Author: susieq666 PM
A sequel to 'Can't Do This Anymore'. Not sure where we're going to go with this, but couldn't leave him crying on the beach. Horatio is in limbo, doesn't know if he even has a job anymore. He struggles with thoughts of his future, possible retirement... And his health, which he might like to ignore, but can't.Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst - Horatio C. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 8,518 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 07-03-12 - Published: 06-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8260868
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"So what happened? And why was it my fault?" Horatio asked, as they sat outside a small bistro near Headquarters.
"Long story… I went into the Chief's office… just after your meeting with him… And he had your gun and badge on his desk - I didn't know they were yours then… But he had this really self-satisfied look on his face, and he said 'I think we've got rid of him' - you, that is. And it all sort of clicked into place. I wanted to hit him."
"Only verbally. I yelled and screamed at him. I mean, I knew you'd gotten under his skin… very insecure man… He basically knew you were a lot more talented than him… But I couldn't believe what he'd done to you. That job was yours, no question…"
"Clearly not. It still isn't."
"Really? That's just bureaucracy… well, I hope that's all it is." She frowned, silent for a moment. "You know how discreet I am…" A wry smile crossed her face, "so I'll tell you what I know."
"Tell me about you first. You got fired?"
"There and then. I was so mad, I went to the Director. Not about my job. About yours. I threatened to go to the media. And… as you know… all hell broke loose… Anyway, I got my job back - well, slightly different job - I'm working for the Deputy Director now. John Milton got called in to sort out the mess…" She paused. "What I can't understand is how there was any question over your position… There was a short-list of people to run the lab… they sort of have to go through the motions of a selection process…"
He ignored her last remarks. "You sure things are okay for you now?"
"They're fine. But not for you apparently… This short-list… It was whittled down to you and Alec De Santos. The Chief - ex-Chief, I should say - wanted De Santos… but it wasn't going to happen…"
"Why not? He's a good man."
"Well, primarily because no one else wanted him. As I said, they were going through the motions, but the job was yours, it was assumed. And De Santos wasn't keen to come - he wanted far too much in terms of relocation expenses - particular schools for his kids, that sort of thing. Anyway, everyone except Hernandez wanted you."
"How do you know all this?"
"I'm in all the meetings. They kind of forget I'm there." She chuckled. "Or maybe they rely on my discretion. And I would be, Horatio… if he hadn't done what he did."
"I know. Go on…"
"Well, it was all okay… more or less… till the Chief brought up…" She stopped, then continued more softly. "Stuff I assumed he was making up… That you were ill, and unfit to take on a high-powered job at all… You're not, are you?"
"Not ill. Minor stuff…"
She nodded thoughtfully. "Anyway… Just after that… there was your meeting with him… and everything blew up. What minor stuff?" She blushed. "Sorry, not my business."
He reached across the table and squeezed her hand. "After everything you've done for me, it can be your business. It's just very boring."
Horatio sighed, but briefly summarised his health problems. "But… hospital next week… should sort it out."
"But they haven't given you the job yet?"
He shook his head. "I wish they'd tell me. One way or another."
"I'm sure it is just the bureaucracy in this place. They were a bit thrown by what happened, but it's still got to be you. It's obvious. I mean, who else?"
"I appreciate your faith in me… Though they seem to want me to stay out of the way for a month or so."
"Long time though - their excuse is the work on the lab…"
"Well, that's reasonable. You don't want to be there while it's in a state of upheaval. But they should tell you what's going to happen. Perhaps I could find out…"
"No, you couldn't. You've taken more than enough risks for me. I'll be all right. Just want to get this wretched hospital stuff over…"
He thought everyone had rather underplayed the angioplasty. True, there wasn't any real pain, and, if there had been, he could have handled it. But he found the whole business deeply unpleasant. Sedated, but conscious, he was invited to watch the screens as the catheter was manouvered through his arteries. He wasn't squeamish, and it provided some interest during the ninety-minute procedure, but he suffered several bouts of nausea and even faintness from the peculiar sensations he was experiencing. They said it was normal, paused, wiped the sweat from him… But he was relieved when it was over, and he was in bed in a private room.
Still sedated, he slept easily.
The following morning, they got him on his feet, and he discovered that John Milton was right. He felt as if he'd been kicked in the balls.
The very attractive nurse who was tending him, chuckled. "It's just bruising. You're probably a bit swollen. As long as you're not bleeding."
He felt the dressing quickly. Before she did. "I'm not bleeding."
"How does your chest feel?"
"Fine. Bit bruised…"
"Walk with me. Just down the corridor. We need to get the circulation going."
It hurt. To walk, to sit… In fact, everything but lying flat on his back. That was how Kyle found him.
"Dad, they say I can take you home. How was it?"
"'It' was fine. Just having trouble walking…"
"Why? Is your heart…?"
Horatio smiled. "Heart's fine. It's more the route they chose to get to it…" At Kyle's puzzled look, he added, "Where are the arteries near the surface?"
"Oh Dad… Oh, yuck… I wish you hadn't told me that!"
"So you need to drive me very gently home… No bumps, no sharp cornering. Okay?" He held out a hand.