Kidman watched the corridor carefully and waited until the last nurse had vacated, before she stepped out from where she had been hiding out of sight in the empty lounge. She had traded out her rather noisy heels for a much quieter pair of flats on the drive over- and she had done so with the purpose of keeping herself as quiet as possible. Although she had done her research and knew that none of the nurses would be back in this hallway for at least half an hour; which gave her plenty of time to do what she needed to do. Not that she would have a problem with running into any of the nurses… she just didn't want to waste her time dealing with them.

It would just be much easier if no one saw her here.

It'd be easier if no one told them that she had dropped by…

She should've already been gone by now, but she couldn't leave with a good conscious without knowing if they had made it; she needed to know that they were being taken care of.

She at least owed them that…

Coming up to the room number she had written down, she checked the hallway one more time before she quietly stepped in and eased the door closed behind her. She hadn't considered what she would do if someone else had also decided to sneak into the same room, but thankfully she didn't have to. There was no one else in here but her.

She was surprised there weren't police guards posted all over the place, or at least outside of this room. Then again, after the mess that was discovered at the asylum, almost all available units were either at the scene or out on the streets patrolling. She had heard the police sirens blaring all over town on the drive over here.

It didn't matter, she supposed; he would be fine until morning anyways...

The room was dark with the exception of a dim light above the door- no doubt for the tired nurses on the night shift.

She kept her steps soft and slow as she gradually walked over to his bedside and looked at the machine next to him. There were all sorts of needles and tubes that connected his body to the device, allowing the single screen to show off multiple readings.

It was good to see a stable heart rate again- although his blood pressure was a little high, but it was understandable. It was hard to believe that just a few hours ago, everything was completely opposite of how it was now...

She could still hear that machine beeping wildly at her as his readings plummeted and only continued to fall every ten seconds.

She remembered coming out of STEM in time to see the blood pumping out of his chest; she remembered numbly watching the crimson liquid spill out into the water around him- quickly turning the tub into a gruesome sight. His body gasped and wheezed as the unknown pain erupted across his chest and filled him with nothing else but agony.

Injuries obtained in that world very rarely carried over into reality; most of the patients who failed to survive in the other world merely suffered cardiac arrest and then quietly passed on. It was a far more peaceful route and left little evidence behind for anyone who might stumble across the bodies. But... that wasn't to say it was impossible. They didn't have enough situations, or enough evidence to properly understand the circumstances that would create such a result.

She theorized that perhaps she had something to do with it.

She had a stronger link to the real world, she could openly connect and disconnect at will... so maybe, somehow she ultimately affected his form in the STEM world; maybe she somehow drew his two bodies together by mistake.

It was hard to think on and difficult to explain- and it didn't even matter at this point.

What was done, was done.

There was no going back.

She pulled her attention away from the monitor and turned to him now. She watched the slow movement of his chest, which had been patched up and thoroughly bandaged; the off-beige gauze was tightly wrapped around most of his upper torso and part of his right shoulder. A thin hospital blanket covered him from his chest down, masking where she knew the first bullet wound would be tightly patched up as well.

Joseph...

The bullet hit close to his heart- close enough that it should've been fatal for him.

In fact, the blood loss from the first bullet combined with the severity of the second one should've left him for dead.

And somehow, it didn't.

Somehow, he fought.

...

She remembered pulling the trigger.

She watched as both Sebastian and Joseph fell to the effects of the high-pitched ringing and took the open opportunity to pull the trigger. Leslie had taken off running, so her first bullet missed. By the time she readied her second shot, Joseph had recovered and pulled off a shot himself; she was surprised he fired at her... until she realized it had been a warning shot. He had no intentions of hitting her- he just wanted to scare her into stopping.

But she had pulled the trigger regardless- hoping for a wounding shot to stop the fleeing man. She watched as he unknowingly stepped into her path- and there was no way to stop the bullet that came from her gun.

She watched as it hit him in the chest and caught the shocked look on his face as his body was pulled back from the force.

He didn't immediately realize he had been shot, but once the pain set in, it was too late.

He hit the ground and that was it.

She reached down and felt her fingers graze his arm for a moment before she gently moved to take his hand. His skin was cold to the touch and she had to be careful for the IV that was sticking out the side of his wrist.

It was something of a rarity to see him not wearing his gloves; in fact in the passing year she had known him, she could count on one hand the amount of times she had seen him without them. It wasn't like they were a big deal... they were just part of his trademark look and it was odd to see them missing. He was always strict about his appearance after all- always making sure his collar was down and his tie was straight; he would readjust his gloves from time to time to make sure they were cuffed properly.

In fact, it had been a game around the office of speculating why he wore gloves all the time. Nothing serious, it was usually just mindless fun during the down time or during the early shifts when nothing was on the radio. She had eavesdropped on the conversations a few times- and while they were usually a waste of her time when she did, it was something to keep her entertained. Joseph never was all that interested in the guesses; he usually ignored them or tuned them out- not that the other officers wanted him to hear anything they said anyways.

At one point, one of the officers had, rather inappropriately, suggested that it had something to do with previous Yakuza connections; he suggested the gloves were about hiding tattoos or maybe a missing finger. It was a little embarrassing to see how many officers agreed with the possible theory- although she hopefully blamed the reactions on the upcoming 12-hour shift and shitty coffee.

She remembered the look of painful exasperation on his face and the way he rolled his eyes and shook his head in disbelief. He actually had to step outside for ten minutes to cool off afterwards.

His hand was a little cold, but there was no evidence of tattoos or missing fingers.

So, for what little it was worth, it was one terrible, and inaccurate, theory downed.

At least he seemed at ease for now- no doubt the sedatives and painkillers were helping with that. He still had the heavy, dark rings under his eyes though, and scattered, red blemishes that looked like burns against his pale skin. To the outside eye, it wasn't easy to tell what had happened to him asides from being shot twice, but it was obvious that he had gone through hell.

And they weren't far off from the truth...

At least everything was behind him now.

She knew what it was like to sit in a hospital bed and wait for your body to heal from the traumas that had happened in a mental world. It wasn't easy then and it would never be easy... but he was at least at the first step towards recovery.

He had lived after all...

She looked up briefly and noticed a box sitting in a chair nearby and figured it must've been the things he had on him when he was brought in. He didn't have any immediate family in the area that she knew of, so his things would remain there until the department collected them for evidence. Not that it would matter, the hospital forbid guests of any kind from visiting- at least until he regained consciousness and they knew his condition was stable.

She released his hand and walked over to examine the items.

There were his gloves, his glasses, his notebook and a few miscellaneous things.

Curiosity got the better of her as she picked up his notebook, remembering that he always had it with him wherever they went; he was always writing in it- although she never knew what exactly he was writing down most of the time. Next to his gloves, he was well known for always having his notebook on hand and ready to pull it out if someone had a question or wanted to put down a statement.

Carefully opening it, she flipped loosely through the pages, finding different notes and such dated months ago; most of them were scattered thoughts about the ongoing cases. For his sake, she didn't read any of the notes he had written down about the disappearances- although he certainly seemed to have a lot to say about them. There were a few pages of diagrams that linked names to places and broke them down by the recording of certain times and circumstances. He was never one to skip on details and this certainly showcased that.

And then she found the thoughts that came from the STEM world.

There were pages covered in sketches of different markings and notes that he had stumbled upon; after all, it was a habit of his to jot down whatever he found. Most of them seemed to be suspected answers to certain puzzles and suspected ways to avoid potential death traps. She was a little surprised at his attention to detail- most people just figured out the traps as they ran through them.

But as she continued to flip through his notebook, the same symbol began to show up again and again until the sketches of it became more and more jumbled together. After only a few pages, they were reduced to rushed, uncoordinated scribbles that overlapped and smeared together.

A couple of pages had been stained by blood, although just a few droplets of it at first, until they had begun to stick together. She could see where the blood, now dried, had dripped messily between the pages and had bled through the thin material. There was even evidence that a few of these bloody pages had been torn out; their shredded remains still stuck in the inner spine of the book.

She could imagine what he had been going through at that time...

Closing the notebook, she looked it over once more and ran her fingers over the small emblem on the front before she quietly slipped it into her pocket.

It was evidence… and no one needed to see the things he had written down.

She doubted he would even notice it was missing.

Walking back to him, she gently took his hand once more and felt his fingers twitch briefly in her hold.

...

It was best that he didn't know she was here.

She couldn't imagine how he would react to seeing her again- especially in the hospital, after potentially dying from the bullet she put in his chest.

She wouldn't blame him for being mad, by all accounts he deserved to be. But, despite how it ended, how things got turned around… she still cared for his well-being; she still needed to know that he would be okay.

It was the least she could do for him.

The least she could do for the both of them.

Sebastian was just down the hallway from him- he was practically in the first room outside of the ICU ward. She didn't know if the hospital had done it on purpose, but she was glad they put them so close to one another. As far as she knew, the older Detective didn't have any serious injuries, but he was being held over night just in case. He was mostly being treated for exhaustion, as well as a few fractured bones and bruised organs- actually quite a few bruised organs based on what she read from his medical chart.

Sebastian would be okay, she knew that…

She was just glad that whatever medication he had been given had knocked him out- although the exhaustion could've just caught up to him now as well. Either way, he never even stirred the entire time she was in there with him.

It had been odd to see him look semi-peaceful, although he still seemed on edge even in sleep.

She didn't know if he remembered anything about what had happened when he woke up in the asylum; she hoped he didn't. She would much rather deal with him being angry than him questioning her involvement in this. There was less to explain and it'd be much easier to deal with.

She gently squeezed Joseph's hand before she let go.

It was getting late and she should've been gone by now…

Giving him one more look over, she stepped away and headed out of the room.

She could live with them being unforgiving and livid at her… as long as they were alive to do so.