry, I'm a crying mess."

"No, you are my crying mess." He replied, brushing her cheek tenderly with his immobilized hand. "And I love you too Sarah Reese. I'm sorry you had to go through so much these last few months without me."

"I'd forgotten how good of a sweet talker you are." Sarah mused. "And just for the record, I was not alone, I had this little baby to remind me that you were still with me."

"Who's the sweet talker now Reese?" He retorted, leaning closer to her again and capturing her lips once more.

He made love to her again that night and as she laid there later, the emotions of the these last few days took hold of her once more, this honeymoon like weekend was almost over and soon she would have to go back and face whatever life was about to throw at them.

Chapter Text

Monday arrived and the routine seemed almost like it had been when Connor and Sarah had begun dating, they woke up, showered and got ready for work, it almost seemed normal, almost because Sarah's clothes had started to become scarce as they no longer fitted her, and she wished she could wear scrubs like Natalie had when she had been pregnant, and for Connor almost, because when he put on his watch and the immobilizer on his hand, she noticed his hesitancy. She watched him and her heart sank into her chest, the implication of what had happened and what it meant for him was becoming more real now that he was getting back to work, the idea of wanting to treat patients but not been able to completely couldn't be easy for him and it wasn't, Sarah knew, but she was still happy he was agreeing to work on Jamie's case with Will.

"Babe?" His voice jolted her, she hadn't realized she had been staring at him and he'd noticed.

"Sorry, I just had a deja vú sort of moment." She said.

"Yeah, tell me about it." He smiled, closing the space between them. "I'm still not sure why I'm even showing up at Med."

"For Jamie. Because you care." She told him. "And this is good, getting back into a routine, we can't stay locked up in the apartment forever, even though I wish we could." He wrapped his arms around her and pecked her lips.

"Right." Connor mused. "Let's get out of here before I change my mind."

She drove them to the hospital and Connor bought them both a coffee, decaf for her and his usual order. Yeah, it almost felt like old times. "Dr. Reese, Dr. Rhodes." Maggie greeted them with a smile. "Ah, Sarah, Dr. Charles was looking for you and Dr. Rhodes." She stopped them before Sarah turned to the lounge. "Dr. Halstead asked me to give you these."

Connor looked down to the freshly pressed scrubs. "Thanks Maggie."

"Don't mention it. Welcome back, we've missed having your pretty face down here." She winked before turning away and allowing them to go change. Sarah took a minute to put on a big sweater over her bump. She knew she'd have to accept Claire's invitation to go shopping for new maternity clothes soon.

"You look good in those." She beamed at Connor once she saw him back into the well-known scrubs, they weren't his surgical black ones but rather the ones that corresponded to the ED. "You've got this, okay? I'll see you later?"

"Buy you lunch?" He offered.

"Sounds perfect." Sarah beamed as her pager went off, she had to go and meet Daniel. "Have a good day, alright? I love you."

"I love you too." He said with a quick kiss as he watched her dash out the door. Natalie came in after her.

"Hey, I was just asking about you." She said with a smile. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I've just stepped back in time." Connor said. "But it's better than nothing, I guess."

Natalie offered him a kind smile. "I felt the same way after I came back to work after Owen. It will feel normal again, trust me."

Connor went up to meet Will at Jamie's room and found himself next to Dr. Morrison in the elevator. "Dr. Rhodes, they told me you'd be around today."

"Yeah, I'm just consulting on a patient with Will Halstead." Connor offered once the two men had greeted each other.

"Good, and the leg?" Morrison asked.

"Doesn't hurt as much, I guess PT is doing the trick."

"You still shouldn't be on your feet much if you can, for at least a few more weeks." Connor nodded and then left heading for Jamie's room. He was there with a girl, Will was nowhere in sight.

"Dr. Rhodes." Jamie smiled. He didn't look worse than he'd seen him on Friday morning so that was a good sign, but Connor knew time was running out. "This is Cleo, she's the girl I told you about."

The girl, was there beside Jamie, her smile was wide. "Dr. Rhodes, Jamie tells me you are quite the hero." Cleo greeted him. "Thank you for convincing this one to do the right thing."

"No problem." Connor smiled back. "That's what we're here for, even with our most stubborn patients."

Jamie rolled his eyes. Will then arrived to get him settled before he could reply. "Jamie, my man, are you ready for this?"

"As ready as I'll ever be." He sighed. Connor watched the young man and those exact same words echoed in his mind.

As ready as he'd ever be.


Sarah was heading to the cafeteria when she got a text from Connor, he was checking on some old charts as he had persuaded one of the med students into sneaking them out of the ward so he wasn't going to make it for lunch. She smiled at the thought of him slowly getting back to being the doctor he always had been, caring and dedicated no matter what. Even after almost a year of not being at Med.

She sat down at a table and soon April offered to sit with her, both women had grown closer in the last few months. The young nurse had been dealing with drama of her own with Ethan and Emily and Sarah had been there to listen.

"So, how's Connor?" April asked. "How did he find the first few days back at home?"

"Good, he's getting back to his old self. It's going to take him a little time but, I know he'll get there."

"Yeah, for sure." April said with a smile. "And you, how are you feeling?"

"About Connor being back? It's good, honestly I don't think I had felt this safe since before they arrested Robert after the accident."

"It will be okay Sarah, you two just need to try and get back to normal. Honestly? Sarah didn't know what normal was anymore.

Natalie arrived to join them for lunch, saying she didn't have much time but she'd seen Connor around with Will and he seemed to be doing fine. "Hard to believe he woke up just 3 weeks ago huh?" Natalie said. "Talk about bouncing back…"

"Yeah, well, it's been the fastest three weeks of my life and I'm starting to feel like I no longer have control about how the baby is growing either, he's kicking a lot too, it's a little overwhelming. I don't know how Connor does it."

"Well, that's normal." Natalie said reassuringly. "Feeling overwhelmed, sensing that the baby is growing and being more active. Trust me when I was pregnant, it was like he was having his own dance show..."

"The thing is, he moves even more when Connor is around, it's like he knows, that's his Dad, the guy I couldn't stop talking about." Sarah admitted, her voice breaking a little. "Sorry, I've turned into a corny mess."

"Sarah, that's beautiful, you shouldn't be ashamed to feel excited about it." Natalie chided. "Really, you should enjoy every bit of this."

"I do, I'm trying…" Sarah admitted.

"So, how are the hormones?" Natalie asked taking a bite of her sandwich. "Still haywire?" Sarah nodded.

"I mean we always enjoyed sex you know? But now it's like, he's around and I can't help it." She admitted, almost turning red. Sarah didn't have to be ashamed though, this were her friends, even more so in the past year. "And he doesn't complain either so I want to enjoy that too as much as I can before I get any bigger."

"Well there are still ways you can be intimate if you feel up to it." Natalie said with a smile.

April just looked at them. Sarah and Natalie looked at each other, they knew April was still having some problems with Ethan. They talked about Owen and the wedding and how Will had told Natalie that Claire had called him once more to make sure he was not backing down on the ranch, finally after much persuading. Sarah's phone then buzzed and she looked down at it, her face transforming instantly. "Everything okay?"

"Robert's trial is in a few weeks and they want me to testify." Sarah told her.

"Oh, and Connor?"

Sarah nodded. "I mean he was his doctor who also happened to save his life more than once, so Connor is living proof of just how sick my father is."

"Have you two talked about that much? About him I mean?" April asked, trying to hide the shivering it caused her to mention Haywood.

Sarah nodded again. "When he first woke up, I couldn't lie to him, you should have seen his face April, it was like all this weight was on him, the baby, my father and the idea of him being in a coma for three months and me being alone dealing with it all, but I knew he needed to get better first so I begged him to just not to dwell on it for my sake and the baby's, although you know Connor, he feels the need to fix things, even the ones that are beyond his control." April and Natalie stared at their friend as Sarah looked down at her phone when it had buzzed once more.

"What's wrong?" April asked worriedly.

"Looks like they are indicting Robert in New York too." Sarah said staring at her phone once more.

"Is that a good thing?" Natalie asked.

"Yeah, it means the sentence will be heavier, but it also means I'll have to go testify on trial there too."

"When?"

"Sooner than I had hoped." Sarah said trying to focus back on her food.

She somehow knew Connor had been reached out too and it worried her.


"Alright Jamie, we'll come and check on you soon." Will smiled at the boy and at Cleo who had barely left his side. He and Connor left the room and went in search of some coffee. "How are you doing?" He motioned to the leg.

"I'm fine Will." He said for the third time in the day, Connor knew he and Morrison had treated him so as his doctor, Halstead wouldn't back down.

"So, did you talk to Randall?"

"Yeah," Connor sighed as Will motioned to the chair beside him. "He says I still have a job."

"That's great." Will bit his tongue at the look on Connor's face. "Right?"

"He's doing it because he doesn't want any bad press or a lawsuit. I grew up around people like Steven Randall. It's a business move to him more than anything. Back then I was good press. Now I'm just malpractice waiting to happen."

"Sounds like another Gwen Garrett." Halstead mused. "Have you talked to Reese?"

"About what to do next? No. I don't want her stressing more than she should."

Connor glanced down at his phone as it chimed repeatedly. To his disappointment, it wasn't Sarah but her lawyer.

"She's Sarah, she'll worry no matter what." WIll said to him, making Connor look up and shove the phone into his pocket.

"Still, I'm going to talk to Ms. Goodwin, see if I can maybe stick around for a while? Keep an eye on my old patients and be around the ED."

"Sounds good to me." Will agreed. "It's good to have you back man and if you need a good word, just let me know."

"Thanks." Connor smiled at the redhead honestly. "For everything, really."

"Well you Rhodes tend to grow on people." WIll said. "Unbelievably."

"Ah, Claire finally got to you huh?"

"Can you say persistent? That's your sister for sure." He laughed.

Connor was in the lounge after Sarah texted him. She was tired and had asked to leave work early, claiming her feet were killing her which was only half of the truth.

She had to talk to him about Robert. Connor knew they couldn't postpone that any longer specially after he'd gotten a call from Jay.


As soon as they got home, Connor ordered in while Sarah took a quick shower. She'd come out to the living room ina pair of sweatpants and an old shirt of Connor's. Her hair was a curly mess but to him she looked adorable as he came in with the food in hand. "How's Jamie doing?"

"Good, Ecmo seems to be working." Connor said. "I've also contacted UNOS for an update and they are hopeful."

"You know it's great what you and Will are doing for Jamie." Sarah said. "Dr. Charles told me he's trying to get a hold of his parents but haven't heard back."

Connor sighed, grabbing one of the containers and handing it to her. "I don't think Jamie wants them around, I mean, he's been on his own since he was 17…"

"They are still his parents Connor, and they need to know, Jamie might die."

"Not if we find him a transplant."

"How long can he live on Ecmo?"

"We are making an estimate of 15 days but both me and Will are moving all the influences we can to make sure it's less than that." Connor said, Sarah could hear the tone of his voice, the usual fierceness sneaking out. "We're not ready to give up."

"Jamie is very lucky to have you two fight for him." Sarah told him.

"Well someone has to." Connor said. "What?" He said once he'd noticed her staring at him from her side of the couch.

"Our baby is going to be so lucky to have someone care so much for him too, I know I am." Sarah said, her emotions high on alert.

"Are you kidding? He's going to have you as his Mom. What's better?" He retorted back. "So, what letter were we on?" Connor asked, trying to light up the mood after he had leaned into kiss her to keep her from arguing on her maternal skills which she fiercely still denied.

"I think it was L." Sarah said. Connor then moved closer to her once they had finished eating. "Liam?"

"Lucas?"

"Luke for short." Sarah said. "I like that one."

"Me too."

"So, it goes on the list?"

"It goes on the list." Connor smirked as he watched her type it into her phone. "So, I have something for you." He said standing up and grabbing his backpack from the chair in the kitchen. "I had a little talk with Ms. Goodwin today and…" He took out a set of purple scrubs. "We figured this would be better to wear in the upcoming months. Dr. Charles also agreed."

"What did you do?" She mused.

"Well Nat and I thought it would be a good idea."

"You're both sweet, thank you." She sighed kissing his cheek and, leaning back into the couch, Connor's hand moved to hers. He hadn't seen her this uncomfortable before and he wished he could help her.

"You are very welcome, how about we go to bed, huh?"

"I'm sorry, am I falling asleep on you?"

"No, you just look tired." He commented sweetly. Sarah smiled.

"Yeah, he was a little restless this morning and I of course had to pee a hundred times." Sarah said, her hand over her bump. "How did you find your post ops?"

"They're in good hands with Morrison apparently, and Dr. Latham seems to think so too." Connor said. "He asked me about you."

"Dr. Latham? Well he went in to visit you a lot. I'm guessing to pray, he did sit with me a few times. He was worried about you."

"You could tell?" Connor asked, he knew it wasn't easy for the man to make social connections so he found it surprising that he would somehow react to Sarah's situation.

"Of course, there's a reason he became a doctor, in spite of him being on the spectrum, my guess is he somehow craves that human connection." Sarah put in.

"That is very insightful Dr. Reese." Connor said leaning closer to her and capturing her lips in a kiss. "I'm glad you weren't alone dealing with all of it. I wish I could have been there when you found out though." Just as on cue, the baby moved and Sarah cringed a little.

"Ah, he's not playing nice today, I need to go pee again." Connor helped her up so she could go to the bathroom as he cleaned up their leftovers.

He came back into the room as she was getting ready for bed. Connor watched for a minute. He was still amazed by the fact that the woman in front of him was the mother of his child, the one person he never imagined he would fall for, Sarah was far from his type but she had been the most amazing surprise of them all, alongside with their now growing son. He came in behind her, resting his head on her shoulder and kissing the side of her neck, Sarah let out what sounded like a gasp. "Here, let me." he offered, taking the small bottle of cream she was meant to be applying on her bump daily, Sarah compiled and watched as he faced her, slowly lifting the hoodie she used for bed and with hesitant hands, his right one still a bit stiff but without the immobilizer, moved slowly. When he was done, he pulled it down, looking up at her as he did and then moved to kiss her softly on the lips.

Sarah's senses spiked up once more as they engaged in a tongue battle, she knew she had to end it soon though because she had to talk to him. They were settled now in bed, the TV practically background noise when Connor spoke first. "I'm quitting Mayo."

Sarah looked over at him. "I know it's not what Randall expects I do, but it's what feels right to me. I mean the team said I'd still get credit for the project, so that's fine, it wasn't completely mine but I'm glad they are not entirely overlooking what I did, but I feel like that's not my place anymore you know?"

"Are you sure?" Sarah asked.

"Yeah, Ms. Goodwin said I could have privileges while we're working on Jamie and who knows? I might try and get back into the ED. It's not surgery but it's still what I love, plus I'll be around if you need me." He said kissing her forehead from his spot as Sarah was cradled into his chest.

"Okay, if you are sure..."

"I am." Connor said. Sarah could listen to a hint of sadness in his voice but she decided against saying anything else. "And you? How's Stephanie doing?"

"Ready to take over once I give birth, I'll have my residency half done but I do want to take some time off."

"I've been thinking…" Connor said. "How about we go somewhere, just the two of us before the baby comes and you are allowed to fly." Sarah arched an eyebrow up. "My birthday is coming up so, how does Hawaii sound?"

"Hawaii?"

"Yeah, I went to this great place a few years ago, after Dr. Downey died and I remember being there with my Mom when I was a kid too, It's a special place for me and I want to share it with you."

"Connor?"

"Hmmm…"

"You got a text about Robert too, didn't you?"

"Yeah and Jay called me." Connor said. "I can't believe we are not able to put that behind us yet."

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"He is my father."

"And what happened wasn't your fault." He said firmly. "You have nothing to be sorry for." Sarah sighed, tears were about to fill her eyes but she felt the baby kick and she focused back on Connor as he pulled her closer. "Sarah, please say it, tell me you don't really believe what happened was your fault."

"He hurt us because of me." There, it was finally out. "Because I wouldn't do what he said, because I wasn't the vulnerable daughter, he thought I would turn out to be." She said, pulling away from him. Connor looked at her. "You almost died because of me."

"Listen to me." Connor said, he had known pushed himself into a sitting position. "He had every intention to lure you, that's true, but he didn't think we'd be as close as we were, he didn't think we cared so much about each other. He didn't understand it because he had never been able to feel that himself, you said it yourself, he was unable to process any emotion that resembled love and we did, that's why he was so pissed, he wanted to be in control but we didn't let him Sarah, we were stronger than him." He reached for her hand. "And what happened wasn't your fault." He added in. "God, Sarah I wish I could make this whole last year disappear, make you forget what happened."

Sarah stared at him. "I wish that too." Connor pulled her back into him again as she crashed her lips into his. "I love you so much…"

"I love you too." He spoke into her lips. They eventually broke apart for air and held on each other. She fell asleep before he did so he just kept looking at her for a little while longer, wishing he could fix it and take all her pain away.

He didn't know how, but he'd be damned if he wasn't going to try.