Jake only realized that he must have blacked out at some point when, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, but what in reality must have been several minutes at the very least, his surroundings changed radically. At the time however, he barely noticed, because something else shifted, too. The nagging emptiness inside his mind that had been there ever since he'd regained consciousness was gone. The change puzzled him for a moment until he realized what was going on. He remembered everything, even the bits about his time in the basement that he would have been only too happy to forget.
Right then and there, despite the pain he was in, despite everything that was still wrong, he felt giddy with joy and relief. The sensation only lasted a second, but in that second, everything was all right in the world. However, as his memories slid more and more into place, he also started to realize their significance.
He now distinctly remembered Leslie Bennett standing in his hospital room, wearing a vest strapped with explosives and aiming a gun at him. That didn't make any sense whatsoever. He briefly considered that he might have hallucinated the entire incident but somehow he didn't think so. There had to be another explanation and he was going to find it.
It was at that point that he started paying more attention to the world around him. Gone was the hospital room and the woman who had looked exactly like Leslie Bennett. In their place were a series of floating lights. When a face suddenly appeared in between the floating lights, Jake realized that he was looking at the ceiling. Maybe he had hit his head a little hard after all, he wondered.
"Mr Doyle," the face was saying, "Good to see you're with us again."
"What's going on?" Jake asked, surprised to find his voice slightly slurred.
"You're being transferred to another hospital," the face announced dispassionately. Before Jake could say another word, the face was joined by a hand and a blinding light appeared in his field of vision.
"Ow!" he protested and tried to swat away the light. However, his movements were sluggish and he missed. Before long the penlight had vanished again. The latent headache it had awoken however seemed to be there to stay. Jake wasn't one to be deterred by that though.
"I need to talk to the police," he tried again.
"Don't worry, Mr Doyle," a different voice reassured him. "It's all being taken care of. The woman who attacked you has been taken into custody, from what I've heard."
"What!? That can't be right!" Jake protested. He tried to sit up, but found himself restrained from doing so.
"Please, calm down," the face-voice from earlier was back, "You're safe now."
The unexpected change in the ceiling which was still pretty much the only thing he could see, from a series of lights in an off-white ceiling to an overcast, leaden sky, temporarily distracted Jake, but it wasn't long before he renewed his quest to get this mess straightened out, even if he didn't really understand all of it yet.
"Please, I really need to talk to the police," he tried again.
This time, he was ignored entirely, and only caught one of the voices saying something about a concussion. Great, they thought he was delirious! They were never going to take him seriously. Well, he thought, if the police wasn't going to come to him, he would have to go to them. While he didn't really feel like he was in the shape to go anywhere, he was sure that he could manage something.
He was about to put his plan into motion when his view changed once again and he realized that he was now inside an ambulance, effectively making it much harder if not impossible for him to go anywhere, at least in his present condition.
Sooner or later, the police would be 'round to see him, if only to get his statement of what had happened. He hated that there was nothing he could do to get all this sorted out sooner, but as even the small effort he had exerted since he'd regained consciousness had tired him out, he didn't have much choice but to lie back and wait, literally.
As Hood had predicted, questioning Des had been no easy task. Time after time, he had found himself trying to steer the young man back on track after he'd lost himself on some random tangent. If all the witnesses were like this, he thought, he would have gone insane long before he'd made sergeant. The upshot of Des' testimony, as lengthy the process of obtaining it had been, was simple enough. He had seen an object which he couldn't describe any more accurately other to say that it had been irregular in shape and dark in colour had been in the air one instant and exploded the next. The whole thing didn't seem to make a lot of sense, but after Tinny essentially confirmed his story, adding that someone had thrown the object, whatever it really had been, from a window in the fourthfloor, Hood was starting to believe that that was really what had happened, for reasons that remained to be determined. Another piece of information he had gathered, that bore no relation to the ongoing case, was that Mal was expected to recover, even though he had been hurt rather badly apparently.
At least that was what he had gotten out of Tinny, who had been rather mono-syllabic in her answers and also visibly shaken up. The stories of two further witnesses revealed nothing new, as all they hadn't really seen anything. The first clue they had had that anything was going on, was when the explosion had occurred. Nobody, so far, had been able to give any indication of a suspect, but if Tinny was right and the bomb had been tossed from a window then he was looking in the wrong place for the perpetrator.
After concluding his round of interviews, he walked back over to the security officer, who by then had been joined by one of his coworkers.
"Any news?" he asked casually.
"Seems like you guys made an arrest already," the newcomer related excitedly. "Just heard it on my way over. It's crazy, right? To think a copper would try and blow up the hospital. They must have been insane or something."
Hood frowned. That made even less sense than anything else about this case. He had no illusions about the fact that there were indeed shady elements on the force but he doubted that anyone would go as far as to try and bomb the hospital. The two security guards had already continued their animated conversation so Hood slipped out of the tent, resigned to reporting back to the mobile command center. Even if there had been an arrest in the matter, if it came that early on, the process of digging into the suspect's life was only just beginning and there would be plenty more work to be done.
Hood had barely come within sight of the mobile command center when an officer hurriedly came toward him. "Sergeant Daniel Hood?" the young constable questioned.
"Yes, that's me," Hood replied, slightly puzzled
"Inspector Beech would like have a word with you, sir." It took Hood a second to process the name. Beech was the inspector heading the terrorism task force. He wondered what on earth he might want with him.
"Okay," Hood said anyway and nodded. "Where can I find him?"
"If you'd come with me please. He asked me to take you to him at Radcliffe Infirmary immediately."
Hood raised an eyebrow. "What's at Radcliffe Infirmary?"
The constable hesitated. "I don't know sir, all I'm told was to find you and take you there."
This was getting stranger and stranger as far as Hood was concerned and he was starting to get a bad feeling about it all. Still, it didn't look like he had much choice in the matter.
"Lead the way," he told the constable.
Once Tinny and Des had been interviewed by Sergeant Hood and patched up by the medics in a makeshift tent near the hospital, they were handed the card of a trauma counselor and sent on their way. Not sure what to do next and privately still reeling from the events of the morning, Tinny simply followed Des out of the tent and off the hospital premises, without really thinking. However, when Des stopped dead on a sidewalk nearby, leaning against a lamppost with a sigh, she realized he was just as clueless as she was.
Not willing to admit as much however, Tinny asked instead: "Do you think they're okay?"
It was a pointless question, but she didn't like the tense silence that had spread between them once again and she was in no mood to tackle the real issues at hand, both practical and interpersonal.
Des simply shrugged, not that she really had had any realistic expectations of an answer.
For a while Tinny remained silent, studying the asphalt at her feet. She felt tired, sore and confused. All she really wanted was to crawl back into bed and start this day over again. Seeing as that wasn't an option - damn the laws of physics - eventually, she looked back up at Des, who was staring at the stream of cars on the road, looking as though he wasn't really seeing any of them. He looked as worn out as she felt. Since they couldn't stand there forever, Tinny made a decision.
"Come on," she said. When Des didn't react, she gently tugged at his sleeve.
Des startled, as if he had been dozing.
"We need to go home," Tinny said with far more confidence than she felt.
"Why?" Des asked, his voice sounding very far away.
"Why?" Tinny echoed, speechless for a moment. "Because we can't stand here forever. That's why."
It was the best reason she could come up with in that moment. She wasn't even sure it was what she wanted. She knew they couldn't stay there on the sidewalk, but leaving somehow felt like they were abandoning the rest of their family.
"We need to get going," she repeated nonetheless with emphasis.
Des made a careless motion with his head that might have been a nod, and slowly, they began walking toward the nearest bus stop in silence.
The world Leslie woke up to was a strangely quiet one, compared to the circumstance under which she had last seen it, and for a few moments she just enjoyed the quiet. She wasn't yet fully conscious, but aware enough to sense that she was warm and relatively pain free. The peace didn't last long because as her awareness of her surroundings increased so did the memory of what had happened return. The memory of what she had done. It was like an ice cold shower that instantly rendered her fully awake. She glanced around the dimly lit hospital room she found herself in. Much to her surprise, all she could see was darkness outside. Night had fallen. She had to have been out for the better part of a day. She wondered what exactly had happened during those missing hours.
A thick bandage had replaced her makeshift efforts on her left upper arm and her right wrist had also been wrapped. As she sat up, her ribs reminded her painfully that she hadn't escaped the blast unscathed after all, although the pain she felt was no doubt being alleviated by whatever painkillers she had been given.
At that moment, the door opened and a nurse entered.
"Oh, you're awake Miss Bennett. How do you feel?" she asked. Her tone appeared silted and something in her manner came across as hesitant.
"Not too bad, considering," Leslie replied. "Listen, is there any way I can get to a phone?" she asked.
She needed to find out what had happened. Not just to Jake, but to the second bomb.
If Sydney had detonated it and people had been hurt or killed than she wasn't sure she would ever be able to forgive herself.
The nurse hesitated and avoided Leslie's gaze when she answered: "I don't think that's going to be possible right now. There is someone from the police waiting to speak to you."
Leslie nodded. That was to be expected. Her colleagues were bound to have questions. Not only about the incident at the hospital, but also about the murder of Sergeant Kelly and her subsequent disappearance. Although she was innocent where that was concerned, she wasn't so sure what internal affairs would think about her actions at the hospital. It was possible that she would lose her job or at least be assigned a desk position over this. But right now, that mattered little to her. She loved her job dearly, but she could earn a living doing something else. Living with innocent deaths on her conscience however would be far more difficult.
The nurse had either taken her silence as a sign of agreement or else didn't care one way or the other, because the next time Leslie looked up, a man had entered the room. By the way he carried himself, she could tell he was there on official business.