[personal profile] dragontreasure26
Title: Reset – Robert 2.0
Characters/Pairings: Aaron Livesy/Robert Sugden, Adam Barton/Victoria Sugden, Paddy Kirk, Chas Dingle, Diane Sugden, Chrissie White, Lachlan White, Lawrence White, Cain Dingle/Moira Barton, Finn Barton.
Summary: In saving Adam's life on the day of the helicopter crash Robert is injured and loses his memory; when he returns to the village he appears to be a completely different person, a new and improved Robert Sugden. While everyone prefers the new Robert, Aaron struggles to deal with losing the man he fell in love with.


Chapter List: dragontreasure26.dreamwidth.org/227156.html


After getting his shoulder stitched and bandaged, Aaron went in search of his mother; he found Chas with Paddy and was relieved to see the two of them, aside from a few scrapes and bruises, were okay. “Aaron luv,” Chas said hugging him tightly.

“Watch the shoulder,” Aaron replied but smiled all the same. “You’re okay?” he asked glancing from Chas to Paddy; the two of them nodded in return. “Do they know what happened yet?” Aaron asked.

Chas shrugged. “The helicopter crashed, but no one knows how or why yet,” she replied. “Sure you’re okay?” she asked worriedly glancing at her son’s blood stained shirt.

“I’m fine, few stitches nothing I can’t handle,” Aaron replied with a reassuring smile. “Any news on the others?” he asked.

“Pete brought Debbie in a while ago, I don’t know about the others,” Chas replied wrapping Paddy’s jacket tighter around her shoulders. “I just can’t believe this has happened,” she said still shell-shocked.

“You and me both,” Aaron replied, and Paddy just nodded solemnly.

A suddenly flurry of activity caused them all to turn around; a group of paramedics rushed in, pushing a trolley down the corridor toward them. Aaron, Chas and Paddy rushed over when they saw Victoria behind the group with tears pouring down her face. “Vic! Is it Adam? Is he okay?” Aaron asked worried for his best friend but when he looked at the person on the stretcher as it was whisked past him he saw that it was not Victoria’s husband but her brother. It was Robert.

“He saved Adam,” Victoria said through her tears.

“What happened?” Paddy asked.

“Robert … Robert saved him,” Victoria sobbed. “He’s in a really bad way.”

Aaron’s eyes tore down the corridor after the stretcher and his heart started to beat hard against his chest. “Robert saved Adam?” he asked, he couldn’t believe it – Robert was notoriously selfish, surely he’d never put his own life on the line to save someone else, let alone Adam who he didn’t even care for.

Victoria nodded. “I’ve got to go, I’m sorry,” she said rushing after her brother.

Paddy and Chas turned to look at Aaron. Chas bit anxiously at her bottom lip noticing how white her son’s face had turned. “Aaron,” she started.

Aaron shook his head. “Adam … I need to go and find him, make sure he’s okay,” he said heading off to find his best friend.

Chas glanced at Paddy. “At least it’s Adam he’s going after not Robert,” she replied with a heavy sigh.

Paddy just nodded in agreement.

---

After finding Adam, Aaron hovered outside his room, not sure whether to go in or not. He peered through the window in the door and his stomach dropped when he saw his friend laying on the bed with an oxygen mask over his face.

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” Moira’s voice came from behind him. “He inhaled a lot of smoke, the oxygen is just to ease his breathing. He’ll be able to go home tomorrow.”

Aaron turned to find Moira and James behind him, each clutching a cup of coffee. “Go in, he’ll be happy to see you,” James smiled warmly. “We’re going to go and check on Pete and Debbie and then we’ll be back.”

Aaron nodded, reassured that Adam really was alright and let himself into the room. “Adam, Vic told me what happened, are you okay?” he asked heading over to him.

Adam removed the oxygen mask so he could speak more clearly. “I’m okay,” he croaked. “All thanks to your boyfriend.”

Aaron swallowed and his gaze dropped to the floor. “He’s not my boyfriend you know that,” he replied. “It’s over between us,” he added bitterly as he thought about everything Robert had done.

“Well I owe him my life,” Adam replied sucking in some more oxygen. “Whatever’s gone on between you that doesn’t change.”

“What happened?” Aaron asked tentatively, dismissing the strange sense of hope that filled him when Adam confirmed that Robert had saved him. Hope that maybe Robert wasn’t such a bad person after all, that deep down he was a good guy like Aaron had always hoped he was.

Adam sighed. “Got drunk, couldn’t find my key so I decided to sleep it off in one of the scrap cars,” he replied. “Next thing I know I wake up and the car’s on fire and Robert was pulling me out. It exploded, Robert shoved me down into a ditch but I don’t know what happened to him, is he okay?” he asked.

Aaron glanced down at his boots. “I don’t know, I saw him brought in … Victoria is with him, I guess she’ll tell you more.”

Adam’s eyes darted over Aaron’s and he frowned. “You’re not going to find out yourself?” he asked.

“No,” Aaron muttered. “Why would I?”

Adam’s eyebrows rose a little but he did not reply. “Well I hope he’s alright, I guess I need to buy him a pint or two even if he did manage to break my ankle,” he said nodding down to his bandaged foot. “Snapped when I fell down the ditch,” he sighed. “But I guess that’s what protected me from the blast.”

“Best make it more than a couple of pints then,” Aaron replied sinking down into the chair beside the bed – he still couldn’t quite belief that Robert had risked his own life for Adam. There had to be more to it than that? Some scheme, some sort of game. This was Robert after all. What was he playing at?

---

Aaron left Adam’s room when Moira and James returned, he didn’t know what to do with himself and so drifted down the corridors of the hospital aimlessly. He didn’t want to go back to the village, to the chaos there, and besides he couldn’t bring himself to leave the hospital just yet either … he needed to make sure Adam and Victoria were okay, and deep down Robert also as much as he didn’t want to admit it.

Aaron found himself drifting toward Robert’s room; he watched from a hidden corner as Victoria emerged from the room, tears streaming down her face. Aaron stepped back into the shadows and she walked right past him without noticing him as she headed to the ladies room. Something bad had happened to Robert, and the thought made him feel sick.

Aaron sucked in a deep breath and headed over to Robert’s room, he peered in and was surprised at what he saw. Robert was lying in the bed; he’d been cleaned up since arriving covered in ash but now there was barely a scratch on him. Aaron was confused, he’d seen many of his fellow villagers arrive at the hospital in a far worse state so what was Victoria so upset about? What was wrong with him Aaron wondered as his eyes swept over him.

Aaron watched as Robert looked around the room, there was something in his eyes that he couldn’t quite place - he looked lost. Aaron couldn’t quite put his finger on it but he knew there was something wrong. The man lying in the room just didn’t look like Robert he knew.

Suddenly a pair of blue-eyes connected with his; Aaron’s heart jumped to his throat and he quickly moved away from the door. He didn’t want to give Robert the satisfaction of knowing he was there, that a part of him still cared about him. Aaron walked away, hoping that Robert hadn’t seen him, but he knew he had and was probably wearing a stupid smug smile right that minute.

Aaron ducked from view when he saw Chrissie and Lawrence heading down the corridor. “My husband,” Chrissie said grabbing a nearby nurse. “Robert Sugden, he was brought in earlier? Can I see him?”

Aaron tried to listen in but the nurse had headed further down the corridor with Chrissie and Lawrence; he watched as Chrissie was let into Robert’s room and Lawrence waited outside pacing up and down like a guard dog. What the hell were they doing here? It wasn’t like Chrissie actually cared for Robert anymore.

Not wanting the Whites to see him Aaron quickly walked away but collided into Victoria as she came out of the ladies room. “Oh Aaron, I’m sorry,” Victoria said wiping her eyes with a tissue. “What are you doing here?” she asked her eyes darting over his. “Did you come to see Robert?”

Aaron couldn’t help but noticed her hopeful tone. “No,” he replied gruffly. “Chrissie is here now,” he said nodding toward her and Lawrence.

“Oh,” Victoria frowned. “Well I guess I should go and talk to her,” she said giving Aaron’s arm a tight squeeze. “Don’t go just yet, please.”

Aaron nodded, he watched Victoria go and hovered uneasily. “What are you doing here?” Lawrence asked heading over to him. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble?”

Aaron gritted his teeth. “Vic asked me to stay,” he replied crossly.

“You’re the last person Chrissie will want to see right now,” Lawrence replied. “So I suggest you go,” he said stepping toward Aaron.  Aaron scoffed, not remotely scared of Lawrence. “I don’t know what sort of game you’re playing son, but you and Robert, it’s never going to happen.”

“I’m not interested in Robert,” Aaron huffed angrily, kicking a nearby chair as he stalked off.

---

News of what happened to Robert soon spread as more and more villagers arrived at the hospital and gossip started to spread; Chas of course was one of the first to find out and quickly found Aaron and Paddy to fill them in on the news.

“He’s lost his memory?” Aaron asked with a frown.

“According to Diane he doesn’t remember anything,” Chas nodded.

“At all?” Aaron said not quite able to believe it.

“Apparently so,” Chas sighed. “It will be some game of his, to worm his way out of everything he’s done,” she muttered. “He’ll slip up eventually, no one can keep up that charade for long.”

“How can you be so sure he’s lying?” Paddy asked dubiously. “Victoria and Diane seem convinced.”

Aaron shoved his hands deep into his pockets; he remembered seeing Robert earlier when he’d gone to his room – he’d known then there was something not quite right with him and was convinced that if he saw him again he’d be able to tell if it was all an act. “I’ll know,” he replied rocking on the balls of his feet; he looked up when Chas and Paddy turned to look at him. “I’ll know the second I look in his eyes if he’s lying or not.”

Chas frowned. “You’re not thinking of going to see him?” she said shaking her head in disbelief, completely in the dark over his previous visit to his ex-lovers room. “How could you after everything that he’s done?”

“Just trust me will ya,” Aaron said heading off. Chas and Paddy followed close behind; when they found Robert’s room Aaron stopped outside the door and peered in, watching him talking to Victoria.

Aaron watched in silence for a long while, examining every expression that crossed Robert’s face. “He’s not lying,” he said turning back to look at his mother. “I can tell,” he said glancing back at Robert’s big blue innocent eyes. “He’s not mum.”

Chas pursed her lips. “Okay,” she replied believing him.

“Just because he can’t remember doesn’t mean we should forget what he’s done,” Paddy added.

Aaron nodded. “I know, I just wanted to make sure – Vic and Diane have had enough trouble from him in the past, they don’t need this on top of it.”

Chas wrapped her arm around Aaron’s shoulder and was about to steer him away when Victoria came out of the room. “Aaron,” she said her voice hoarse. “I need you to do something for me,” she said taking hold of his arm. “I need you to go in,” she said nodding toward the door to Robert’s room.

“Absolutely not,” Chas interrupted. “No way.”

Aaron ignored his mother and looked at Victoria. “Why?” he asked with narrowed eyes.

“He saw you, and for a brief moment I thought he recognised you,” Victoria explained. “Please, if anyone can make him remember it’s you.”

“Me?” Aaron said shaking his head. “No, why me?”

“Because he’s in love with you,” Victoria replied matter-of-factly. Aaron’s eyes darted to the floor and he felt himself grow angry – how could Robert love him after all he’d done. No it wasn’t true, he only told him that because he didn’t want him to blab to the police about what had really happened the day of Katie’s death. “Look I don’t know what happened between you,” Victoria said sensing his change in mood. “But he admitted it … well virtually, I know he loves you Aaron. He’s my brother, I know him.”

“So what? It doesn’t matter,” Aaron shrugged. “I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“I’m not asking you to do anything but go in there. Seeing you might trigger something. Please Aaron?” Victoria begged. “You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want, just come in with me for five minutes.”

Aarons shifted anxiously; he looked at Victoria tear stained face and the desperation in her eyes. “Two minutes,” he replied giving in.

“Aaron,” Chas sighed crossly.

“It’s fine mum,” Aaron said following Vic into Robert’s room.

“More visitors?” Robert smiled brightly when the door opened and Vic, Paddy, Chas and Aaron entered. It did not go un-noticed by all that Robert’s eyes went straight to Aaron who could not look back at him. Vic sucked in a deep breath, hoping, praying that her brother would remember something whereas Chas and Paddy were on edge for the opposite reason, they did not want Robert to remember, to get his claws into Aaron again. This way Robert was less of a threat. “I must be very popular,” Robert smiled his eyes moving from Aaron’s to Chas’s and then to Paddy’s. “So how do we know each other?” he asked.

Victoria sighed with disappointment, and Chas and Paddy relaxed also. Aaron swallowed hard, not sure if he was disappointed Robert didn’t remember him or not – the Robert in front of him was a stranger, he looked younger, innocent with his hospital gown on and his hair all fluffy from having the ash washed out. He looked new, like someone had pushed reset and Aaron didn’t like it. He’s rather have the old Robert, because at least he knew how to handle him.

Chas opened her mouth to say something but Victoria cut across her. “Do you remember me telling you that you invested in Adam’s business?” she asked.

Robert nodded. “My short term memory is okay Vic,” he joked.

The lightness and the friendly tone of his voice sounded strange to Aaron – he was used to threats, to a cunning edge to his tone or even shameless flirting when Robert spoke. Not this. Aaron was reminded of the week they’d spent at Home Farm when Chrissie, Lawrence and Lachlan had gone away. It reminded of him the fluffy bed-headed Robert, wrapped up in his dressing gown drinking coffee with him on the sofa after they’d spent the night together. The Robert he’d always wanted.

“Well Aaron is his business partner and Chas is his mum,” Victoria continued. “Chas co-owns the village pub with our step-mother Diane.”

Robert nodded; he looked to Chas and smiled. “I haven’t met Diane yet but she sounds wonderful.”

Aaron continued to stare at the stranger apparently possessing Robert’s body.

Chas gritted her teeth. “You really don’t deserve her,” she muttered darkly.

Robert frowned slightly, not understanding the hostile vibe that came off the woman. His eyes darted over to Aaron, who was brooding in the corner. “So Aaron, are you the brains or the brawn of the scrapping business?” he asked hoping for a more friendly response.

Aaron glanced at Robert, their eyes meeting for the first time since he’d entered to room; he opened his mouth to speak but he couldn’t do it … he couldn’t be fake and make conversation like nothing had happened. “I can’t,” he said before bolting from the room – Paddy and Chas in hot pursuit.

---

Aaron paced outside the hospital biting at his fingers anxiously as a swirl of emotions fighting for control raged through his body and mind. He didn’t know how to feel or what to think. He was angry because he could feel himself being dragged back into Robert’s world again after fighting for so long to get out but he also felt a strange sense of grief because he felt like he’d lost him, the way Robert looked at him now was like a stranger. Even when they were fighting, no matter how bad it was, he’d always been able to see attraction behind the blonde’s cold calculated eyes both of them knowing that at some point one of them would cave into their desire for the other.

Now there was just nothing.

“What is it luv?” Chas asked when she and Paddy found him.

Aaron sighed and kicked at the gravel beneath his feet. “I just couldn’t stand there and make small talk with him, not after everything,” he muttered “I know he doesn’t remember but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten,” Aaron replied not daring to mention any of his other feelings; he knew he was being foolish for still feeling something for Robert and he knew his mum and Paddy would think the same if he told them.

“You don’t have to see him anymore,” Paddy reassured him. “You did what Victoria asked, let that be the end of it.”

Aaron nodded quickly, hating the small part of him that mourned the loss of his Robert.
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