They all walked into the hospital at eight the next morning. They made their way up to the cardiac ICU and Eliot enquired at the nurses' desk what the condition of Nathan Ford was.
"Well let's see. Ah yes Mr Ford. Well he had a good night. In fact he regained consciousness at three am. He was a little combative wanting to know about his family and somebody called Sophie."
"That would be me…us." Sophie said smiling, Nate had woken up that was a very good sign, and he had asked about them, her.
"Oh I see. Well he is sleeping again now so if you just take a seat I will get the doctor to see you and then he will let you know when you can go in to see him." She smiled at them.
They all took a seat their moods lifted by the fact that Nate had woken up and was asking for them. The doctor made his appearance ten minutes later.
"Good morning Mrs Ford." He said as he approached them.
"Well Mrs Ford your husband is doing well, in fact we are going to move him out of ICU this afternoon into his own room. He is sleeping right now, but you can go in to see him if you would like. He did wake during the night and was asking after all of you. I would request just you in the ICU please Mrs Ford, the rest of you can see him once he is in his own room."
"Thank you doctor." Sophie said smiling sweetly at him. Nate was doing well, they were moving him to his own room and that was great news.
Sophie was allowed to go in five minutes later. She walked into the ICU and straight to Nate's bedside. He only had the heart monitor and automatic blood pressure machine hooked up to him. To her he looked peaceful as he lay asleep in the bed. She bent over and placed a soft kiss on his lips.
"Nate darling I am here, we are all here." She said moving his curly locks from his forehead. "You had me scared Nate, I thought I had lost you. Don't you ever do that to me again you hear me." She said taking his hand. She stood there just watching him until the nurse told her she would have to leave. She nodded, leaned in and gave Nate another soft kiss and told him they would all be outside.
"How does he look?" Parker asked her as she came out of the ICU.
"He looks fine Parker, just fine." Sophie smiled at the young Thief.
Eliot asked when Nate was being moved to his room and which room, the nurse gave him the details and then they decided to go down to the canteen for breakfast before returning to see how things were going. It would not help just sitting in the waiting room. Once they had finished they returned to the ICU waiting room so that they would be ready to make the journey with him to his room. Sterling came round to enquire on Nates condition and then left again after spending about a half hour talking to all of them.
An hour later the doctor told them they would be moving Nate to his room and they would be informed once he was there and they could go in to see him. Twenty minutes later they were all in the room with him lined up at his bed. He was still sleeping but that was fine, as long as he was breathing they were happy.
Nate eventually opened his eyes two hours later. He did not move just allowing his eyes to become accustomed to the light in the room.
"Welcome back Nate." Sophie said leaning in and kissing him softly.
"Hey…hey Sophie." He said his voice hoarse.
"Bout time you woke up." Eliot said holding a glass of water with a straw in it to him.
Nate took a sip and nodded gratefully to Eliot.
"How long, what happened?"
"Sterling came in and Jenifer is dead so is Jacob and everything is finished." Parker said summing everything up for him in one sentence.
"Yes, so by the way what is Nassar?" Hardison asked, it had been bugging him and he had not been able to find anything out about it even with all his digging.
"Long story." Nate said and smiled at the Hitter. "So it is done."
"Yes and now you are going to do exactly what the doctor says, you are going to stay here for as long as he says, and then you are going to take as much time as is needed to heal." Sophie said pre-empting what she knew was coming from Nate.
Nate looked at her and knotted his eyebrows. He was going to tell them he was feeling fine now and could recover better at home than in a hospital, he hated hospitals.
"So how is my patient?" The doctor said as he entered the room stopping the conversation.
"Fine doctor." Nate replied.
"Well let's see here." The doctor said coming forward and looking at the file at the bottom of Nates bed and then at the monitors. "Well everything looks good. You are a very lucky man Mr Ford."
"So I am going to keep you here for at least a week…"
Nate opened his mouth but Sophie put her hand on his and smiled at him. He shut his mouth again and looked at the doctor.
"Then you will be on bed rest for at least two weeks then you can start with light exercise. I cannot stress how important it is that you do not over excerpt yourself for at least a month and then only mild exercise and try to keep the stress levels as low as possible."
"We will make sure Nate obeys all instructions won't we guys?" Sophie asked feeling Nates eyes on her but getting enthusiastic nods from the rest of the team. "He knows how important he is to us and he won't take any more chances with his life."
"Good well I will be back tomorrow to check on your progress." The doctor said writing some notes on the chart and then leaving the room.
"I don't want to hear it Nate. You will do what the doctor says, you will follow every instruction do you understand."
"And if you don't I can always make you." Eliot added.
"Yeah man you cornered now because Parker and I are on their side." Hardison said looking at the Mastermind.
Nate looked at all of them and smiled. Well maybe doing nothing and being served hand and foot would not be a bad thing.
"Ok…ok I get it, I will be a good boy."
"Thank you… you won't regret it." Sophie said leaning in for a kiss. Nate wrapped his arms around her pulling her closer and deepening the kiss.
"Hey, hey…" Hardison said jokingly. "You all are nasty."
"I think we are going to go…and do the thing…" Eliot said heading to the door motioning to the two younger members that they should leave.
"The thing…" Parker asked.
"Yes Parker." Eliot growled out.
"Oh…oh the thing yeah…" Hardison said taking Parkers hand and pulling her along with him.
"See you guys later." Parker said as Hardison pulled her out the door and Eliot closed it behind her.
"Alone at last." Nate said watching them go and then turning to Sophie.
"You scared me you know."
"I love you Nathan Ford."
"Mm I love you too Sophie." He said taking her hand and pulling her closer again.
"We have to talk about this Nate. This is becoming a habit, one I like even less than your drinking."
Nate just looked at her not knowing what to say. He had taken a few hits lately and he knew that it upset Sophie every time he put himself in harm's way, but that was the job.
"What are you thinking Nate?"
"I'm thinking I love you Sophie. That I am sorry I put through this." Nate said then drew a deep breath. "I'm thinking that I can try to…well take less unnecessary risks."
"That is all I ask Nate. Let Eliot do his job, he is the Hitter not you."
"Yes I can do that." Nate said softly pulling her into a kiss.
"Good. Now I think it is time for you to get some rest again, you heard what the doctor said and you are going to do exactly what he said aren't you?"
"Yes boss." Nate smiled at her and allowed her to help in into a more comfortable position.
"Good now get some rest." She said sitting down next to him but not letting his hand go. Nate closed his eyes and after a few minutes had drifted back off to sleep.
Ok so that is the end of this story. I am writing an alternative to this where Nate walks away from the team and the consequences of that, instead of the team walking away from him. I hope you enjoyed this one and will enjoy the next one. Thanks for reading.