He sat hunched over in the hard plastic chair, covering his face with his hands. The hurried footsteps of doctors and nurses on the other side of the door and the indistinct voices over the PA system created a counterpoint to his racing heart. The fear hadn't abated since Gyldensted had fired that shot yesterday morning.
Remarkable, really, how focused he'd been through the fear focused enough to take out Gyldensted and four of his men and get 250 out of there alive. Alive oh God
They'd rushed 250 into surgery as soon they'd arrived at the hospital the medical team had been waiting, of course the Boss had alerted them but that felt like an eternity ago, and no one was telling him anything.
He stood and started pacing the quiet hall where they'd told him to wait. He had no idea what the Boss had said so the medical staff would let him stay, but he was grateful for it. It was better to feel helpless and terrified here, where he'd hear right away if anything
whatever there was to hear, than to feel helpless and terrified in his apartment, having no idea when he'd hear anything.
It wasn't like it was the first time he'd been in dangerous situations involving Gyldensted, or seen Gyldensted shoot someone, or even seen Gyldensted injure a fellow agent. But this time had been different when Gyldensted had fired that shot it had triggered a sense of terror and anger and desperation he hadn't known he was capable of feeling.
He heard someone come through the door at the other end of the hall and he spun around, hoping for news, but the nurse walked past him and through the other door without even acknowledging him. He sat down in the chair again, but got back up a second later. He couldn't stay still. He couldn't calm down.
He hated Gyldensted for what he had done. He hated him, and he knew that was dangerous, because being controlled by emotion in his field of work meant you wouldn't do the job long. Just look at what had happened that time when 250 had come to rescue him oh God, why wasn't anyone telling him anything?
When the goons had dragged him into the room and he'd seen 250 sitting there, tied to the chair and looking like he'd been seriously worked over, he'd had a hard time keeping his voice normal above the sharp fear he'd suddenly felt fear for 250, for what might happen. A tiny corner of his mind had wondered at that, because he knew the risks in their line of work and knew that 250 knew them too. But in that instant he also knew he'd be prepared to say or do just about anything to get 250 out of there in one piece.
The fear didn't diminish when he'd finally got 250 out of the building and called the Boss and the police. But he'd tried to keep the fear out of his voice because he could see so much of it in 250's eyes. He'd crouched on the ground next to where 250 was lying, talking to him, trying to keep him calm and alert until the Boss's helicopter showed up. It wasn't until they'd arrived at the hospital and the medical staff had wheeled 250 away that the focus he'd somehow maintained up to then gave way to the terror underneath.
The hallway door swung open and someone in scrubs came towards him. He tried to keep the panic out of his face. "Mr. Lazenby?"
"Yes." (Damn the Boss and her sense of humour she always found the aliases that would piss him off most.)
"The surgery went just fine. We've had Mr. Cruise under observation in intensive care. I'm sorry no one told you anything earlier, but a number of other emergency cases came in not long after you did, including someone with a gunshot wound to the head. You can go visit Mr. Cruise as soon as we're sure he's stable, but that may be a few hours yet. You can wait here if you like, or you can go to the cafeteria and get some coffee or something to eat."
"No, I'll wait here, thank you." The doctor or nurse or messenger angel nodded and went out through the door she'd come in by. He collapsed back into the chair and for the first time noticed how incredibly uncomfortable it was. He didn't care though he'd gladly stay there all night if he had to. Nothing mattered but that 250 had made it through surgery and that he'd be able to see him soon. He smiled thinking of the "Mr. Cruise" he didn't suppose 250 would appreciate that alias any more than he liked "Mr. Lazenby".
I almost lost him, he thought and then became aware of what he'd just thought. Lost him? Lost him? Since when did I have him? In what way is he mine?, he thought, and at the same instant realised: I want him to be mine. God help me, I love him.
Suddenly it all made sense not just the fear and desperation he'd been feeling, but everything why it made him so happy to see 250 in the suit he'd bought him, why he'd wanted to buy him the suit in the first place, even why he'd wanted to teach him to waltz. He wanted to be near him, he wanted to spend time with him, he wanted to touch him and, he realised with a shock, he wanted to do a great deal more than that.
Oh God, he'd only just come to terms with the fact that he felt attracted to Gyldensted. That flirtation seemed foolish now, especially after what Gyldensted had done yesterday, and he knew he could never think of the Dane in that way again. But he'd always been able to console himself with the thought that it was because of Gyldensted's personal charm, regardless of what Yellowfield said that somehow Gyldensted, and he alone, affected him that way.
But that wasn't true anymore, and, he now realised, it never had been. He was unquestionably attracted to women and he had the reputation to prove it, but he could no longer deny that he was attracted to men too. There wasn't any point in trying to say that it was just 250's personal charm. He was honest enough to know his feelings went deeper than that.
And it wasn't just that he'd fallen in love with a man that was hard to grasp it was that he'd fallen in love at all. He'd prided himself on his detachment because he believed it made him better at his job. How could you deal with the people and situations he dealt with on a daily basis if you had loved ones to worry about?
He allowed himself to think for just a second about what it might mean to be in a relationship with his working partner, who he knew cared as much about the mission as he himself did. That might be different somehow they looked out for each other on the job already, and he had to admit he wouldn't have believed he could take out Gyldensted, Cliff, and three goons single-handedly while keeping his partner from getting hurt any worse and without sustaining any serious injuries himself. But apparently love made you capable of miracles.
I really do love him, he said to himself, and for the first time since yesterday morning he felt calm. He finally understood.
"Mr. Lazenby?" He started and looked up at the nurse standing in front of him. "Mr. Lazenby, we've moved Mr. Cruise from intensive care and you can visit him now. He's still under anaesthetic though, so it'll be several hours before he wakes up."
"Thank you." He followed the nurse through several doors, only barely aware of the route they were taking, until she stopped in front of an open doorway and gestured for him to go in.
There was 250, asleep in the bed nearest the door, with an IV tube in his arm and a plaster above his eye. There was a chair against the wall and he brought it close to the bed and sat down. For a minute or two he just looked at the sleeping and very much alive man. Then he gently took 250's left hand in both of his. I'll be here when he wakes up, he thought.