A/N: Don't own H:LOTS. Muse's attempt at writing Kay Howard and Beau Felton sometime in between the second and third eps of the "City that Bleeds" arc in s3.
He is the first thing she sees when she opens her eyes.
Oddly enough, this doesn't surprise her nearly as much as she thought it was. There are a few other people whom she'd expected to see, and she has no doubts that she will see them later on. But for now, her partner is the only one there, and for some reason, at this moment, the fact that he is there is all that matters. She isn't too sure of why this is, nor is she altogether sure that she wants to know why, because at present, her head is pounding, she doesn't want to move, and the beeping coming every now and then from the machines keeping track of her is starting to get on her nerves.
"How long have you been sitting there?"
Kay Howard's voice comes out quietly, barely a whisper because she hasn't spoken in so long.
Even so, it is enough to make Beau Felton open his eyes.
"Not long," he says, almost as quietly. "They don't let me out of the other room too often."
"You were asleep," Kay remarks, and when he doesn't look at her, a faint smirk crosses her face. "Did you think I wouldn't notice?"
"How're you doing?" Beau asks in reply, just to change the subject.
Kay rolls her eyes. She still has not turned to look at him, nor has she moved at all, besides looking around the room from where she is. Her gaze is directed mostly towards the ceiling, but unlike any other day, this doesn't bother her at all.
"I'm fine," she says. "Emotionally, that is. Physically…not so good. You?"
"Beth brought the kids to see me," Beau replies. "Guess she wanted to let 'em know I was okay, but…They probably won't be there when I get out of this place."
There is enough of a defeated note in his voice that Kay knows this fact hurts him a lot more than the two gunshot wounds he got in that stairwell. She sighs.
"Beau, if there's anything I can do," she starts, but he cuts her off, amused.
"You're stuck on your back in a hospital bed, Howie," he says. "Don't worry about it."
"Of course I'm gonna worry about it; you're my partner," says Kay. "I mean it. Once I get out of this place…"
"We'll be out of here soon enough," Beau remarks. "Well…maybe not as soon as you or I would like, but they can't keep us here forever."
Kay laughs. "Guess they can't," she says. "Any word from the squad room?"
Beau casts a half-exasperated look at her. "You're lying here in a hospital bed," he says again, "And you really want to know if there's any word from the squad room?"
She looks away from him. "Not necessarily from the squad room," she says, almost too quietly for him to hear.
Oddly enough, he knows exactly what she means. He sighs and leans back in the chair he's been sitting in for the past little while.
"Lewis came by earlier," he replies finally. "Says he'll be back again as soon as shift is up."
"What'd he look like?"
"Same as the rest of the shift. Tired, worried…Everyone is." Beau trails off for a moment, and looks away. "Bolander's still not awake yet."
"He will be," Kay says flatly. "He's gonna be fine, like you and me."
But it goes without saying that the two of them are not exactly 'fine'. Physically, yes. Emotionally, it will be a while, and both of them know it.
"That's what they're saying," Beau remarks. "Besides, he's too damn stubborn to die anyway."
Kay laughs, even though she probably shouldn't, because it hurts to do so. She trails off, and closes her eyes, hoping that Beau won't notice this, but he does.
"Hey, you need me to get a nurse or something?" he asks.
"Nah. I just need not to laugh right now." Kay opens her eyes, turns her head to look at him. "Problem is, I think it's the only thing that'll help."
"Maybe. Hell, every one of us could use a few laughs every now and then," Beau says, and then, "You ever wonder if it's the one thing that keeps us going?"
"What, the fact that we can joke about everything?" Kay asks.
When he doesn't answer, she mulls this over, staring up at the ceiling again. After a while, one of the machines beeps again, and Kay scowls over at it.
"Wish they didn't have me hooked up to these things," she mutters. "You're lucky they cut you loose already."
Beau casts a sideways look at her, for some reason amused by this. "I wouldn't call it luck. The fact that we're alive…that's luck."
"But it's still luck."
He has a point. Kay knows this, and it is probably why she feels so contrary all of a sudden, but instead of arguing the point, she remains silent.
"Listen, Beau…about Lewis…" she says, finally, but Beau cuts her off with a wave of his hand.
"I'm not going to say anything to Gee," he tells her. "None of my business, anyway."
Kay bites back a laugh. "That's stopped you before?"
"Well, no, but I'm not going to ruin a good thing when I see it. I've done enough of that in my life."
There is enough of a wistful note in her partner's voice at this that it makes Kay feel almost guilty. Whatever expression crosses her face, Beau notices, because he sighs.
"You can't fix everything, y'know," he says, and then, "Sometimes, I think you're too used to people leaning on you."
This is true, Kay muses, but chooses not to actually dignify this with a reply. The machine beeps again.
"I'm glad you're here," she says. "This room is already starting to drive me nuts, and I haven't even been conscious that long."
Beau laughs. "That's what I said," he remarks. "Funny how these things happen, isn't it?"
"Not really, considering the circumstances, but yeah…Guess it kind of is, now that we're both all right."
She trails off for a moment, and then, "Shift's up before visiting hours end?"
It is so unlike Kay, the almost scared note that Beau hears in her voice, that it startles him, enough that he nods for a minute before finding his voice again.
"Yeah, they're up before visiting hours are over," he says. "Doubt the nurses would be able to keep Lewis out of here even if they weren't."
"How much longer do we have?"
There is a clock on the wall. Beau glances over at it, silently amused. "About an hour."
Kay makes a face. "Great," she says, only half-joking. "Another hour with just you for company."
"You wound me, Kay. I thought we were better friends than that."
"We are. I just want to see everyone else."
Silence falls between them and lingers. Outside, footsteps go past, and Beau glances towards the door, waiting to see if it'll open. It doesn't.
"You're not supposed to be out of bed, are you?" Kay asks.
"Not really," Beau admits. "They told me I'm not supposed to wander around the hallways."
"What exactly do you call this?"
"It's not wandering if you know where you're going."
Kay laughs again, hard enough that within moments, her eyes have filled with tears. She wipes them away, wondering why she finds this so funny, but no answer comes, and in all honesty, she hadn't really expected one.
"Hey," says Beau, once she finally falls silent again, "It's true. It's only wandering if you don't know where you're going, and I knew where I was going."
"I'm sure you did." Kay reaches for the remote control that will allow her to move the bed into a sitting position, even though she probably shouldn't and goes on. "Can I ask you something?"
"Shoot," Beau replies, and then, "Never mind. Ignore me; that was stupid."
Kay does ignore this, but asks her question anyway. "If I asked you to name three comforts other than love, what would you tell me?"
There is another moment of silence, long enough to make her wonder if Beau is actually paying attention to her, but then, before she can say anything, he speaks.
"Family," he says. "Home. And partners."
"And partners," Kay repeats, and nods. "That's actually more true than you might think, y'know."
"I do. That's why I'm glad I've still got you."