Henrik returns home with an ache in his chest and a heaviness in his body.

All he can think about is how Sahira is gone. She's actually, truly gone.

Except she's not, really, is she? She's still living, after all. She's just left. Left, with Rafi and her children, to live a much happier life away from here. A life without him. She finally stopped making empty threats and just did it, she went and abandoned him and—

"No," he tells himself out loud, teeth gritted. He brought this on himself. He knows full well that he did.

He kicks off his shoes. Then he tugs his jacket off, quickly and messily, and unties his tie. He shoves them both onto the sofa without thinking. Something inside him is burning, in a way he hasn't felt in years. It's been burning most of the day. He counts himself lucky he managed to avoid throwing a full-blown tantrum at work. (Pathetic, his brain reminds him. That should never have been something you had to worry about. Everyone else grows out of it by 5, now you're going on 50 and have to worry about whether other people will see you yelling and crying at work.)

He's angry. At himself? Sahira? The situation as a whole? All three? He doesn't know.

What he does know is that this is wrong. Things weren't supposed to go like this. He isn't quite sure how they were supposed to go, but it's not this way. He was supposed to have this all under control.

A therapist of his once called him a control freak and said he couldn't deal with not getting his way. He thinks she might have been right, seeing as he's here, tempted to tear up the whole house because… because what? Because Sahira got tired of him after he spent months treating her like dirt under his shoe and then occasionally giving her gifts as if that would make up for it?

Some part of him, he thinks, knew it would end this way. When doesn't it? When don't those who get close to him get fed up and leave, if he doesn't leave them first because he simply doesn't know how to get close to anyone?

And yet, his brain is screaming.

She wasn't supposed to do this. She wasn't supposed to do this. She wasn't supposed to do this she wasn't supposed to do this she wasn't supposed to

He lets out a yell of frustration and punches the wall. He barely recognises himself doing it over the pounding noise in his head of this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.

He takes a book from his coffee table and throws it. He picks it up. Throws it again. He just needs to destroy something. To have some power again.

He's somewhere in the middle of picking up a cushion off the sofa when he stops and suddenly a wave of something else entirely overcomes him. With it comes exhaustion. He drops the cushion back down and, once he's set it just right again, collapses onto the sofa. The artificial light that wasn't bothering him when he came in here is suddenly making his eyes ache, but he doesn't have the energy to get up and fix it. Everything just feels… terrible.

He thinks it's finally hit him that she isn't coming back.

He could try to make contact, he supposes, but it would be useless. Her words echo in his head:

'No. Don't. Don't email me, don't write to me, don't send me your research papers for proofreading, because I'm not interested. Just crawl back into your little private isolated hell and let's pretend we were never friends.

We were never friends.'

It's the punishment he deserves, really.

If he were a better person, Sahira wouldn't have left. Perhaps she was right about him being, as she so coldly put it, an emotionless freak. (That one instance of coldness, he reminds himself, was nothing compared to the way he treated her, over and over and over.) She's far from the first person to accuse him of such, after all.

Though, he thinks, if he were emotionless, he wouldn't have thrown such a fit about her leaving. He wouldn't have that burning in his chest, surely, nor these tears trying to fight their way out from behind his eyes. So maybe it's not that he's emotionless, per se. He's just selfish. Devoid of any empathy for others. He didn't feel anything for the pain he put Sahira through except when it backfired on him.

He didn't enjoy it, inflicting that pain on her: not the way she said he did. But he doesn't recall feeling terrible for it, either. He doesn't know if that apathy is better or worse than if he truly did take pleasure in hurting others. At least then maybe he wouldn't care; he wouldn't feel bad for being so horrible, yet find himself unable to change.

And that's it, isn't it? He can't change. He's tried to, over and over again, but it's never good enough. He lapses back into old habits sooner or later. (Usually sooner.) He's never been able to give anyone in his life what they need. Maja needed a good partner, not someone who ran away when things got too serious. His son needed a good father, not one who abandoned him before he was even born and hasn't made any attempt at contact since either. John needed someone capable of loving him. And Sahira needed a friendly mentor, not a sociopathic manipulator who was too possessive of her and too jealous of her husband for his own good.

(That last thought makes him recall the question Sahira asked him in his office earlier, about whether he was in love with her. He'd dismissed it as ridiculous at the time, but now he wonders if she might have been correct, if he had indeed fallen for her and that's why he wanted her all to himself. That sounds about right for someone like him, anyway: a selfish kind of love, based solely on what benefits he gets out of it.)

If there's one thing he's good at, it's letting people down. He wishes he could disappear, sometimes. No one would notice his absence, apart from having to find a new CEO for the hospital - and there are plenty of people out there who could do a better job in the position than he does. There are plenty of surgeons more talented than him out there, too. And nobody would miss him as a friend.

(He tries to ignore the sense of loneliness that washes over him as he thinks about that.)

The utter lethargy he feels doesn't seem to let up for the rest of the evening, so he gives in and calls it a night early, in the end. It will quell the exhaustion, if nothing else. He hopes that, when he wakes up, the flood of thoughts and feelings overpowering his mind will have eased too.