Includes lines from "No Reason," "Meaning," "Detox," "DNR," and "Three Stories." Set post "Meaning." As of the second episode of Season 3, this is most definitely NOT canon. Companion to Limited.

Tell Cuddy I want ketamine.

It's been taking more and more to silence the fucking traitor. More and more just to hear the world through a screaming red haze. It's not that I want so bad not to be human, it's that I'm already inhuman.

I hate the fucking traitor. It hates me right back. I need détente.

I've changed.

The first thing as I wake up: My mouth is dry. The second thing: I feel wonderful, thanks to the sedation. For this, I got the good drugs.

It's the first morning I wake up in my own bed that makes it real. I don't remember the last time I slept like this, deep and solid and chemical-free. No protesting, no complaining, not a peep from the fucking traitor. I wake up to silence and a tightness in my chest that isn't medically relevant. I run a hand from hip to knee in perfect forgiveness: You were worth keeping.

Ten days later, I take my first full stride in six years.

Three weeks later, I'm running.

It's not wearing off.

If I repeat it often enough, I can make it true. Works for the President.

Happy? I am.

I have evolved, in seven days of sleep I caught up with the rest of mankind. I walk on two legs. My ass is tired of sitting. I'm still a bit southpaw, though. Rewiring the brain takes more time than I have time for.

I cancel all my delivery services. When I go shopping, I don't take a cart—I've leaned on enough of those. I carry everything. I pace while I eat because I can finally carry a plate, operate a fork, and walk at the same time. I buy all new shoes because the old ones are uneven, and I am not, not anymore.

I rearrange every piece of furniture I own. Twice. Except the piano. I like it where it is.

I no longer need to watch where I'm placing my feet. I look people in the eye when I walk down the street. They look back and beyond me. Now, I'm just another face in the crowd—all they see is normal. I don't know how to feel about that.

I sit in silence. The apartment is silent, my body is silent. This peace was once a vague memory; this is the kind of quiet I thought I wanted back. But I think too much when it's quiet; I always have.

I need to run.

You don't think you deserve to be happy?

I don't know what she meant. I never have. Pleasure, I understand; satisfaction, I grok. I've even had the occasional twinge of joy. Really good sex, a hard run, a puzzle solved, a joke perfectly delivered, a well-placed bet, bittersweet dark chocolate cake—all bring a rush of biochemistry designed to keep us coming back to things that will keep the species going.

But biochemistry doesn't last. The body works hard to maintain homeostasis; pleasure dissipates, satisfaction wears off. Something always changes. So what is happy? How am I deserving of it? How do I find out how to be something I've never been?

Maybe people have a set-point for mood, just like for body weight. Maybe mine is broken.

It's like your leg, it's atrophied. Keep working it, feeling will come.

I try. I ask questions. I get thanked. All I feel is silence.

On a whim, I chase down the next beautiful woman I pass and beg for her phone number. But I don't know what to say once I have it. So I let her go.

Pills don't make me high. They make me neutral.

I think too much when it's quiet.

The constant vigilance required by my nerves used to keep half my attention busy. Now the nerves are silent; I have attention to spare. I can't help but turn attention on myself. I think too much, but I can't stop.

How is it possible to miss something I hated? If nothing else, the chatter was reliable. Even the slow cycle up to screaming, the rattle of the pills, and the fade back to chatter was a predictable part of the day. This peace is uncomfortable, and I catch myself contemplating corners. The corner of my desk, the corner of the conference table. The skateboard didn't do it, but a hard sharp corner in the heart of the fucking traitor might. I could even do it in front of a witness, make it look like an accident. The corners are at just the right height.

I try to tell Wilson, but for once I can't find the right words so instead I flick the light switch and he doesn't understand my Morse code. He refuses to understand. He fills his silence with women and need.

I need neutral. I need numb.

I'm in pain.