Work Header

so stop time right here in the moonlight

Work Text:

Kirby stroked the pearl photo frame on the fireplace mantel, picking it up as she cradled her phone between her ear and her shoulder. It was her favorite photo, a black and white candid shot of her and Fallon with their beautiful newborn, taken 25 years ago at the Carrington wing of Atlanta General. 


Born one week early (Fallon told Kirby she was so proud of her, finally being early for something), 18 inches, and 4 pounds 3 ounces. Kirby announces it to the world on instagram via InstaStory with the simple caption “I spawned this.” 


Fallon rolled her eyes and made her own post announcing the birth more ‘properly’, ignoring all the while Kirby’s complaints that there’s no reason for Fallon’s millions of followers to need to know their daughter’s height and weight. Fallon rolled her eyes again and pointed out that she wasn’t sharing her height and weight, she was sharing the abridged version of the story behind her name. 


“Kirby and I have been married several years now, and we’ve been through quite some dark times, some of you may know about this if you’ve been following us for a while. We worked hard at rebuilding after the dark times, and found happiness and peace. Once we felt ready, once our lives were steady and calm, we decided to welcome a daughter into the world. Please meet Brayleigh Anders-Carrington. Brayleigh, meaning ‘a ray of hope’ or ‘a bright star on a cloudy day’.”


“Mom! Are you still listening to me? Can I come over tonight or not?” 


“Bray, it’s your house too, even if you’re ‘a big kid’ now and all moved out.” Kirby laughed easily, returning the photo frame to the mantel and rolling her shoulder as she grabbed the phone back into her hand. “You can come over whenever you want, you know that, love. What do you want for dinner?” 


“Mommy’s pasta, please, if she can?” 


“Of course she can, she’ll have fun gloating over me all day that you prefer her food over mine. What’s got you so wound up, Bray?”  


“Thank you! Nothing, nothing, I just want to talk to you both.” 


“Okay, sure. Anything you want to warn me about first?” Kirby stared out of the living room’s large bay window at her wife, on her knees in the grass playing with their dogs. She bit her lip, worried at Brayleigh’s anxious tone, but not wanting to push her away or ask if she’d gotten herself in trouble again, it had been a few years since Bray had outgrown the rebel fun she’d enjoyed her first year at college, anyway. 


“Nothing, mom, I promise! It’s something good, but I’m only going to tell you about it in person.” Bray laughed easily, kissing her goodbye before hanging up. 


Kirby looked out the window again, Fallon was laying on her back in the grass with the dogs snuggled up on her. Giving her wife a few more moments of precious peace before making her cook, she straightened a few of the photos along the rest of the mantel, stopping on the last one. A bright burst of color, Brayleigh’s arms wrapped tightly around her girlfriend, who was beaming up at her. (Fallon had always been grateful that Brayleigh had gotten Kirby’s height.) 


Her smile grew slowly, as she put two and two together, and she skipped out to the garden to find her wife. 


“Aren’t you a little old to be skipping around like that?” 


Kirby stuck her tongue out, and plopped herself down into the grass beside her wife. “I think Bray’s going to propose to Georgia. And she wants your stupid signature cacio & pepe again. Also, she’s coming over for dinner.” 


“Oh???” Fallon sat up, making sure the dog laying on her didn’t fall off, and looked at Kirby, rolling her eyes as her wife laid down instead of meeting her eyes. 


Fallon laid back, propping herself up with one hand as Kirby crossed her legs neatly and squinted up at the sunny sky. 


“She said she wanted to talk, but only wanted to do it in person, and that’s not in trouble.” 


Humming, Fallon stood up and held a hand out to Kirby to help her up. 


“But I just sat down!“


“But we have pasta to make!” Fallon replied, mocking her wife’s whining tone. 


“Oh yeah, still can’t believe she likes that more than my food, I am a literal chef, you know.” 


Fallon laughed, not bothering to reply, and washed her hands, digging out the spaghetti box and all the ingredients they’d need. “It’s about time.”

“What, her and Georgia?” 


“Yeah. I can’t believe she’s marrying Sam’s kid, for fuck’s sake. But they’ve been in love since they were 6, and who am I to stop real love?” 


Kirby shrieked and fell into a chair laughing. “You’re Fallon Carrington and you’ve tried to stop them falling in love many, many unsuccessful times.” 


Fallon swatted her with a spatula, then threw an apron at her and pointed at the stove, clearly wanting help. “Remember when she convinced herself she was straight for like, two months?” Her hands shake as she tries to open the peppercorns jar, and she rolls her eyes again, plunking it down onto the counter with a resounding bang. 


Kirby’s facing away from her, tying her apron, and laughs louder, grabbing the jar and opening it for Fallon as soon as she’s turned back to face her. 


“Remember when she convinced herself that Georgia was straight too?” 


Peals of laughter echoed around their kitchen/dining area, and it took them ten minutes to get themselves together. 


As they sighed and caught their breath, the last remnants of their laughter fading away, Fallon looked at Kirby solemnly. “I’m so happy. With you, with Brayleigh, with our life.” 


Kirby finished her thought for her when Fallon choked up a little. “With everything we never thought we’d get.” She kissed her wife on the forehead, right at the end of the 7 inch scar from Fallon’s brain surgery a few decades ago. 


“I’m so happy, too, Fall.” 




Fallon was 21, in college, having the time of her life and then her world was shattered. 


Kirby’s world shattered not long after that, the day that she was rushed to the hospital to meet an unconscious and fragile and tiny against the hospital bed. Fallon’s doctor told her that ,yes, Fallon would need brain surgery. And that while there were severe risks, there were more risks to not go through with the surgery. 


They scheduled the surgery for next week, Blake stepping in with a sizeable donation to make sure Fallon had the best treatment possible. 


Kirby cried, screamed about how unfair the world was, and took Steven up on his offer to let her punch his shoulder in case that would make her feel better (it didn’t). 


Fallon sat, quietly, staring at the wall. 


They’d only been engaged a few months, hadn’t even started planning their wedding. 


Kirby screamed some more about how unfair the world was and how they, Fallon, didn’t deserve this. Sam, though Steven had broken up with him a month ago, came to visit with a case of champagne, that they single-handedly downed two bottles of immediately, stretched out on the sun loungers at the Carrington Manor. 


Fallon stared at the pool water. 


Kirby cried, and cried during the day, and sat up at night in bed frantically googling all of Fallon’s symptoms, all of the risks of the surgery, everything they’d want to know, and beat herself up about how she hadn’t done anything earlier about Fallon’s symptoms, while Fallon tried to sleep beside her. 


Fallon stared at the ceiling. 


Kirby eventually calmed down, and though Fallon told her to not blame herself, she still did. 


The surgery came and went, and Fallon didn’t wake up for a week. 


Kirby blamed herself more. She deleted her wedding pinterest board in a fit of rage, then cried about how doing so hard probably cursed Fallon. 


It hadn’t, and Fallon woke up the next day, and Kirby cried some more. 


Fallon wasn’t really Fallon, not for a while after the surgery. 


They put the wedding off, and Kirby helped Fallon adjust. She had to go through physio to re-learn how to walk, occupational therapy to re-learn word recall and how to live again. Kirby had to help her with anything that required two hands, her right hand not really functioning as well as it should have. 


Kirby tried her best to forget the years after the surgery, Fallon re-learning how to be a human. Re-learning how to love her. The only thing she willingly does remember is Fallon proposing to her once she felt like Fallon again and they felt like Fallon & Kirby again. 


5 years after the surgery, when only traces of her symptoms were left, and only if you squinted hard, Fallon said “I do” to Kirby in front of their family. A small affair, Fallon was still susceptible to loud noises and big crowds, with both their parents, Steven, and Sam, who’d been unofficially adopted into the family and his new boyfriend Leo. 


Two years after that, Brayleigh was born. 


The years between hadn’t all been easy, and something (often tiredness or stress, or the heat) caused some symptoms to flare up occasionally. Or small things, that others wouldn’t think of, like going on roller-coasters or going to concerts, were out of the question. But they were fine. 


They’d moved into a large house in a secluded area, a large lawn for the dogs to run around in and a pool to cool off on the hot days. They didn’t live far from either of their parents’, Steven was a 2 minute walk away at the end of their lane and Sam was just across the street. 


They were happy, things were peaceful. They’d earned it, after 6 rough years. 




“So, how did your engagement go? Why have I never heard this story?” Bray grabbed a bottle of champagne from the fridge, popping the lid open as both her parents turned to stare at her. 


She didn’t miss the look they shared over the serving bowl that Fallon was pouring her pasta into. 


“Oh. Should I not have asked? Was it related to mommy’s... thing?” 


Kirby laughed lightly, moving to the table and pouring the champagne out for Brayleigh as the girl sat down in her usual seat she’d had throughout her entire childhood for all their family dinners. 


“Which of our two proposal stories would you like to hear?” 


Bray’s mouth dropped open, and Kirby laughed loudly, Fallon’s lighter laugh mixing in in the background. 


“Kirb, can you - “ Fallon pointed at the bowl and then to the table. Kirby complied easily, keeping an eye on Fallon’s hands, checking for any sign of a tremor. They were still. 


“Two? Two proposals??” 


Fallon’s laugh was louder this time as she sat down to join her family. “You weren’t wrong... Your mom proposed to me first-


“See! I do the important things on time!”


“-and then I proposed to her after I’d healed, and felt ready to get married again. Why are you asking, baby girl?” 


Bray scrunched her nose at the nickname, all the while cooing at her parents’ proposals. “I think... I want to propose to Georgia.” 


Fallon and Kirby shared a look, holding back a laugh.


“Oh come onnn, why do you guys have to know EVERYthing before I know it, this is just like when I came out to you both. And when I told you I was dating Georgia.” 


Fallon and Kirby lost their battle against laughing, and cracked up loudly, laughing harder when Brayleigh pouted at them. 




“Why is your hand shaking?” 


Fallon looks up at her wife, loading the dishwasher after they’d waved goodbye to Brayleigh earlier in the evening. 


Fallon’s teasing aside, the evening had gone well, and Brayleigh was buzzing with excitement, a proposal plan formed for the next month. (“I’m happy you’re happy, but Bray, really does it have to be Georgia ? She’s named after a state and her father is named after an astrological sign. ”)


Which is why Fallon was now annoyed at Kirby for ruining the evening. “My hands aren’t shaking, this jar is just so heavy, stop fretting for fuck’s sake and help me, and buy better jars instead of these stupid glass kilner jars you insist on using.” 


Kirby stared at her for a moment before helping her out, and forgave her not long later when Fallon admitted in whispers that she was happy for Bray but sad that their kid was already grown up and going off to start her own family. 


Her hands didn’t shake when she made Kirby an elaborate breakfast of milk & cereal the next morning, or when they did the crossword together, so Kirby shrugged and figured the coffee jar was just too heavy. They’d drink more coffee soon and use up the beans, she wasn’t worried. 


They danced in their kitchen to whatever was playing on the radio, and Kirby started to like the idea of retirement when they could do this every single day. 




They danced in their garden a month later, all their family scattered across the lawn with a giant buffet set alongside the back fence, fairy lights strung throughout the trees, and a small band they’d hired for the evening playing love song after love song. 


Brayleigh proposed, Georgia said yes, and everyone cried. 


Sam pointed out that they were finally going to officially be family now, and Fallon went to punch him but fell forwards into his arms instead. 


All hell broke loose. 


Fallon waved hell away and told them to either enjoy the music and dance to it, or to sit down and shut up, she’s absolutely fine and would like to enjoy her daughter’s proposal so if the band could please start playing again and everyone could walk away, that would be great, thank you very much. 


Wearily, her family stepped away, casting careful glances back at her. 


Brayleigh stayed right in front of her, Georgia right beside her, their hands clasped between them. Sam and Kirby were holding her up, even though by all accounts Fallon was standing upright on her own. 


“Are you sure you-?”


“Brayleigh Alexandra Anderson-Carrington.” Fallon spoke calmly, but the use of Bray’s full name was clear. “I’m perfectly fine, I tripped in the grass. Go and enjoy your engagement party or I will dance with mom to-”


“Okay okay okay, I’m going!” Bray retreated, hands up in defeat, laughing, pulling Georgia with her and signaling something or other to the band, who launched into action. 


Fallon startled when she realized Sam and Kirby were still glaring at her. 


“You did not tri-”

“I know.” She said, quietly, glaring back at them herself. “But it’s her engagement party so I need you both to calm down and act normal. Or, as normal as the two of you can muster up, anyway.” 


Neither of them are amused by this. 


“I’ll go see Dr. Niehaus tomorrow, I just want to enjoy tonight.” 


With that, Fallon walked away from them, and asked Bray and Georgia for a dance, who both happily spun with her around the lawn - slowly, as the band played ABBA’s Slipping Through My Fingers in the background. 


Sam and Kirby stared at each other for a minute before nodding, silently agreeing that if Fallon’s willing to go do the doctor out of her own free will then a) things must be serious but b) they’re fine to hold off for an evening. 


They let Fallon have her song with their daughters, then joined into the group dance/hug for the next song, fairy lights twinkling brightly as the sun set behind them all.




Kirby looked up but refused to move from her spot on the couch when she heard the door slam  just after lunch the next day. 


Her laptop was on the pillow on her knees, and she was midway through a new post for her blog, editing a couple photos as she went, of the food she’d made for Bray’s engagement party, the fairy lights she’d weaved onto the buffet table making the food look even prettier. 


“I’m home!” 


Fallon’s voice was bright, and so was her smile as she walked into the living room and sat across from Kirby. 


Kirby’s heart clenched, and her breaths shortened.


“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” 


Kirby held her breath, holding up two fingers. The second option, the bad news. 


Fallon stiled,, her mind dropping back to when she was the one holding up fingers as answers to questions, because she was struggling too hard to find the right words even though whoever had asked the question had just used the same words she needed for her answer. She shook her head lightly to clear it, and Kirby was mirroring her motion, obviously having the same flashbacks. 


Fallon’s smile grew slowly. “The bad news is that I was pretty badly dehydrated. The good news, is this means you get to go to the grocery store and buy me lots of sparkling water, and I have to drink it and you can’t complain at all because I need to be hydrated.” 


Kirby stared at her silently. 


“Kirby. Kirby... Okay maybe I shouldn’t have started it that wa-”


“Wait that’s all? You were just dehydrated?” 


Fallon hugged her tightly, whispering, “I’m sorry for scaring you. Dr. Niehaus said I was pretty dehydrated and to drink lots of water.” 


Kirby tipped her head back laughing, “Well thank God for that, I’ll buy you all the disgusting firework water you want, love.” 




Wedding planning takes over their lives, for the fourth time in their lives, and Fallon starts fill the last remaining pages of the family wedding scrapbook. 


She’d started it with her own and Kirby’s wedding, the first of the group. She still didn’t fully believe that they’d really gotten married and that they were so happy and things were so good, so she traced over the pages in pencil, sketching in designs and captions she’d one day write in in pen, and placing, but not sticking, her favorites of the photos they’d had developed by their photographer. 


Then Sam and Leo had married, and Sam had jokingly said he’d better be added to the family scrapbook, not knowing about Fallon’s secret wedding scrapbook. 


They had a few more years under their belt now, and things really were so good and they really were so happy, and Sam had been there for them every step of the way in Fallon’s recovery. (And, mostly, in Kirby’s dealing with and processing of Fallon’s illness. He was her rock whenever things got difficult between the two of them, something Fallon was endlessly grateful for since she was sure Kirby would have left her otherwise. (Kirby wouldn’t, but Fallon didn’t have as much faith in herself as Kirby did.)) So Fallon grit her teeth, plucked up her courage, and traced over everything in pen, then added several pages featuring Sam’s wedding. She only made one joke about Leo’s name throughout the pages. 


He cried when she shared it with him. 


It was only natural that she’d add Steven’s wedding in a couple years later, all of them glowing in the group photo, Kirby’s baby bump just showing through in their usual group photo of the six of them, dressed up all elegant. 


No one knew what to do with the last pages of the scrapbook, still empty. Kirby wanted photos of Brayleigh growing up, but Fallon vetoed her because it was a wedding scrapbook. Sam wanted more of his wedding, and Fallon threw a bag of pasta at his head. Steven said they needed more friends, and no one said anything in response. 


So Fallon pulled out the scrapbook, and pencilled in “Brayleigh & Georgia” in her signature calligraphy, ready to decorate it properly and stick the photos in after they marry. 


Kirby cried when she saw her etching the names in, painstakingly slowly and shaking her hand out every few letters to make sure she kept the writing neat and steady. Covering her mouth with her hand, Kirby managed to speak clearly enough between sobs, “Our baby’s all grown up.” 


Fallon smirked, “She just called me asking how to file her taxes, so, she’s not that grown.” 


Kirby’s sobs turned to laughter, and she headed to the kitchen to make them dinner. Fallon followed shortly after, once the calligraphy was done, holding on to the wall to steady herself as she laughed again. 


“You okay?” 


Kirby looked at Fallon’s hand gripping the wall tightly. 


Fallon rolled her eyes and waved her other hand dismissively. “I’m fine, I just lightheaded, I forgot to eat lunch. And I have a headache.” 


Kirby’s eyes snapped up to meet hers at the mention of the h-word. “Are you... are you dehydrated?” Kirby asked hopefully. 


“Yeah, I didn’t eat lunch so I didn’t drink much either.” 


“Fallonnn” Kirby whined as she plonked two giant sparkling water bottles down onto the table. “Drink up. Can’t have you passing out again at the rehearsal dinner on Friday.”


Fallon beamed up at her, “Yes, dearest.” and swallowed a painkiller with her water when Kirby turned back to the stovetop to take care of the zucchini. 




Kirby found the painkillers later that day. She hadn’t meant to, she wasn’t snooping, but she needed the sample of Bray’s rehearsal dinner dress fabric so that she could match the cake’s fondant color exactly. 


They’d outsourced the wedding cake of course, but Kirby had insisted on making all the food for the rehearsal dinner again, since it was going to be in their backyard again too. So was the wedding, Bray and Georgia loving the quiet secluded nature of it. 


Kirby stared at the pills, shaking them slightly. They’re stronger than anything Fallon had used as painkillers for years. She read the name out loud, and shivered slightly. She’d only ever heard that name once, when Fallon had first come home from the hospital all those years ago, they’d given her fantastically strong painkillers to adjust to life at home as her brain healed before weaning her off them. 


Kirby had tried one once, Fallon’s idea, and she’d lived in a happy marshmallow cloud land where everything was soft and fluffy for several hours. 


Kirby gripped them tightly, then put them back into Fallon’s bag, and turned on her heels to go lay down on their bed. There was no reason for Fallon to have them now, with a prescription date of just after their proposal dinner, if she was just dehydrated. 




Kirby groaned and slammed her head backwards against the bed. Bringing her hand to rub at her head a few seconds later, she refused to follow that thought. Years ago, when Fallon was in a really dark spot and learning how to pronounce Kirby’s name all over again, Kirby had doubted Fallon’s truthfulness and love for her. It had ended up in a painful, six month split, the only time they’d ever been apart since they met. She didn’t want to repeat that. 


Fallon woke her up gently from her nap, asking about dinner, because she was hungry. “I must be getting old, I forgot lunch again - don’t worry, I drank all my required bottles of water, I just forgot to eat again. And now I’m starving. And my back aches, maybe you can give me a massage after you make me dinner.” 


Kirby laughed, offering a trade of a back massage if Fallon made dinner for her instead (Fallon agreed) and Kirby put the painkillers up to their old age. She herself had needed to buy the extra strength ibuprofen a few years ago when the regular ibuprofen hadn’t been cutting it anymore when her knees ached after hours of gardening. 


She pictured the prescription date, the same day Fallon had talked to Dr. Niehaus, and smiled. Fallon was just dehydrated. 


Fallon smiled when Kirby handed her a giant glass of sparkling water as Fallon messed around with peppercorns and cheese on the stovetop, and drank it immediately. 


Kirby smiled back. Things were good, they were happy, Fallon was just old. She stifled a laugh at her last thought. 




Georgia was halfway through her speech at the rehearsal dinner, thanking everyone for putting up with all their bridezilla moments, when it happened. 


Fallon fell face first into the cake Kirby had made, and Kirby screamed so loud that Sam later swore she broke one of the glasses on the table. 


The rehearsal dinner was cut short, ending in chaos with Steven and Leo redirecting everyone out of Kirby and Fallon’s house, to their own houses or to a hotel nearby, and Georgia and Brayleigh cleaning up, while Sam and Kirby rode in the ambulance to the hospital with an unconscious Fallon. 


Kirby gripped Fallon’s hand tightly, praying silently to a God she wasn’t even sure existed that Fallon might turn out fine. Or at least, not as bad as last time, all those years ago.


Sam held her hand as Kirby let the tears track down her cheeks.


They’d been fine. They’d been happy. Fallon had been fine. 


Except ... 


Kirby finally let the thoughts from days earlier fill her mind. 


Except ... how Fallon’s hands had been shaking not just when she tried to use the heavy peppercorn jar, but when she put her necklace on in the morning (“I’m just not awake yet, go get me coffee.”) or just after they’d had sex (“Gee whiz, so you gave me an orgasm that I’m still shaking from, be proud of yourself instead of fretting your pretty little brain, woman.”). 


Except ... how Fallon had been forgetting words, forgetting names, forgetting places. Kirby hadn’t commented after the first time, when Fallon had bitten her head off about how she wasn’t old just not as young as she was before

Except ... the painkillers. The painkillers that she should have asked Fallon about instead of explaining away. Kirby fainted as she tried to block that day out of her mind, and Sam wasn’t sure whether to roll his eyes at the drama or just be silent and grateful that they were already around first responders. 




Sam stood up, shaking his head, as the family ran into the conference room that had been blocked off just for them. 


A call from Blake and the hospital had cleared the entire top floor of the Carrington wing to give them privacy. 


Steven misunderstood Sam’s head shake, and dropped to his knees. His cries were heard five floors down. 


Sam and Leo pull him up, explaining. Sam’s an idiot, all he meant was he has no news. 




Kirby joined them a few hours later, juice box in hand, steadier than she had been in the ambulance. 


They were scattered across the room, sitting on chairs, on the conference table, on the floor. Brayleigh was underneath the conference table, sobbing into Georgia’s arms. No one mentioned it. 




No news is good news, it turns out, and when the news did come it wasn’t good. 




Georgia was the one to suggest postponing the wedding until ... well she didn’t finish her sentence, but everyone knew what she meant. 


Brayleigh nodded silently, kissing her softly as a thank you, unable to say more. 


Leo handled the phone calls and the admin, and Kirby held a hand up gratefully, unable to do anything more. 




They took turns saying goodbye one by one, then piled into the room together. Kirby on the bed next to Fallon, Steven and Sam on either side. Brayleigh at the foot of the bed, on what should have been her wedding night instead, with Georgia’s arms wrapped around her from behind. Blake, Alexis, and Celia at the head of the bed, Blake’s arms on Fallon’s shoulders. 


Dr Niehaus was the only non-family member present, leaving the room after doing what he needed to. 


They waited until Fallon took one last breath, then said goodbye again and left, leaving Kirby alone with her for a few more moments. 


Kirby sighed softly, kissing Fallon on the forehead. “You could have told me the other half of what Dr Niehaus had said, you know? We would have moved the wedding up. We could have flown to South America for some experimental drug I’m sure they’re making. Or for an ayahuasca retreat if nothing else. I mean, I get it... I get that you just wanted to save me from the pain. I get that you loved me enough to brave this on your own. How scary that must have been for you, Fall. I’m sorry I didn’t notice in time, didn’t ask. I should have... I... I’m sorry. I do get that you just wanted to save me from the pain, but Fallon, don’t you see now that the pain was inevitable? I’m going to miss you so much. I miss you so much already. There’s so much that I want to say, but I think Sam’s about to come in here and make sure I’m okay if I don’t stand up, so. I should go. You should... rest. Hell knows you-” Kirby sobbed, not knowing what made her bring up hell in that exact moment. She waved a shaky thumbs up at Sam through the window, buying herself a few more minutes before his fretting got the better of him. 


“You should rest, Fallon. You deserve it. You worked so hard your whole life, just to give me and Brayleigh a good life, a great life, and you put up with so much. Having to learn how to do everything over, how to learn you, and me, and us all over again. I’m so grateful, so lucky, that you chose to fall in love with me all over again. I’ll miss you forever, Fallon. I already do, so much, love.” 


Kirby closed her eyes as she kissed Fallon’s lips one last time, cold and pale blue and so unlike the Fallon she’d known her whole life. 


“Wait for me up there, okay?”




The wedding album lay open on the kitchen table where they had laid it out for the rehearsal dinner. 


Brayleigh & Georgia in perfect calligraphy, with the date in pencil right underneath. 


No captions, no memories, no group photo of the six of them with the two gorgeous brides.