Epilogue

Despite a couple of heated arguments about the length of his stay, John was kept in hospital for three days while he rode out the worst of the withdrawal. Dorian had hoped that taking him home would brighten the man's mood but instead he'd just flopped sullenly on the couch and turned the TV on. Dorian had bought groceries and started busying himself in the kitchen, hoping to make the man a meal before that sullenness was turned on him and he was thrown out. John had been so ill he hadn't eaten since before the riot and he was looking a little thin.

As Dorian chopped vegetables with the speed of a professional chef and slid them into the stew he was making, he listened to the sound of John's television. The TV was on a news channel, it was the tail end of a report on the prison riot. They were interviewing some woman who had been caught up in it. "... it was so frightening, we were attacked, but my colleague and I were rescued by a man who protected us."

"You mean a prisoner?" The reporter asked.

"He was..." the woman paused, "...well I'm not exactly sure. But I know I owe him my life."

Dorian smiled, knowing exactly who the mystery rescuer had been. The reporting switched to the main story, what they were calling 'the bust of the decade', detailing the depth of the trafficking operation, the groups links to other smuggling operations like drugs and black market weaponry. The announcer promised that in a few minutes they'd interview one of the victims that had been saved. Dorian smiled, perhaps the visible proof of someone else he'd rescued would hearten the detective, but instead he just heard John switch the TV off instead.

Dorian strode into the other room. "You should watch the interview John. See just how much of a difference you've made."

John looked up from the sofa, he was sprawled across it, his broken arm resting on his stomach and his head on the armrest. The bruising had developed over the last few days and his face was mottled in different colours, his jaw still so bad that everything he spoke came out through gritted teeth. "I read the reports Dorian." He said, his voice devoid of emotion.

"It's not the same." Dorian sent an electronic signal to the television and turned it back on without a remote, knowing John hated it when he did that. The reporters were in the studio still discussing the trafficking trade, they clearly had been given most of the morning to talk about it. They had some sort of expert on, discussing the impact The Wall had had on the black market dealings in the city.

"I know I should feel happy about it, but I just can't." John admitted as they both watched. While the 'expert' talked they were showing pictures of the raids, people being escorted out of buildings in cuffs, a row of police cruisers parked up, their lights flashing, an aerial shot of a house surrounded by crime scene tape guarded by MXs.

"Why not?"

"I don't know. Prison messed with my head." John shrugged. Dorian had caught just a glimpse of just how much that statement was true that night in the hospital, but he knew better than to say anything. He still wasn't sure how much the detective remembered of that night, and he wasn't about to remind him.

"Well then." Dorian said decisively. "I guess it's my job to sort it out. I couldn't be there for you then, but I'm here now. And I'm not letting you shut me out. Move over." Dorian picked up the man's legs and shifted them gently off the sofa so he could sit beside him.

They watched the television in silence as the promised interview came on. The woman, a young immigrant who'd been duped into believing she was coming to work in a beauty salon, spoke candidly about her capture, the treatment of her and her fellow slaves, and the overwhelming joy at her rescue. She had tears streaming down her face the entire time but her voice was strong and determined. "They tried to break us," she said, "but we helped each other and we stayed strong."

Dorian glanced at John's face at the words but he was watching impassively. Still, there was the barest change, that only an android could detect, the calming of a heart rate, tension leaving taut muscles, the softening of his bruised jaw. It wasn't much, but it was a start. Dorian knew that John berated himself for taking too long to get the mission completed. He felt that his own mission to get John back to himself was going to be equally frustrating at times, but perhaps it didn't matter how long it took as long as he didn't give up. He looked at the battered man beside him and promised silently that he never would.


Authors Note: So here we are, finished at last. I hope you've enjoyed my latest offering to this little fandom. Perhaps it wasn't the happiest of endings but the road to being 'okay' again is rarely a short one. Don't worry though, John's got Dorian looking after him, he'll be fine.

As always, I'd love to hear from you, just a few words in the review box make my day. Thanks for sticking with me.

This fic is dedicated to DevinBourdain who has continued to make me smile over the last few tough months, and who knew that the perfect thing to make me feel better was a homemade Karl Urban colouring book! :-)