He woke up in pain. Lots of it. He felt sick and hot all over, and as quiet as he was trying to be, he must have let out some noise, because he heard someone stand from the chair they were in and put a hand on his forehead to calm him down, "Take it easy, kiddo. Where's that morphine thing?"
He didn't know, he didn't care. He hurt. And he wanted Don to fix it.
He heard the nurse saying something, then someone pressed something cold and plastic into his hand, but he couldn't figure what it was. There was a sigh, then someone's hand covered his own, and guided his thumb to a button, helping him push it down, telling him, "You gotta push the button when you're in pain, Granger."
He sighed as the narcotic swept through him, and someone chuckled, then said," Open your eyes Colby."
He obeyed, surprised at how incredibly difficult it was. Don smiled, "Hey, there we go."
He managed something like a smile, but his lip split under the pressure, and his mouth flooded with blood suddenly. Don swore and told him, "Here kiddo." And handed him some tissues to hold to his mouth. He held them up obediently, looking at Don, before saying, "I'm sorry."
"I'm really sorry."
"Colby I know."
"It was before I met you, and I was seventeen and I just…"
He was desperate to make sure that not everyone was angry at him, that not everyone was going to leave him, and Don sighed as he pressed him back into the bed, telling him, "Shh, Colby. I know you're sorry. I'm not angry. Just try and sleep now. It's okay. It's all right."
He drifted off to that.
He drifted up again to quiet voices. Mr. Eppes. And David. And Don. They were talking about him. His father was asking, "What if he's dangerous Donnie? What if he?"
"He's not dangerous Dad. He's not even violent right now. He's weak as a kitten."
That was true. He was barely able to keep the grip on the morphine pump to kill the pain with. He didn't think he was strong enough to do about anything right now. He just wanted to sleep.
"I don't know about this, Donnie. It's a lot of work, and you're stretched thin as it is. I don't want you overworked."
"I can't just send him away Dad. He just spent the last couple of months in prison. He should be around friends again."
"Doesn't he have any family?"
"I don't know. I'll be asking him soon, when he wakes up, but either way I can't really expect him to – "
He winces as David asks, "Are you sure you can trust him Don?"
Don says, "I always did." And maybe that hurts most of all.
"He's still asleep?"
"They said that was normal. He's been in and out all day. You mind sitting with him while I get something to eat?"
Charlie, it's Charlie who's here now, says, "No problem." And sits down. Don comes over to the side of the bed and grasps his wrist to wake him up, telling him, "I'm going to the cafeteria. I'll be back, all right Colby?"
He nods; still spaced out from the morphine and whatever else they're giving him. He'd woken up once when Don had stepped out to take a phone call and panicked. They'd had to give him something in his IV.
He opens his eyes and looks around the room. Charlie sees his eyes open and smiles, coming over to give him a clumsy hug that makes all his nerve endings flare up with pain. He grunts, but waves a hand as Charlie pulls back regretfully, "Sorry. Sorry, Colby."
"You're fine." His voice sounds raspy and hoarse and hurts his throat. It hurts, yeah, but it's nice to have someone hugging him. Someone wanting to be around him.
"I'm so glad you're okay."
That's Charlie talking. He's telling him all about everything that's gone on in the last few months. He's not really tracking everything he was saying, but he was warm, and comfortable, and not in pain, so he wasn't complaining.
He's asleep before he can even think about it.
When he wakes up, Don asks him if there's anyone, anyone at all that he wants him to call for him, and for some odd reason, he tells him about his brother in Idaho who he'd really like to see. Who he's been wanting for a while now.
Don nods and tells him he'll make the call. He's half asleep before he realizes that he didn't give Don the number, but that's all right. He's a clever guy. He'll figure it out.
Jake doesn't yell at him, doesn't get angry just kisses him on the forehead and tells him to go back to sleep .He hears Don and him talking lowly in the corner of the room, Jake swears, lowly, and Don agrees, "Bout right."
"He's a mess."
"Is he still in custody?"
He snaps awake in a panic, struggles to sit up. Jake and Don both jump for him, Don gets there first, pressing him down, on the bed while Jake goes to get a nurse. "Colby, it's all right. It's okay. You're not going back to prison. Colb, buddy, listen to me, you're not going back to prison."
"No' in custody?"
"Nope you got exonerated, Colb. Everything's fine now. But you gotta relax."
He nods, feeling his heart fluttering weakly in his chest, and the doctor comes in and tells them that he needs to be kept quiet. He drifts off after that, exhaustion taking over, vaguely hearing Don and Jake making plans.
When he wakes up Jack is there, and he's told, in no uncertain terms, that he's spending six weeks of his two month sick leave in Idaho with him and the family, and the other two weeks finding a new apartment, since the landlord had rented his apartment out from under him. Apparently he'd be staying with the Eppes until he found a place. He tried to apologize, and Jake told him, "Colb, don't worry about it. I'm not mad at you. Okay?"
He was still kind of confused from the drugs, and he thought that he should probably be more alert, but he was so tired –
He woke up again with Jake still there and talking to a doctor, who was checking the EEG connected to his chest with a practiced sort of ease that made him feel much more secure. The doctor said he was awake and patted his chest. Don't worry Mr. Granger. You're going to be just fine."
He nods, then asks, "Lancer – he – he said it could cause heart damage."
The doctor looked surprised that he'd managed to recall that much, but then told him, "It can but you didn't receive the full dose, the man who pulled it out, David Sinclair? He probably saved your life."
He nodded at that, and the doctor said, "Anyway, you have some visitors, if you're up to them."
He nodded, already tired, but he wanted to see everyone.
They all filed in, and he let his brother sort himself out about introductions, too tired to do much else, but lay there. Megan had already met him, he guessed, drove him from the airport, and Larry was making his presence as boyfriend unsuccessfully known. He came and sat down and started talking about some physics principle that Colby was really too dopey to follow. Don came and said hi before sinking into the couch along the wall, then leaning back. He was asleep before anyone could say anything, and Alan just shook his head and covered him with one of the blankets left there for Colby. "He's working too hard."
He feels guilty, knowing that most of the work that had crossed Don's desk this week had probably been about him.
Charlie and Amita both came over to hug him, and it still hurt, but he didn't complain. Mr. Eppes, after informing him he looked terrible, sat and began talking to Jake. No one seemed to be expecting anything from him, so he dozed in and out to lots of people talking about him all at once.
When he woke up, everyone was eating dinner and he got some Jell-O that Jake strong armed him into eating. He told Jake he hated Jell-O. Jake told him, 'shuddup and eat'
He'd missed his brother.
Apparently once he'd been incarcerated everything'd been seized, so he was officially homeless as well as having only what Don and Megan had managed to get out of the PD. Jake told him he could buy stuff while he was on bed rest. His protest to that was met with a ' shuddup and go back to sleep'
It should have stung, the words, but the fact that Jake was holding his hand, and running a hand through his hair sort of tempered it a little bit.
He got out of the hospital Friday. Don, for some sadistic reason he was unsure of, had sent Charlie to pick him up, and he was fairly certain that twenty minutes with Charlie's driving had done his heart more damage than two days with Lancer had.
He walked in the front door and twenty or so people yelling surprise didn't help either. Jake and Don both made him sit down before everyone swarmed him. Apparently he was being thrown a welcome back from prison/glad you're not a traitor/housewarming/glad you're not dead party. Don was a little iffy about that himself, and he groused that he'd told them jaunts in prison and side missions for the NSA should not be rewarded, but his hand was gentle as he squeezed Colby's shoulder, and he knew it was his reticent boss's way of telling him he was glad too.
He ate some cake and listened to a bunch of Charlie's grad students tell him how glad they were that he was okay. He suspected they were just glad their donut supply was back. There were a bunch of people walking around, and he had a stack of cards as thick as a book by the time that everyone was through. He made it through the party and to the airport, where Jake made him sit down. He got to board first, that NSA thing was finally good for something. Jake had bought the seat next to them, and he put Colby on the inside seat, so he could stretch out. He dozed off again, hearing a stewardess ask if he needed anything. His brother said, "He'll be fine."
And for the first time since waking up, Colby believed that.