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Riansh OS – Hold On (Songfic)

Backdrop : Not related to the show.

Song : Hold On by Chord Overstreet

Summary: Riddhima lost their child. After the realisation of this, she fades deeply into depression. Vansh does not know what to do; he is scared like he has never been before. Carrying his and hers’ burden, Vansh decides he needs to reach out to her. But is it too late? Can love always save somebody from the darkness of their mind?

WARNING: SENSITIVE TOPIC AND TRIGGER WARNINGS. PLEASE READ ONLY IF YOU ARE OF THE AGE.

He is running. Vansh is running home, as quickly as he can. Terrified. Terrified to the core of his being.

And praying. Praying she’ll be alive when he comes home.

His body is shaking, his lips are trembling as coldness crawls up his spine. Not of winter air, but of fear. Fear which leaves him feeling shattered, hopeless. Which creates a new brokenness in his life, as if there aren’t too many already.

With shaky fingers he pulls out his phone and chooses a contact he has got used to calling a lot recently. It’s Riddhima’s mother.

“Hello, dear”, a warm voice says after the third ring.

“How is she?” Vansh spats out, but adds seconds later: “I’m sorry, Mom, I am… I am worried about her. Did she eat? Did she say something?”

He can hear a sigh on the other line. It answers everything.

“She ate a bit of the lunch I served her. But not much. As for speaking, well… she said just one thing.”

“What was it?”

Another sigh from her mother. Vansh was growing impatient of feeling this fear of the unknown. Does he even want to know? Does he even want to hear it, if it’s going to sound terrifying, if it’s going to rip his soul out? Does he want to know?

“She asked me to tell you that she loves you.”

Vansh stops in place. He knows what this means. What this could mean.

Loving and fighting 

Accusing, denying

I can’t imagine a world with you gone 

The joy and the chaos, the demons we’re made of 

I’d be so lost if you left me alone 

Vansh had been looking for signs of contemplated suicide everywhere.

The refusal to eat or to speak or to take a shower. Neglection of care for oneself. Outbursts of crying. Sitting in one place and not moving for a whole day. Blank stare. Numbness. Disinterest in everyday life. Depression.

It’s all been here for months now. Since…

Vansh closes his eyes, trying to push the pain away. The pain of the memory.

Since she lost their baby.

After the first shock had worn off, and after she had reassured him of not being a bad father, Vansh devoted himself completely to Riddhima and their unborn child. He took care of any sign of inconvenience and ceased the pain from time to time. He’d been thinking about the fact of his child suffering like he did in the hands of the world, and voicing his worries and doubts out loud, only for her to throw them away and swear she’ll be fine as long as she has him by her side.

What was troubling Vansh even more was the fact she felt more pain than it was expected. He knew she had the same poisonous thoughts in her mind, yet she had never voiced them. Vansh had various nightmares about what could go wrong in the process of bearing a child, and was never completely still at night, constantly checking on Riddhima’s breathing and occasional whimpers.

But that night, that unfortunate night, fate wanted him to fall asleep deeply.

Vanshi opens his eyes, his vision overshadowed with tears. He’s still standing at the same place, not able to move his tired limbs.

He’s tired of trying not to remember. He’s tired of carrying his guilt as much as hers too. He just wants them to be happy again. Together in pain. Reaching out to each other so they can heal one another, soothe one another.

He doesn’t want to be cut away. He doesn’t want her to cut herself away from him anymore.

Vansh leans against a wall. Gasping for breath, he tries to stop the tears from falling, those wet raindrops that taste of memories he wants to forget. But Vansh is not good at hiding from his inner demons, shadows of what he wishes for and what he craves. So, as he closes his eyes once again, the memory comes back.

Screaming woke him up. Antagonizing, soul-ripping scream followed by choking sobs. It was her.

Vansh got up quickly. But as he rushed to the bathroom, he found the door locked.

“Riddhima! Love, open them, please!” Vansh yelled, banging at the door with rapid frustration and fear. Anxiety was building up in him with any moment she let out another scream. Panic rose in him. And then… silence.

Which was much worse. Vansh pushed hard against the door and… noticed red. A lot of red. Blood which belonged in Riddhima’s body; not on the chilling cold floor. He rushed to her side.

You locked yourself in the bathroom 

Laying on the floor as I break through 

I pull you in to feel your heartbeat 

Can you hear me screaming 

‘Please, don’t leave me’

When she opened her eyes, he was there. Awake. Staring at one dot he was the only one to see. His back leaned against the chair; he was tense, she could tell. His arms weren’t crossed as they usually would have been; Vansh made a habit of crossing them.

That’s how she knew something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. And she knew what it was.

When the doctor came in, she had already put a hand over her stomach. She knew one life was utterly gone, emptied out of her body that was supposed to bring care and safety to another living being. Her son or daughter was gone.

Vansh straightened himself and took one of Riddhima’s hands, glancing at where the other one was resting. Be strong, he thought. For her.

Be brave, she thought. For him.

Doctor explained how the operation went. Riddhima had lost so much blood they believed she wouldn’t make it out alive. But she survived, and that was a miracle worth celebrating. Riddhima felt Vansh’s fingers strengthening around her palm. Don’t push it, Doc.

Riddhima stayed in the hospital for a few days. Vansh was still there.

“It shouldn’t have happened”, she said one morning, voice hoarse. Vansh was helping her with dressing up. He looked at her for a short time, like he was supposed to say something; but then he only nodded, swallowing the words he needed to say, and kept on helping her. No words were shared between them later.

He was speechless for days. He didn’t say anything to her; the only people he spoke to were the doctors and her mother.

Vansh’s refusal to talk let her believe that she was the one Vansh found guilty for this. Honestly, she really felt that way. Like she let him down.

For once in his life, Vansh was feeling happy about something. Yes, he carried a lot of doubts at the beginning, but was silenced when he first felt the presence of his child. From that day on, he was happy. Vansh was happy. And it meant something. It was proof of something good, something pure.

Now their child is gone. So was he.

The realisation overwhelmed her, broke her down devastatingly; that the reason for Vansh’s happiness was destroyed, his dreams of family turned into ash and dust, and she was the one guilty. She kept feeding on pity and newly formed self-hatred, believing Vansh would be finally at peace once he’s freed of her.

At the same time, not knowing Riddhima’s torments, Vansh kept on blaming himself. He cursed himself over and over, internally yelling at his own stupidity and recklessness of putting the love of his life in such danger.

“How dare you!” he yelled at his reflection in the hospital bathroom’s mirror. “She could have died too! You could have lost her too! You bastard! HOW DARE YOU?!”

He punched and the glass split itself on the floor. The loss of the child struck him. The possibility of losing Riddhima even more. He felt lost.

Vansh knew she would resent him. Maybe even hate him. Maybe he will lose her in the end. The change in Riddhima’s behaviour made him realize he was right. At least, he thought she was right in despising him.

Both of them fought their own inner battles, blaming themselves, that they slowly withdrew from each other. And it scared Vansh. It left him out of breath.

Hold on, I still want you

Come back, I still need you

Let me take your hand, I’ll make it right 

I swear to love you all my life

Hold on, I still need you 

He’s still leaning against the wall, but his tears are dried now. Vansh’s breathing rapidly, out of breath, out of tears. He unbuttons his shirt and focuses on breathing more steadily.

How long has he been standing like this? How long has he left her alone?

He checks the phone. It’s 9 pm. Gods, he thinks, cursing himself. I’m late. I’m always too late.

He looks up. The streets are full of people, but not of only one person he needs, he wants, he loves.

Recovering from the sudden outburst of grief and sadness, he prepares for a run. As he starts rushing towards their home, with memories catching up in his mind, the only thing he can think of is: I’ll make it right. I’ll fix it for us.

When they left the hospital a few mornings later, the silence had already risen between them. Vansh was holding her by shoulders as they walked to the car. He felt her limpness. She felt his tension.

As he put her inside the car, he let out a sigh and walked over to the driver’s seat. Making himself comfortable, he glanced at her, but she was staring outside. He didn’t say a thing.

They were driving in silence. Vansh kept on regularly checking on her, searching for any sign of pain or discomfort on her face. But it was plain, looking indifferent, emotionless. Any pain she had been feeling was in her mind, in her heart, and he had no access to it.

He wanted to say something; he wanted to break this odd distance that settled between them. But if he tried… would it hurt her more? If he tried to say something, and she understands it differently?

No, he couldn’t risk it. Not like that. Not when she was in this state.

And so he remained silent, shushing his demons while hers roared.

A long endless highway, you’re silent beside me 

Drivin’ a nightmare I can’t escape from 

Helplessly praying, the light isn’t fading 

Hiding in the shock and the chills in my bones 

The night she was taken to hospital is the worst night he’s ever experienced. The blanket he covered her with was soaked with grimson in a matter of seconds. As he brought her to hospital barely breathing, half alive, the doctors took her away from his arms and fled to the operating room. The child needed to be taken out of Riddhima’s body, as quickly as possible. She was close to dying, and could’ve been helped to, but the child was… dead.

Vansh didn’t need to ask, nor did the doctors bother to tell of the child’s fate. He will never meet his son. He will never meet his daughter. He will never, he will never.

Minutes and minutes went by, and Vansh wandered through the waiting room restlessly. He was afraid of calling Riddhima’s mother. What could he tell her? That he’s guilty she’ll never meet her grandchild; that he will be guilty if her daughter dies? He didn’t call her. He didn’t have the guts to do it. He didn’t have any courage left.

But as if she felt something – something dangerous – she called. Vansh’s hand anxiously twitched when he saw the phone number, but he answered.

Her mother received the news stoically; she didn’t panic, she didn’t yell slurs at Vansh. Actually, he was the one who needed reassurement, and for that Riddhima’s mother was just perfect.

Vansh told her the baby was gone. “Due to the loss of a lot of the blood…”, he tried to explain. “I’m sorry”, he stated later, repeating it numerous ways.

Her mother just replied “It’s okay”, and kept saying it over and over, even when she came to the hospital; she held Vansh in a tight embrace, saying she didn’t hold him responsible for what had happened, to Vansh’s disbelief.

They waited there together, united in worry and prayers and holding each other by hand; even in the moment like that Vansh could feel the sense of a family he’s looked for his whole life, and held onto that realisation so he could find some bravery and strength for what will happen after that night.

And when the doctors came out, saying Riddhima’s fine and will survive, Vansh still kept the positivity of that family feeling. He still carried it within himself while he was sitting by her side, watching her unconscious and pale figure laying on the hospital bed. Her mother talked to her daughter, smiling softly and kissing her forehead, muttering “Everything will be alright” in her hair.

Vansh took Riddhima’s hand in his and kissed it. His lips stayed on her skin, his eyes closed and a fear building up in his lungs.

They took you away on the table 

I pace back and forth as you lay still 

I pull you in to feel your heartbeat 

Can you hear me screaming 

‘Please don’t leave me’

*************************************************************************************************************************

Vansh opens the apartment door quietly. Her mother’s greeting him as he wanders to the kitchen.

“I’m sorry for being this late”, he apologizes and gives her a hug. She waves her head and smiles.

“It’s no problem, dear”, she says warmly. “She’s in your bedroom.”

Vansh nods and goes out of the kitchen. As he’s approaching the room closer and closer, he knows not what to say. Or, actually, he does know what, but not how.

He knocks on the door, although he knows she won’t answer. So he comes in.

She’s sitting by the window, looking out. He sits across her and glances at the sky, before saying softly: “The stars are beautiful tonight.”

Nothing. She says nothing.

He sighs and decides to go for a physical contact, leaning closer to her and hugging her. At this she seems to react; by pushing him away so hard he falls backwards. He’s surprised, she can tell. But what did he expect? Why is he not running away?

“Riddhima…”, he gasps, eyes wide open.

He tries to reach her once more, but she backs away in the corner swiftly. Her eyes are tightened. Vansh kneels in front of her. His cold hand brushes hers, equally cold.

“Love, I beg of you…”, he leans forward, pressing his forehead on hers. “Let me in, love. Let me.”

His voice, once so stubborn, so demanding, is now covered with plea and utter sadness. She knows she’s doing him injustice.

But she’s too ashamed. Too unworthy of his love.

But she can’t let him go. He needs to want to go.

“Please, just leave. Please, just leave me.”

Her voice is hoarse, thin and sobbing. She dares not open her eyes, knowing he’s staring at her; but he keeps nudging her nose with his, and when she finally hears him sob loudly, she opens them. Vansh’s beautiful eyes staring at her, crying for her. Crying because of her.

She puts her hands on each side of his face, careful while she does it. She hasn’t touched him in months.

But as her fingers land on his cheeks, wiping away the rolling tears, his skin becomes familiar again. One arm of hers wanders to his hair, gently massaging a handful of his raven locks.

She forgot him. She let herself forget him.

“Don’t cry”, she cries out.

“You’re giving me no choice”, he sniffs.

She looked away, too embarrassed, too saddened. She can’t stand the sight of him being this broken.

How could she let this happen to him? To them?

“You can do it, Vansh. I won’t be angry. You have the right to do it.”

Vansh blinks in confusion. “Do what, love?”

“You can always give me up if you want.”

“No. Not you”, he replies harshly. “Never you.”

Riddhima looks up at him; there’s a hint of… what? Hope? Love? How could he love her after all?

“I love you. You know that. And I’d never give up on you. You also know that”, he says.

“How can you still love me after all?” she asks.

But he doesn’t answer; he kisses her deeply and lets his lips say it all.

Hold on, I still want you

Come back, I still need you 

Let me take your hand, I’ll make it right

I swear to love you whole my life 

Hold on, I still need you 

“I love you. And even at your worst, I still love you” he says after breaking the kiss.

“Vansh…”

He waves his head. “No, I’m not leaving you. Why would I?”

“Because… our child died. Died because of me”, she says.

He waves his head once again.

“You should blame me. You have to blame me”, she says, urging him to accept her twisted truth so it could be easier for her when he leaves. If he leaves.

“I’m not blaming you. I didn’t blame you at once”, he speaks abruptly, when he notices a familiar look in her eyes. “I’ve blamed myself. For so long, I’ve blamed myself that I haven’t noticed you needed me here. To support you, to stand by you and to soothe you.”

Finally, he confessed. As he stares her in the eyes, he knows he’s relieved of the burden that was crushing him for months. And he knows he can help her to be who she was back then.

Vansh cups both of her hands in his fists, slightly tightening them, and speaks:

“I will help you. I will carry your burden the same as I did mine, and I will help you with mental recovery.”

He kisses her softly.

“I will be here.”

He kisses again, and this one lasts. Until he tastes the salt on his lips. She’s crying.

“I’m afraid I’m not enough for you”, she says in his mouth. He says “No”, he says she is the one he loves, he says he’ll always stay no matter what happens.

He’s honest with her. He reached out to her when she didn’t. She wanted to, but didn’t know how he felt. About this. About them. About the child they won’t raise.

She should be honest with him too. Even if it pained him, it’d be better if he knew what has been on her mind for months. How she planned to leave him, soon.

“I’ve considered suicide.”

He nods. “I know.”

“I’ve considered leaving you, Vansh. Alone.”

He looks sad. “I know.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I know.”

They look at each other. Can they step over this? Can they be themselves again?

Vansh takes her hand in his, drawing circles on her palm. He’s fighting back tears.

Can they forgive? Can they love the ugly side?

She looks at his fingers tracing over hers. His touch. So familiar. So painfully familiar.

She covers his hand with hers, giving it a slight shake. And he knows. He knows she’s decided to stay, to fight again. She’s decided to leave the house of ruins, of the past. She’s decided not to leave him alone.

I don’t wanna let go 

I know I’m not that strong 

I just wanna hear you saying 

‘Baby, let’s go home’ 

Let’s go home 

I just wanna take you home 

“Around all the darkness in my world, you’ve always been the light”, Vansh says silently.

“And now you’re going to be my light”, she finishes.

Vansh smiles and nods. “Yes, I will be.”

Riddhima smiles too and spreads her arms open.

“Come.”

She embraces him. She lets him in.

And he embraces her, knowing they can endure it together.

Hold on, I still want you 

Come back, I still need you

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