Summary: The events of "Revelations" took their toll on everyone. Some are coping better than others and some aren't coping at all. Will/Henry hurt/comfort. Rating for drug abuse, talk of suicide, and general darkness. (some Henry/Ashley even though she isn't even IN the fic)
Disclaimer: Own nothing, turn no profit.
Author's Note: Thanks, as always, to Kameka for the beta. She actually caught me out in a few grammatical errors this time, lol. Kam, I didn't even know you proofed for grammar any more. Quack, luv.
Timeline: Post "Revelations", Part 2.
Will did his best to swallow his panic.
Patient, not friend. That is not your best friend standing there, not here and definitely not now, Will. Right now, Henry needs a doctor a hell of a lot more than he needs a friend.
"How many pills are we talking about?"
He had known that Henry's valium use was on the upswing but, given his symptoms both physical and psychological and the situation in general, that was not inherently inappropriate or alarming. And it had all been carefully monitored first by Magnus and then by her and Will.
Henry could not meet his eye. "A handful."
"A handful as in five?" Will asked hopefully. Fifty mils was a lot, but not hugely dangerous.
"A handful as in I really screwed up, Will."
Oh, dear God. Panic put in a reappearance, this time accompanied by anger which he stifled because this was not Henry's fault, not in the sense that he had meant to do anything wrong or malicious. His thinking was disordered. Not his fault.
Eye on the goal. He needed information to help. He had never dealt with a drug OD before, but he knew the routine in theory.
"Have you been drinking?" It didn't smell like it, but you still had to ask. Prescription tranquilizers and alcohol were a dangerous mix, especially in excess.
"No, I have to be careful with that stuff because of the transformations."
"Any other drugs?"
Henry shook his head. "Just what you guys have prescribed. The beta blocker and the antihistamines and the valium."
Well, that was something, at least.
"Any symptoms yet?"
"No, I came to you the minute I realized what I'd done. It's only been a minute."
"Okay, that's good. That's good. Do you think you can make it down to the infirmary, or do you need me to get a gurney?"
Henry shook his head. "I can walk. I… I'm kind of scared to lie down."
"Okay, we'll walk. Fortunately, it's late so we shouldn't run in to anyone."
They walked mostly in silence, until they were almost there and Henry whispered, "Will, I swear I wasn't trying to kill myself. I just… I wanted the fear and the self-loathing to go away and I just lost count."
"It happens," Will answered. "Accidental overdose is a lot more common than most people think. Here." He led Henry into the infirmary and straight into the small bathroom off the main room. "Kneel in front of the toilet. I'll be right back."
Henry was kneeling in front of the toilet as directed when Will returned, but he told him, "Man, I tried, but I've never exactly been good at doing this kind of thing on cue."
"That's where this comes in." Will held up the bottle of ipecac he had retrieved from the drug-cabinet. "It's a powerful emetic. It's not pleasant but, with luck, we'll be able to avoid having to pump your stomach."
Henry made a face at the smell, but plugged his nose and knocked it back like a college student doing shots. The effect was immediate and intense.
Will rested a hand on Henry's shoulder to make his presence known, but did not otherwise interfere. It was a horrible experience, but it had to be done.
The dry-heaves were the worst, lasting even longer than the actual vomiting had. By the time they subsided, Henry was clinging to the toilet with both hands, his whole body shaking.
Will gave him a few seconds to recover, peering into the toilet bowl. He sighed in relief. The pills were almost completely intact, and there were not nearly as many as he had been afraid there might be. Caution was still indicated, but there were unlikely to be any lasting physical side-effects. The psychological ones, though…
"You okay, man?" he asked Henry when the other man had more or less stopped shaking.
Henry nodded, not looking over his shoulder at Will. "Thanks for staying. That was… not so nice."
"No," Will agreed. "It never is. Can you turn around for me?"
Henry slowly and painfully made his way around so that he was kneeling on the bathroom floor facing Will. Doing his best to radiate calm and professionalism, Will put his arms around Henry and drew him close.
The other man tensed. "Man, what are you doing?" he asked warily.
"I'm forcing your brain to release massive quantities of oxytocin and vasopressin into your system which is the best way I have of calming you down without drugs. I know it probably feels awkward to be hugged by another man, but I need you to do your best to relax into it."
Henry hesitated for a moment, then shrugged and wrapped his arms around Will as well, resting his forehead on Will's shoulder.
"I'm sorry," he whispered after a moment, and Will felt tears through his pajama tops.
"You don't have to be. You made a mistake. It happens, even to us geniuses."
"Do we have to tell Magnus about this?" Henry pled. "She's got so much going on right now. I don't want her to know how unhinged I am."
"I'm sorry, Henry, but I'm going to have to observe your behavior for 48 hours after this. I can't do that here without Magnus knowing."
Henry jerked away from him, eyes gold-tinted with the force of his anger. Will recoiled, heart in his throat.
"I'm like a son to her!" Henry shouted. "You really think she's up to finding this out about me on top of things with Ash?"
"Henry…" Will began, holding up both hands.
"No." Henry shook his head. "I know my rights as a patient, Will. You can't tell anyone unless you think I'm dangerous. You want to observe me, fine. Hell, I probably need it! But you damn well keep my mother out of it!"
Will blinked. He had known that there was a strong bond between Magnus and Henry, but he'd never realized it ran quite that deep for the two of them.
"She's your Primary Care physician, Henry. You can get drugs from her. She needs to know."
"No, she does not!" Henry growled, and for just a second Will thought he saw his face ripple and start contorting. It was gone as soon as it started, and his eyes were back to normal, too. "Tell her you're worried about my increasing drug-use. Hell, tell her you caught me drug-seeking if you have to. I can live with her having a lower opinion of me. I cannot live with hurting her right now."
To hell with ethics. How could anyone with an ounce of compassion ignore a plea like that? For both their sakes, Magnus as much as Henry…
"Okay, fair enough. I'll think up something else to tell her, move in with you if I have to rather than put you in an observation cell. Come on, let's get you into bed. Looks like you didn't get a lot of drugs into your system, but I don't want to take chances. It's not pleasant and there's not a real great way to take the edge off, but I will be there with you every second."
"Are we still friends?" he asked, looking almost terrified at the prospect that they might not be.
Not that Will could blame him when literally Henry's only other close friend was Ashley.
"Of course we're still friends, Henry," he assured him, climbing to his feet and offering a hand. "Come on, let's get you into bed."
"I'm sorry I shouted."
"You were upset. It's understandable. I didn't know, about you and Magnus."
"Well, she did raise me."
Will helped him into a bed, waited for him to get his shirt off, then attached electrodes so he could monitor Henry's respiration and heart-rate. He attached the pulse-ox monitor, then helped Henry lie down and covered him with a blanket.
"She raised you? You never said." He walked over to the drug-cabinet and started sorting through vials. He would need to sink an IV, but first he wanted to make sure he had everything he needed in case an antagonist was called for. "How long have you been at the Sanctuary?"
"Since right before Ashley was born."
"Oh. I always assumed you'd been raised by your normal parents and only came here after you were infected." Drugs, check. He started to pull together the IV equipment.
"Lycanthropy is genetic, actually. Contagion is just a myth."
"You never told me any of this in therapy."
"You never asked," Henry pointed out, frowning. "Is any of it important?"
"Well, it could be. What's important varies from person to person, but I would think being separated from your own people at such an early age probably had some impact on you."
"I don't know," Henry answered as Will swabbed the back of his hand. "I've always self-identified human."
"Which is probably a large part of the reason that the initial stages of your last metamorphic phase were so hard on you," Will answered. "Little prick."
"Gah! You call that little?" Henry gasped, making a face. "Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man…"
"Okay, pulling the needle out now. Still in pain?" Will asked.
Henry drew a deep breath and shook his head. "Sorry. Never had a needle jammed into my hand before."
"It's not pleasant, I know. Okay, this is just saline. It might make you feel cold, so be sure to let me know if you need more blankets." He stared down at Henry. "You've never had an IV before? How old are you?"
"Who knows? Magnus thinks somewhere in my early to mid thirties." He shivered. "Oh, you weren't kidding about that being cold. This is normal, right?" he asked, a little bit of panic in his tone.
"Perfectly. The saline's colder than your blood. It'll take you a few minutes to self-regulate, that's all." Will went to get him another blanket.
"Oh, thanks, man." Henry looked up at him, his expression very much that of a frightened child.
"You're going to be okay, Henry," Will promised, squeezing his shoulder. "Look, I have the antagonist right here, which would clear out your system, but I'm not going to administer it yet because, frankly, you aren't the ideal candidate. I'm going to monitor you here for a few hours for respiratory depression and other symptoms suggestive of having a lot of valium left in your system then, since you don't want Magnus knowing what's going on, I'll move you to your room and monitor you there for the rest of the night. Sound good?"
Henry closed his eyes and nodded once. "I'm sorry, Will."
"It's okay, Henry," he assured him, drawing a chair close to the bed and sitting down. He glanced at the monitors and was relieved to see that all his stats were good. He grasped Henry's shoulder. "How are you feeling?"
"Uh, colossally stupid?"
Will shook his head. "Not exactly what I meant and I think you know it. Tell me what you were thinking about when you took the pills."
"I was thinking about Ashley. That's all I ever think about any more. For awhile I could kind of block it out by focusing on my work, but now even that's suffering."
"You're worried about her. That's understandable under the circumstances."
"It's not that, Will!" Henry shook his head, closing his eyes, but not before a few tears had managed to escape. "I love her!"
"Well, that's natural, given that you said you were raised together."
"Yeah, well, here's the slightly less natural part. I don't love her like a sister. I love her like a funny, intelligent, kick-ass, red-hot monster-hunting babe."
"And, how long has this been going on?"
"Realized it a couple years ago. Sick, huh?"
Okay, so at least nothing inappropriate or exploitative seemed to have been going on. Ashley had been an adult when the attraction started. And Henry seemed to feel a degree of discomfort with the whole concept that made it unlikely he had ever acted upon his feelings anyway.
"I've heard worse," he told Henry honestly. "It's not my place to judge what two adults unrelated by blood do in their own bedroom. You don't really control who you fall in love with. It just happens. But I can see how being in love with her has made her defection harder on you."
"It's not that, Will. It's that I let her down. It's my fault the Cabal was able to get its hands on her in the first place!"
"How do you figure?"
"I was supposed to have her six. I let her get captured."
"As I recall from your mission report, you were a little busy being unconscious to let anyone do anything."
"I knew what she wanted to do and I offered to go with her instead of tying her to a chair and making her stay put."
"Henry, I seriously doubt there's a human on the planet who could physically subdue Ashley Magnus."
"Not human," Henry pointed out. "I'm a lot stronger than I look. Granted, she could take me down by the time she was six, but I'd be able to give her a pretty good fight these days."
"Henry, it's Ashley. She decides to start channeling her inner Druitt and anything that gets in her way is toast. Even werewolves. You know that as well as I do."
"Summer she turned 18, I remember. She did the job, but she wouldn't look me in the eye for a month." He sighed. "I should have tried to talk her out of raiding the Cabal."
"Henry, this is survivor's guilt. You need to learn to accept that what happened is in no way your fault. And I think we need to increase the frequency of your therapy sessions, because there are issues here I hadn't begun to suspect."
Henry sighed. "I hate therapy, Will. You know that."
"And you know that it works."
"True," Henry conceded, shrugging. "Fine, because twice a week isn't nearly enough time for your best friend to dissect your mind. What's a few more sessions between friends?"
"Does Ashley know how you feel?"
Henry shrugged. "Since I'm pretty sure that, if I laid a hand on her, she would break it, I was never exactly eager to broach the subject."
"You said that after she cleared the werewolf den she refused to look at you. Did that feel like a rejection?"
Henry frowned. "How would you feel if I stopped looking you in the eye and left the room every time you walked into it? Of course it felt like a rejection, Will. She was my only friend."
"So not much in terms of social support going on there. And, it seems to me, there still isn't. There's just us at the Sanctuary, and maybe some people you've met through your online gaming."
He shook his head. "Wouldn't really call those people friends, no. We sometimes kill a few hours together slaying monsters, that's all."
"An argument could be made that that's about all you do with us, too."
"Yeah, but what we do here is different. It's big and important. We change the world together. How can you not love a person you do that with every day?"
"Good question," Will agreed. "But it can be a little isolating, too, at times. Do you ever feel isolated?"
"Only since Ashley left. No, not isolated." He shook his head and admitted, "It's more like… abandoned."
"That's perfectly understandable. She's been such a close friend for so long now. And, of course, you're probably viewing her defection through the lens of your own love for her."
Henry looked up at him, eyes glistening. "Do you feel like she abandoned us?"
"No. I feel like the Cabal took her from us. And I'm going to continue to believe that until I have proof to the contrary. And the fact that you feel like she abandoned us at all suggests some conflicted feelings towards her?"
"I don't know." Henry shook his head. "I mean, I always knew she had a dark side. When she was six, she put me on my back for ruffling her hair and she would have beat the crap out of me if Magnus hadn't been standing there to stop her. So, yeah, not entirely stable. But, turning against us? I never saw that coming."
"She didn't leave, Henry, she was taken. You have got to believe that."
"It hurts, all the time. Like a knife in my gut and every time I think about her it gets twisted some more. I can barely hold down food and I just want to die…"
Will cringed and rethought his decision to keep the incident from Magnus.
"Do you ever want to harm yourself?"
Henry shook his head. "I'm not suicidal, just tired. I don't want to do any of this anymore, but I absolutely refuse to hurt Magnus by taking myself out of the equation. That is not going to happen, Will. I love her too much."
"It's helpful, when we lose one person we love, to have another person we love there for us to hang on to."
"I have a lot to live for, I know. I do." Henry nodded. "You and Magnus and the Big Guy. I love all of you like my own family. And I'm not going to try to kill myself while you're still here to be hurt by it. I know that sounds like a load of crap to you…"
"No. There absolutely is a distinction between wanting to die and wanting to kill yourself. I just need to get comfortable about which one applies to you. And that's going to involve some very personal questions. Which I need you to answer honestly because if I catch you in a lie, I'm going to have to assume you're concealing intent. Seriously, Henry, even if you are feeling suicidal, therapy can correct that. I need to know. Otherwise, I'm going to have to assume the worst and act accordingly. Now, Magnus never needs to know about the pills. I can tell her you're feeling suicidal, haven't acted on it yet, and we're just taking precautions to be safe. There's no shame in asking for help. Considering the circumstances, you have every right to want an out."
Henry sighed. "I'm really not suicidal, Will. Ask your questions."
Will ran Henry through several inventories, not bothering with the Beck Hopelessness Scale because it was pretty obvious that Henry was feeling hopeless. Hell, they all were since Ashley's defection.
The picture that emerged was reassuring enough that Will caught himself biting back tears. Henry was severely depressed and genuinely tired of living, but he seemed to have no intention of harming himself as long as there was any chance of getting Ashley back. And he didn't want to hurt the others which he recognized his suicide would. He didn't even have ideations. Add that to a high score on the SRI-25…
"Congratulations, Henry. You aren't suicidal."
"Told you," Henry sighed. "Man, can I go to bed now? I'm exhausted."
"Yeah, you've been here long enough that I think we can safely assume you're out of the woods with the valium. I'll be staying the night."
Henry frowned. "But you just said you don't believe I'm suicidal."
"I don't. But you are fragile. I want to be there in case you need to talk or anything."
"I don't really have a choice here, do I?"
"Afraid not, Henry."
"I guess I deserve it, anyway."
"Henry, you need to let go of a lot of guilt here. You have a problem. That isn't your fault."
"We'll talk about it in your room, or tomorrow if you'd rather. Want to help me get this place looking like it did before?"
Henry helped him remake the bed and put the blankets back in silence. Will replaced the antagonist he had never had to use, relocked the drug-cabinet, and took the bottle of emetic, the IV supplies, and the electrodes with him to throw away in his office. They were innocuous enough that they were unlikely to be missed, but their presence in the trashcan could have gotten Magnus' attention.
They stopped at Will's office long enough to discard the medical supplies there and retrieve the folding cot that he sometimes used when he had patients in the observation cell. Then they headed to Henry's room.
"Will?" Henry said when they were alone inside.
"Yeah?" he asked, unfolding the cot in the corner.
"Thanks. For everything."
"It's no problem, Henry. Friends help each other out. Just the way it works."
"I'm sorry. I just miss her so much it's hard to think straight."
"We'll start working on that in the morning," Will promised. "There are ways to reorder your thought process. I'll be happy to teach you."
"I'd appreciate it."
"Okay, but there's one thing. You haven't been straight with me. You told me you missed Ashley. You never mentioned quite how under your skin the whole situation was getting or how strongly you felt about her and that was extremely misleading and has just rendered the bulk of your therapy since she left useless. You have got to be straight with me if you expect me to be able to help you. No more lies or omissions, Henry. I mean it."
He nodded weakly, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Were you two close? You and Ash?"
"Not the way you were. I mean, I adore her, but we don't really spend much of our downtime together. Would you like to tell me about her? The Ashley you know?"
Henry nodded hesitantly and Will sat down next to him. Henry talked for hours. Growing up: good times, bad times, funny times, tragic ones. Games of tag and hide and seek and water fights in the garden. Getting to know other young abnormals but always being closest to each other. Henry holding a young Ashley in his arms when she had suffered from nightmares she didn't want her mother knowing about. Losing friends and 'relatives' in the form of Sanctuary staff who were as good as family. Supporting each other through all kinds of times.
How much of a pain in the ass a teenaged Ashley had been, always hanging around his lab and pestering him with questions while he was trying to work. To Will, it sounded like maybe Ashley had been suffering a bit of a crush, but he decided it was wiser not to point the possibility out to Henry in his current state of mind.
Eventually they had grown older and their way of connecting had changed to reflect that. Time spent on the shooting range or in the gym. Working out strategies and designing new weapons for Ashley to utilize. Field-testing said weapons together. And, eventually, Henry started going on missions, too. After which it became his custom to go to Ashley for a blow-by-blow on what he could have done better.
"Except that, this time, the screw-ups weren't so minor and I don't have Ashley to tell me what I should have done different…"
"Maybe there wasn't anything that could have been done different," Will suggested. "I mean, I know it's very tempting to go back over it all in your head and try to figure out what you would change if you had the chance, but you don't, so that kind of thinking is inherently self-defeating."
"I know. It's just hard not to."
Will sighed and nodded. It was going to take a lot of therapy to get Henry back on an even keel. "Feel like trying to get some sleep?" he suggested.
"Not really, but I know I need it. I just don't want to dream."
"Have any periactin left?"
"Yeah, most of the prescription."
"It doesn't do any good in the bottle, Henry. Use it when the nightmares get bad. That's what I gave it to you for."
Henry nodded weakly and fished four of the pills out of the bottle. The PTSD from his time in Cabal custody was just complicating his other problems, and they all fed into each other in a vicious cycle. Will treated what he could with short-term meds, but a lot of therapy was going to be required before Henry was able to start putting back together the broken pieces of his soul.
He dry-swallowed the pills, then sat on the edge of his bed again. "I'm going to have to come to you every time I need a pill from now on, aren't I?"
"For the time being, at least. Even the periactin has the potential to make you seriously ill if you take too much."
"And the beta-blockers?"
"What will you tell Magnus? To keep her from writing me 'scrips?"
"Drug-seeking. I'm sorry, but I have to tell her something."
"I understand." He nodded. "I can handle her thinking I want the pain to go away because, you know what, I do. But I don't think I could live with myself if she found out what I nearly did to myself."
"Okay, then that's the story we'll go with." Will climbed to his feet and turned down the bed.
Henry stared at him. "Man, if you try to tuck me in, you are gone."
Will smiled and walked over to the cot, letting Henry have his space. He was confident enough in Henry's lack of suicidal ideas or intentions that there was really no need for him to stay at all. Except for the fact that his best friend was suffering and might need someone to talk to. There was no professional detachment here, couldn't be. He loved these people too much to ever separate out his professional versus his personal obligations to them. And he was starting to get sick of trying.
He lay awake in the dark until he heard Henry snoring. Making a mental note to ask Magnus if she had ever checked him for apnea, he slowly allowed himself to relax and eventually sleep.
The vibrations from his cell-phone woke him. Henry was gone, probably already at work. He had been doing his best to be too busy to have time to think much about Ashley and Will saw no reason to prevent him as long as he continued to take care of himself. Which, for the most part, he still was.
Yawning, he flipped his phone open and read a very long and rather irate text-message.
Next time you try to keep a secret from me, remember to FLUSH the toilet. You are valuable to the Sanctuary, Dr. Zimmerman, but not THAT valuable. If you do this again, you WILL be sacked. If you tell Henry that I found out, you WILL be sacked. For future reference, emesis is contraindicated in cases of valium overdose. Charcoal is in the third bin on the right. I repeat, do NOT tell Henry that I found out. My office, NOW.
"Oh, God," Will whispered, closing his eyes.
He was toast. He was also lucky not to have killed Henry by applying the wrong treatment. He had been so panicked that it had never occurred to him that there were some drugs for which emesis was a downright dangerous method of treatment. Toxicology was not his strong-suit since he tended to focus more on behavior and cognition than on pharmacotherapy. He had screwed up and made an amateur's mistake because he had let his emotions get the better of him so badly that he hadn't even thought to call Poison Control. He was going to have to watch himself.
Henry had put out all of his medicine bottles, along with a short note indicating time and dosage for each. He gathered them together and locked them in the safe in his office before going to face Magnus. He had never been this scared in his life, not even that first night with Alexi or that day in the Triangle.
She glanced at her watch when he entered. He realized with even more of a sinking feeling that he was still in his pajamas.
"I assume you've secured all of his meds?" she asked, her voice deceptively calm.
Will knew better. Her body was so tense she was shaking very slightly and her eyes were on fire, worse than when the parasite had taken her over. She was close to snapping, quite possibly even attacking him physically. Which he probably deserved. Not telling her as his Primary was completely unethical.
"I didn't want to worry you," he began.
"Worry?" she demanded, laughing bitterly. "So, instead of having it broken to me gently, I walk into my infirmary, find out that someone's been sick and thrown up half a bottle of valium? Do you have any idea how frantic I was when I realized that it must have been Henry?"
"He didn't want you to know. He couldn't handle you thinking he tried to kill himself."
"Well isn't that exactly what he did?" She shook her head. "Damn it, Will! I just lost my daughter and last night I nearly lost the closest thing I have to a son! I am not just his foster-mother, I am his Primary. I need to know about incidents like this. You were ethically bound--"
"No," he interrupted. "The fact that you view him as a son in the first place makes being his Primary highly problematic ethically and we both know it. The only thing you need to know as his Primary is that you have good reason to be suspicious when he requests drugs from you."
"And how, pray tell, were you going to tell me that without mentioning a bloody suicide attempt?" Her voice was still low, but she was shaking even harder than before. She also looked close to tears.
"Helen, Henry did not try to kill himself."
"What?" she whispered, staring at him with wide eyes.
"It's an accidental overdose. He's got no suicidal behaviors or ideations. None. He's depressed, he's guilty, he's got PTSD, and he wanted it to stop hurting. He was in a daze, lost track of how many pills he had taken. There was no intent, and he came to me the moment he realized what had happened."
She lifted a hand to her heart. "You're sure?"
"As sure as I can be. He tests low on all scales of suicidal thoughts or intentions and high on the Suicide Resilience Inventory. He also tests high on 'reason to live' inventories. He did a stupid thing, he did, but if he were an inpatient of mine, I'd classify him as completely non-suicidal."
She closed her eyes and whispered, "Oh, thank the Lord."
He closed the distance between them and took her arm, steering her to the couch. "Sit down before you fall down," he urged gently. "Just take it easy for a few minutes. You look ready to go vasovagal."
"I'm relatively sure I already have," she admitted in a shaky voice. "Would you pass me the bin?"
He grabbed the trashcan and barely managed to get it in position in time. He slid it into her hands and pulled her hair out of her face, holding it back with one hand and resting the other on her back as she emptied her stomach. Second time in less than twelve hours he had held someone's hand through a bout of vomiting. He was glad he had a strong stomach.
When she was done, he made her stretch out on the couch and quickly retrieved several cool washcloths for her. After a few minutes of struggling to breathe normally, she pushed herself up on one arm, removing the compresses from her face, throat, and arms.
"Thank you, Will."
"No problem, Magnus. Feeling better now?" he asked, giving her a visual once-over. "Not still light-headed?"
"Not to any extent worth speaking of," she assured him with a weak smile, swinging her legs off the edge of the couch and sitting up.
Will put a steadying hand on her shoulder until he was sure she was not going to get dizzy, then he sat down next to her.
"Just take a few minutes to get your bearings again," he suggested. "And I'm sorry I forgot to flush that toilet. I didn't mean to scare you like that."
She shook her head. "No, I'm glad I know."
"How did you? The pills should all have dissolved within a few hours."
"They did, Will. Which left the water a shade of blue not generally associated with stomach acid. Naturally, I had to test it."
"Yeah, so much for me being the hyper-observant one," he sighed, shaking his head. "You'd really rather know about this?"
"Considering that the alternative would be believing that Henry is the sort of person who would seek out drugs for recreation? Absolutely, Will. In a way, finding out that it was an accidental overdose makes it easier. Now, at least, I know that he will ask for help when he needs it."
"He loves you very much, Helen."
"I know, and it hurts to see him suffering like this."
"We'll do everything in our power to get him through this. And, I hope it goes without saying, I'm going to do everything in my power to help you get through this, too."
She smiled weakly over at him. "Thank you, Will. I appreciate that. It's good to know. I'm sorry I attacked you earlier on ethical grounds. You're right. In these situations the ethical lines get blurred. But what was I supposed to do? Give him to strangers to raise? Let another doctor handle his case? Neither is exactly tenable, even if I were so-inclined. And you have it no easier as a psychiatrist to us all."
"It's not easy. We can only do the best we can."
"Yes," she agreed. "Tell me, though, in deciding to lie, were you protecting him or me?"
"His exact words were 'leave my mother out of this'. I hadn't realized how it was between the two of you, and I didn't want to see either of you in more pain than necessary. You guys are like family to me. I was protecting you both."
She nodded, seeming satisfied with this answer.
"Speaking of, how's Druitt?"
She frowned, shaking her head. "Broken-hearted, naturally. She is his daughter."
"Do you think his cure is permanent?"
"I can't begin to say. As long as he continues to teleport, there is always a risk of relapse. And he refuses to completely cease teleporting if the ability can help us recover Ashley."
"And it has already helped us infiltrate two Cabal facilities, so there's really no convincing him to stop at this point."
"No." She shook her head. "Is it wrong of me to allow him to continue, knowing the risk? I sometimes feel like I should put him under lock and key with an EM force-field to keep him safe."
"There's no easy choice in a situation like this. Either you potentially sacrifice your ex-fiancé or you potentially risk Ashley staying in Cabal hands permanently and doing a lot of damage on their behalf. At least, this way, you allow Druitt his freedom. Unless he snaps again, that's a basic human right. You can't ethically lock him up. Besides, like you said, he's her father. Try to think what not being allowed to participate in Ashley's recovery would do to him psychologically. I think you're doing the right thing, insofar as there even is a right thing."
"I suppose so. I just feel selfish at times."
"Magnus." He sighed and took her hand in both of his. "Helen, we are all dealing with a lot of doubt and self-recrimination right now. Most of them have no basis in fact. You need to recognize that you're not immune to that."
"Oh, I know that most of my thoughts and feelings are foolish, but I still can't help entertaining them."
"Do you need an anxiolytic? Would that help at all?"
"Yes, I've been thinking it might be time. I've already put John on one. Neither of us are sleeping."
"Okay. If you have some free time today around three, come to my office and we'll discuss your options."
"Thank you, Will. And, should you require anything…"
"No, the SNRI you gave me when I got here is working just fine."
"I'm glad. Let me know if that changes."
"You've got it. And ditto for you if what I give you doesn't work or starts to lose effectiveness. These days, we've all got to be at the top of our game. Otherwise we risk letting the Cabal gain the upper hand again."
"We most certainly do," she agreed. "And that cannot be allowed to happen. Well, thank you for relieving my anxieties regarding Henry."
"No problem," he assured her. "Glad we could get that all cleared up to your satisfaction."
"Satisfaction and relief," she answered, giving him a small smile. "I'll see you around three, Will, unless some emergency comes up."
"Which never happens here," he agreed, grinning. "Okay, see you then."
As he was starting to leave the office, Henry walked in, carrying a computer monitor. He looked from Will to Magnus with wide, anxious eyes.
"So, uh, I guess you know?" he asked, not looking at Magnus.
"Drug-seeking, Henry, really," she chided, walking up to him and taking the monitor from his hands. She placed it on the desk and drew him into a hug. "If you're in that kind of pain, you should come to Will or I to talk, not try to blunt it chemically with dangerous and possibly addictive substances. At least if you come to one of us, we can ensure a proper and safe dosage." She kissed the top of his head. "I want you to feel comfortable coming to me, son."
Henry's head shot up at her use of the word.
The smile Magnus gave the shocked man radiated love and affection and understanding. Henry stared at her for a moment, let out a sob, and buried his face in her shoulder.
"Close the door on the way out, Will," Magnus directed. "It seems Henry and I have some things to discuss."
"You know where to find me if you need me," he told her, giving Henry a pat on the back before backing out of the room and closing the door firmly. He put up the do-not-disturb sign just in case and headed back to his office.
One woman could create a hell of a void in the right circumstances. Especially when that woman was as special and amazing as Ashley Magnus.
God, he hoped they could bring her home soon.