Meredith's Fan Fiction Home Page
Title: Fears Of A Father
Rating: FRT - Fan Rated Suitable For Teens
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters in Without A Trace. CBS & others do.
Author’s Note: Another group I’m on offered a “Father’s Day Challenge”. That got me thinking about Victor & Martin as well. That’s where this fic is coming from
Feedback to: MMW
Fears Of A Father
Victor Fitzgerald stood in the hall, hidden from the view of the five people gathered around the table. He felt a wave of pride wash over him as he watched his son interact with this team. Though he didn’t know what was going on, the respect he saw on the faces of Martin’s co-workers revealed their trust in Victor’s son. A son any man would be proud of.
Regret pierced his heart. He hadn’t been there as much as he would have liked for Martin and that failure had created a rift between the two Victor wasn’t sure could ever be overcome. He wondered what Martin and everyone else would say if they knew just how much of a coward the terrifying Victor Fitzgerald really was.
With a sigh, he moved away from the offices and headed toward the elevators, sure his son wouldn’t appreciate a quick stop by to say hello. It hurt that his own son would so easily shut him out, yet such censure was little more than what he deserved.
Riding in the elevator, he allowed his mind to play back through the years to the day of Martin’s birth.
The smells of giving birth overrode the antiseptic smell that he so frequently associated with hospitals. He had called in a few favors to be available for the birth of his son, but he wanted to be there for his wife, for his family. Recalling the excitement they felt all throughout the pregnancy, Victor found it difficult to wait through his wife’s labor. So anxious was he to see his new child, he didn’t notice how he shifted from foot to foot while his hand continued to be held in a death grip.
Finally he saw the small baby. His world stopped, turned upside down, inside out, and took on entirely new dimensions. “My son,” he had whispered, awed by the miracle being handed to him.
Taking the small, squirming form, he felt overwhelmed with emotion. Looking into his wife’s eyes, he brought the boy closer. Unwilling to give up such a precious gift, he had to be encouraged repeatedly to hand the child to its mother. Reluctantly relinquishing the boy, he maintained contact, running his finger over the perfect little face, letting that same finger be caught in the tiny fist. His son.
Victor stepped out of the elevator, his mind returning to the present. Nodding to several people, he made his way down to the garage where his car and driver were waiting to take him to the airport.
Making his way through the concrete maze, he located the car, greeted the driver and slid into the back seat. Retrieving some files from his briefcase, he opened them and tried to focus his attention on them.
He had been successful in focusing on work until the storm sprang up. Rain pounded down on the roof of the car, thunder rolled across the sky, lighting illuminated the nightmare of clouds in small pictures designed to make the nightmare worse.
Victor’s mind wandered back in time once more.
The first month of Martin’s life had been a joy for the young couple. Victor kept shifting things at work around so he could spend time with his new family. Dismissing his wife’s complaints about how tending to Martin during the night would affect his job performance, Victor plunged into the role of father with all of the brilliance and determination that he used to blaze a trail of success few could imagine or equal.
Waking at about 2:30, to the sound of a dissatisfied Martin, he smiled as he rolled his exhausted body out of bed. His son needed him.
Wandering into the nursery they had taken such care in decorating, he walked over to see what had disturbed his son. Reaching into the crib for the small boy, he frowned as he lifted Martin up. His son was far too hot.
Cradling the boy in one arm, he placed his free hand on his son’s head. Martin was definitely far warmer than he should be. Could he have a fever? He hadn’t had one earlier. How serious was it? Did they have a thermometer? What was his temperature supposed to be?
The cool head and iron control for which he was known, which had served him so well in his career, were no where to be seen as Victor Fitzgerald, first time father, felt the ground beneath his world shift at the thought of his son in distress.
Victor's attention shifted once more to focus his present circumstances long enough to exit the car, thank his driver and head toward the plane that would bring him back to Washington.
Though his body moved through the motions and he responded to all the questions, his mind still reviewed the scenes from the past.
Victor felt an overwhelming horror when the doctor told them Martin's illness could be life threatening.
Fear such as he had never known surged through the body of the young father, leaving him unable to move, unable to comprehend the truth of the Doctor's words. Yet, some part of him knew the truth for it pierced him to the very core of his being. He could lose his son.
The thought that something could happen to his son... That his son might not always be there for him devastated and terrified Victor Fitzgerald. Not used to dealing with fear of any sort, he had done the only thing he could, he ran from it. He had focused all his attention on his work, pulling away when his wife and child needed him the most.
Walking onto the plane, he took his seat in the isle and focused on nothing in particular. He allowed his mind to roam through the past.
Eventually, Victor had allowed himself to be drawn back to the only true loves of his life, his wife and son.
He looked up at his tottering two-year-old son and smiled. Pushing the files he'd been working on to the side, he stood and followed the small, laughing boy to find out what sort of mischief the child would be getting into.
Finding his son wandering into the family room, he marveled as the small form made a beeline to the block box and started pulling them out to build. Approaching his son, Victor's heart soared as young Martin asked, "Daddy play?"
Knowing he never would, never could feel anything so glorious, the fearsome Victor Fitzgerald sat on the floor and spent the afternoon building things with his son.
"Something to drink, sir?" the attendant asked.
"No thank you," Victor replied, taken from his fond remembering.
Just as he was about to settle back into his peaceful revelry, the plane hit turbulence and jolted.
Turbulence. Victor had never gotten a handle on the turbulence of his relationship with Martin. He had never been able to figure out how to work through his fears.
Victor stood by the back door watching his five-year-old son play in the back yard with the dog. Tension projected from the man as he ignored his wife's glare. He had made the decision. A combination of events made it impossible for there to be any other outcome. The threats against him and his family, the ease with which his partner's daughter had been taken, the threat of the same thing happening to Martin…
No, it was best the boy go away to a private school. Someplace remote, someplace secure, someplace where he could be watched and taken care of without the threat of his father's life.
If anything ever happened to Martin...
A shudder ran over his body at the thought of that monster or one like him ever laying a finger on his son. No, the only thing to do, the only thing he could do was get Martin away from him; let everyone think the boy meant nothing to him; let everyone think that parting from his son didn't rip his soul out.
"The decision's made," he reiterated. "He's going."
Victor sighed as the plane's flight smoothed out once more. The threat had passed, but the separation had started. Victor did his best to always be there for his son, to let him know how proud he was of what Martin had accomplished, but it wasn't the same. The loss of time... five years. Five years he'd lived the lie that his son meant nothing to him so that he'd be safe. Five years of losing more of himself. Five years of torment. Five years... Five years of running from the love that would have been his salvation.
He signaled the attendant and asked for coffee.
There had been a time during Martin's pre-teen and early teen years they had begun to once more build a bridge. For a few short years Victor had been able to express and share the love he had for Martin. For a few short years...
"Mr. Fitzgerald?" the voice asked.
"Yes," he replied. "This is Victor Fitzgerald."
"Mr. Fitzgerald, this is Nurse Scopes at the hospital. You son was brought in earlier. He's been in an accident. We need either you or your wife to come down and sign a release so we can perform surgery..."
He hadn't heard another word. Grabbing his keys he raced from the building and made it to the hospital in record time, terror giving him the added speed necessary.
Finding his way to the emergency room, he demanded to know what happened.
The nurse reported that Martin and a friend had been driving in a car when another driver swerved to miss a deer, colliding head-on with the car the two boys had been driving. Martin's friend had been killed instantly. Martin suffered from a head laceration, severely broken femur, at least two broken ribs and other contusions. They needed Victor's permission to perform surgery to set the broken femur.
A shroud of dark fear fell upon Victor Fitzgerald that day as he found himself once more confronted with the reality of his son's mortality. He couldn't lose his son. Martin owned most of Victor’s heart and soul. Victor knew he would never be able to function, never be able to continue if anything should happen to his son.
Giving in to his purely selfish desire for self-preservation, Victor Fitzgerald once more withdrew from his son, only this time, his son was old enough to fully feel that pulling away. This time his son felt it and couldn't understand it, couldn't get his father to explain it. This time there would be no return to the warmth and understanding between father and son, but Victor couldn't ever allow that much of himself to be controlled by another. He could never allow himself to lose so much of himself.
He threw the now empty coffee cup into the bag the attendant offered for trash.
He'd been a fool. Victor Fitzgerald, one of the shrewdest men in Washington, had been a fool.
He'd let his fear take the only things in the world that ever really mattered to him and now he had no idea how to get his son back.
"This is your Captain speaking," a voice announced. "We will be landing shortly. Please make sure all seatbacks and tray tables are in their upright and locked position."
Victor allowed another sigh to escape. People wondered how he could be as aggressive and ruthless as he was, how he could so fearlessly take the chances he did. How could he explain that it was easy to risk everything? He had nothing to lose. He had already lost everything.