A beeping noise pierced through the silence of sleep, and roused Will from his slumber. Regaining consciousness was slow, like trudging through a thick sludge towards the sound. He was awake before he realised it, and he reacted without thought, trying to open his eyes. His lids were like weights, and when he finally managed to crack his eyes open, the brightness of the room made them water. Everything was a blur of light, and after a few pained blinks, he gave up on trying to see, letting his eyes fall shut.
Will tried to speak, but there was something in his throat, and all he could do was groan. A wave of panic rose up in his chest, along an exhaustion that threatened to drag him back into darkness. He willed his fingers to move, and was dully surprised by a warm hand grasping his. He held onto the hand like a lifeline, energy bleeding from him.
"Nurse!" a frantic voice called somewhere in the distance, "Nurse!"
There was a fluttering of activity around him, and Will tried once again to open his eyes, but they were too heavy. The sounds began to fade around him and he struggled to stay afloat, but the darkness swallowed him and he slipped back into oblivion.
The next time he woke, it was to the sound of voices in the hall. It was dark, and he could see figures silhouetted against the light of the door. The thing in his throat was gone, and his mouth was dry and tasted stale. Will licked his lips, though that did little good, and tried to call out.
"Hello?" the question was barely a rasp, and tickled in his throat. He coughed to clear it, then immediately regretted it; pain flared in his stomach, and tears sprang to his eyes.
Too preoccupied with the pain, he didn't notice that the figures in the doorway had moved into the room.
"Here," a familiar voice said, and Will found a cup with a straw presented to him. He wrapped his lips around the straw and sucked, the water a blissful and cool balm for his throat. He drank his fill, glancing at the hands holding the cup. There was a gaudy ring on one finger that Will recognised, and he looked up in surprise.
"Chilton?" he asked, and his voice was still strained, but his throat didn't burn.
The man above him shuffled uncomfortably. His face was partially obscured by crisp white bandages, and his beard had grown out. Oddly enough, it was Chilton, and not Will, who was avoiding eye contact. Will's thoughts were interrupted by another voice.
"Hello Will," Will turned his head to look at the other man at his bed.
"I'm Doctor Wilson. How are you feeling?"
"Like shit," Will replied. And he did. The fog in his head was dissipating, and with its absence came the memories of what had happened. He felt ill.
"Abigail?" he asked, already knowing the answer. The doctor shook his head and Will swallowed hard.
"What about Jack? And Alana?"
"Detective Crawford is in a coma," the doctor started, and Will was glad for his bluntness, "He lost a lot of blood, but he is recovering slowly. Ms. Bloom, she's awake, but suffered injuries to her spinal cord, as well as a concussion, and she fractured several ribs. I don't know if she'll walk again."
Will's heart dropped at the news, and he clenched his fists. The doctor allowed him a moment before continuing.
"You have been extremely lucky with your injury; the knife missed your vital organs, and now that you've woken up, you should heal up quite well."
Will scoffed, his throat tight, "Luck had nothing to do with it. Ha-" he couldn't bring himself to say his name, "He wanted me to live. He wanted me broken."
There was an uncomfortable silence, and Will sighed, glancing over to where Chilton had wandered off to stare at a random poster on the wall.
"We need to keep you here for at least another week, then you should be set to go home. How's the pain?"
The dull throb in the periphery of his consciousness had been there since waking, but Will had not noticed it at first. There was a pull at his gut with every breath, but besides being unpleasant, it was easily bearable.
"It's fine," he replied.
"I think Dr. Chilton has something he wants to speak to you about, so I'll leave you be," the doctor then addressed Chilton, "Please keep this short. Mr. Graham needs his rest."
With that, the doctor left, and an awkward silence fell over the two men.
"I fed your dogs, and let them out. Um, I got the key from under your mat, but you can have it back-"
"Why are you here?" Will interrupted, not caring that he was being rude. Chilton grabbed a chair from the corner of the room and dragged it to Will's bedside. Taking a seat, he looked at his hands and spoke.
"When I woke up, I was alone. At first I didn't remember what had happened. There were tubes in my mouth and bandages on my face and I was hooked up to all sorts of machines. It reminded me of when Gideon- I thought I was-" he cut off, looking up at Will, "When I heard what happened- I knew you'd have no one there, and I know what it's like to wake up to an empty room."
Will scrutinised Chilton for a moment. Surprisingly, he believed him.
"So you weren't here to study me while I was incapacitated?"
Chilton spluttered and Will gave a small smile, "I'm kidding."
"Who knew Will Graham had a sense of humour?" Chilton said, his face turning red.
"After everything that's happened?" Will's smile dropped, "I think everyone could use a little humour."
Chilton nodded, his expression melancholic.
"Not to mention," Will continued, "I think the painkillers are making me a little loopy."
Chilton chuckled weakly at that, and Will appreciated the effort.
"Thank you for taking care of my dogs."
They were silent for a moment, and Will sighed, shifting in the bed. He felt heavy and sluggish- even his thoughts seemed slow. His eyelids drooped, and he fought to keep his eyes open.
"Do you want me to go?"
Will opened his eyes, not realising they'd fallen shut. Chilton looked uncomfortable, and Will realised that Chilton didn't want to leave. It was understandable, Will could see he had nowhere to go.
"Stay," Will said, leaning his head back and sighing, "I don't want to be alone."
He closed his eyes once again, letting the exhaustion he felt seep into his bones and pull him under.