Chapter one

Warm heat radiates off of his skin as I feel him shift,trying to get comfortable again,rolling on his side,half awake,not noticing his IV. I try to help him,being careful to not tangle the iv anymore than he has already,and trying to not right out pull it,lest it comes out. "Easy Ethan,it's just me,it's ok"I murmur as I feel him relax against my touch,he tensed at first,afraid I was someone who would hurt him,I never would,but in this altered state he's not thinking clearly enough to know that. "Jane where am I"he asks quietly, "it's just me,you're in the hospital,your safe,your starting to warm up now,it's been touch and go for awhile,your heart almost stopped as soon as you got here,but they got it under control now,you're going to be fine,I'm going to go get a nurse alright,let her know you're awake alright love"I murmur kissing him on the forehead,then getting up as I feel him grab my hand lightly,and I squeeze it then let go.

I leave the room,closing the door behind me,and Brandt is outside guarding the door,for his safety,and for ours,only certain people are allowed in and out of his room right now,which is good,it's what is needed right now. "He awake"he asks softly,wanting to know, "yeah he is,I'm going to go get the nurse,so she can come take a look at him"I say, "Ok"he murmurs softly,returning his focus to guarding his post. I walk down the quiet white hallway,it's late at night,most everyone is asleep,except for doctors and nurses. I get to the desk,and get the nurses attention,and I tell her what's going on. She comes around the desk,notifying a doctor,and we go down the hall together to his room. We get to his door,and we go inside,I go back to sitting on the chair by his bed. He needs someone to help advocate for him right now,he can't do this by himself,nor will I let him,he needs me.

The doctor introduces herself as she puts on gloves,it's a different doctor from his first one,but she went off shift at 10,and it's 12 now. She seems nice enough,I feel like we can trust her,and that she'll take good care of him. "Ok Ethan,I'm going to get your temperature real quick alright,I need to see if it's come up anymore from a few hours ago"she asks him gently, "OK"he murmurs,not too entirely keen on this,he's embarrassed and exposed,he's vulnerable,but he knows he needs to this,no matter how much he doesn't want to. I move closer to him,looking at the doctor for permission,and she gives it to me,so I sit on the bed,carding a hand through his hair,getting him to look at me with blue green eyes,getting his focus on me. I see her put a hand on his hip,and I feel him reach for my hand,so I hold it tight. It's hard seeing him be this vulnerable,he's the leader,he's always in charge,not ever showing weakness,it's hard having the roles be reversed,where he needs me to be the strong one,to help him through this.

I continue to hold him tight as I see her pull out the thermometer,and I card a hand through his hair,giving him something to focus on. I feel him tense as she gets it in,god it's hurting him,I talk to him quietly,keeping him calm,and before I know it it's over. "You did great honey,your temperature is up,we're at 95 degrees now,that's better than before,you were down to 84 when you got here,I'm going to get you on your back alright,we'll take it slow,we'll need to watch your heart rate,it may dip for a moment due to movement"she murmurs as he nods,ready for us to help him. It's sorta scary to think his heart could dip,but I know the doctor knows what to do if something does happen. She has the nurse come over,and she grabs his legs gently,the doctor does the same with his shoulders,and I grab his hip gently. We move him as a unit,I can hear the machine beeping,letting us know his heart rate is going down,and then we get him on his back,and it quiets down,it's back to more or less normal. "Easy,take in some breaths Ethan,it's OK,your OK now"she murmurs softly as i see her take his wrist in her hand,checking his pulse. He takes in some steadying breaths,wincing at the warmth,he has an oxygen canuala running under his nose,providing warm air to his lungs. "OK,I'm going to lift your gown for a moment alright,I need to check something"she murmurs softly,as he nods,too tired to respond verbally.

I see her pull the blanket down,and lift his gown,then I turn to face the wall,he deserves some sense of decency,and privacy,hell knows he's not going to get much of it in the next several days. I know what she's checking,the other doctor told me he had a catheter,to help warm him up by putting warm water into his bladder. Before I know it she's finished,and I turn around as she tells me to call if we need anything,but that she'll be back in another hour or so. I nod in response,then go back over to him,sitting on the chair beside his bed,and taking his warm hand in mine and I feel him squeeze it lightly. It was a close one today,we almost lost him,he fell through the ice on that lake,trying to go after the suspect. Brandt and I got him out,got the suspect out too,and got him arrested,and where he needed to be. We got him out of there as soon as we could,he was hypothermic,the helicopter came,and we got him on a stretcher,and high tailed it to the hospital. It was a rough ride,I went with him,Benji and Brandt drove,only room for one of us to go with him.

"mm"I hear him murmur,which clues me in that he's in pain,and trying to express that in the only way he knows how right now. "Are you in pain babe,I can give you some more medicine"I ask as I feel him squeeze my hand lightly, "a little bit,I'm not comfortable"he murmurs admitting defeat,a rarity for him. "Ok,I'm going to push the pump alright,it'll give you some more medicine,then you should be able to sleep"I murmur,looking into his eyes for coherency,and he nods. I push the button for the pump,and almost immediately I see him relax,the pain dissipating for the moment,meaning he can get some much needed sleep. Once I'm sure he's asleep,and not faking,in the way that he does sometimes,I get up on the bed beside him,lay down,and I start to rub his back gently as I grab the remote for the tv. I find a news channel,and leave it on there.

I don't pay much attention to it,my focus more on watching him and taking him in. This is the first time I've been truly alone with him since all this happened,and It hits me how as much as he's hardened and a leader,he's still innocent,despite the hell he's been through,the bad dreams that mar his sleep at times,he still looks innocent,especially when he's asleep. He may seem hard,but he still has boyish charm,which is his saving grace as far as getting out of situations. He still needs us,he may not act like it at times,but he needs are support,he needs our protection,like we need his at times,and that's what matters most right now. We just need to be there for him as he recovers,help him as he lets us,and try not to push him too much,which I certainly plan to do.