She woke up to bright lights and a repetitive beeping. She had a splitting headache and a bad taste in her mouth and when she tried to move her whole body screamed in protest. It felt like the lower half of her body was smashed into a thousand pieces and any attempt to move caused them to grind together. She could feel the bandages wrapped firmly round her stomach and the way her breathing pulled on the staples that held her together. She was unable to move either leg, they itched and burned and moving a hand to scratch at them, she found them both encased in plasti-casts from toes to hips.
She screwed her eyes shut and breathed through the pain until it was back at controllable levels and she could open her eyes to a stark white room, crisp sheets and a bank of machines beeping softly. She was in the corner bed of a large 8 bed ward with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city. She'd been here before, due to the dangerous nature of their job and the need for security, the Halls of Justice had their own state of the art infirmary in the upper levels, she'd never seen it so full though, every bed had someone laying in it, either asleep or playing quietly with a data pad. A nurse was at the far end of the room, chatting quietly to one of her patients while she monitored the life-support systems of the patient in the adjacent bed. Anderson tried to sit up to see if she could recognise anyone but the movement made her body scream in protest so she decided to stay where was was. She could read a few of the names that were displayed on the monitors beside the beds though, and realised with dismay that the woman opposite her was Hershey. From what Anderson could see, her skin looked grey and lifeless. She was still unconscious and her breathing was being done for her with a ventilator. Her blood pressure was being displayed on the monitor, Anderson was no expert but the numbers looked low.
The nurse caught her eye and gave her a smile. She came over and checked Anderson's machines and IV line, speaking in hushed tones so as not to disturb the other patients. "You're doing well, how do you feel?"
Anderson thought about lying and putting a brave face on but found herself giving in. "I hurt. A lot." She replied, her throat dry and croaky.
The nurse found her a button on a cable and put it in her hand. "This is for your painkillers. Press it as much as you like, you can't OD. I'm going to let the doctor know you're awake and she'll come and see you."
Anderson just nodded weakly and pressed her button a few times. The drug worked quickly and she could start to feel the pain easing off.
"He's been here all night, you know." The nurse said. When Anderson gave her a confused look she just gave her head a little nod, indicating she look beside her. In a chair between her bed and the window was Dredd, dressed in borrowed scrubs, head propped up on his arm, fast asleep. Her brain was so fogged from pain and drugs she'd missed him completely. His face was badly bruised and there was a cut on his eyebrow that had been stapled closed and would likely leave a scar intersecting the one he already had. Numerous bandages were noticeable through the thin clothing and his plasti-cast was bright white and looked brand new, the old one no doubt having been replaced after the turmoil he'd put it through.
Anderson smiled at the nurse who then left to speak to the doctor. She concentrated her flagging energy and sought him out, even in sleep those protective psychic barriers were there, keeping himself from feeling too much. She could tell that trying to get him to have any kind of conversation about what had happened over the last few days was going to be almost impossible, they'd likely never again speak of what had happened in her apartment, she'd never get to hear how he felt about it, or about her. She'd likely never get to hear his thoughts on having to kill his brother either, despite the fact that it must be tearing him up inside. It didn't matter, she decided, compartmentalising and pretending something didn't happen may not have been the healthiest way to get over trauma, but they would get over it, they always did. In the meantime she was happy just to sink into her pillow and watch her best friend sleep, some bonds were just too tough to break.
Authors Note: So there you go, thank you to DevinBourdain, hoellenwauwau, starclipper01, death444 and mother77 for your reviews. Mother77, I'm sorry your wish didn't come true but I hope you're satisfied with the ending anyway. I really enjoyed writing this, and while I have a few other projects on the go, I might be looking to visit Mega City One again soon, especially if Mr Urban dons the helmet again in the upcoming to show.