The door closed. Barney could hear it, almost as if he wasn't in his room but standing next to it instead. His hearing was so much sharper now; it was to be expected but it still frightened him. He heard the door close, and no feet after it. They had done as he had asked. Part of him breathed a sigh of relief, the other part… well, we won't think about the other part. The other part would make him run (as best he could) to the hall and call them back. Ted had already set up enough for Barney to get by. Ted had suggested that one of them stay that night, or him at one of their places. But he wouldn't hear of it.

"I know my apartment Ted. I might be blind but I've lived here for years." Which was true. But for if he could make it through his first night, blind, alone, in a huge… empty apartment…

Well, he had managed to find his room anyway. Without bumping into anything on the way! That had to account for something. Slipping out of the suit ted had so thoughtfully brought him for his release from the hospital, Barney fumbled around for his suit-jamas. Hadn't he folded them and left them on his pillow three weeks ago? Ten minutes later he gave up. There really was no point, his apartment was warm, his blanket (still the tiny, tiny blanket) was warm, and it's not like he had to impress anyone. No one was here. Not even himself, really. Didn't matter. So he crawled into bed, nude, curling into a ball to let his heightened senses play upon himself.

He could feel the soft flesh of his inner-thigh against his upper-arms. Could hear his pulse ringing through his shoulders that were hunched over his ears. Everything was different now. He kept calm that night. He wasn't in the mood for polishing the wand. He didn't think he would be for a while. Just feeling that he was alive would be alright. Feeling his heart, his breath, even tracing the scars around his eyes…

Speaking of which… the left one was starting to throb. Not around, no. No, his actual eyeball was throbbing. They had managed to save the spheres; utterly useless now but still intact. After they had removed the splinters they didn't see any reason to… the shiver down his spine was so intense it forced him on his feet and towards his door. He hit the window. Was he that turned around?! Didn't matter, he needed his meds. He needed to stop the throbbing. He knew from experience that if he didn't the pain would travel. So he held his hand out, hating himself for it. He refused the cane, the dog, any help at all. He didn't want to be blind. He didn't want to be treated blind. He wanted to be himself. He'd figure out where everything was. So it was one hand, hesitantly held out to keep him from… no. To grab the door knob. He wasn't keeping himself from anything, he knew his apartment.

When he hit the door jamb he relented and held both hands out fully in front of him. He crashed into the couch. The couch? Had he walked right by his kitchen? How could he, he hadn't taken that many steps, had he? There, underfoot, tile. Kitchen! Or bathroom? No, he hadn't turned down the hall. No, it was his kitchen. And there, he had just hit something plastic! It rattled! Pills, perfect, they had to be his…

His what? There were two bottles of pills on the counter, side by side. And beside them were two squeeze-bottles, both eye-drops. But, which pill was for pain? Which was medication? Which drops were for infection? Which was for dryness? Four bottles, no label he could read. Even if there was Braille, he wouldn't read it. Three weeks was not enough time for him to learn the complex pattern of dots and raised ridges. He'd just have to deal with it, have Ted look at them in the morning for him. Ugh, for him. The thought left a foul taste in Barney's mouth. For him. No, it wouldn't be for him. Couldn't be for him. He had no idea how to phrase it. It was too late for him to try, he was in pain. Just go back to bed, sleep through it. Try to ignore the pounding on the side of his face, ignore the sound of traffic he had never noticed before, so high above the ground… ignore the sound of the empty fridge kicking on, the leaky faucet next door, the wind across the window pane.

He didn't feel around the apartment. Trying to save face he started walking to his room again, bumping his nose and jumping slightly at how quickly he had hit the door. It had to be the door, there was the knob in his fingers. No, wait… he hadn't closed his room, had he? He was at his front door, had to be. So he turned around and walked again. Feet met tile, kitchen? His hand hit a door-knob as he turned to leave it, bathroom? Where was he?! More carpet, more tile… he tripped over something. It was cold, rough, he tripped over tile? That can't be? But his head hit tile, sending pain through him as it hit the swollen side of his face. Where was he?! Where was up? His head was spinning, feeling very sick as pain lanced through this head, his neck, onto his back. He tried to get up, feeling like he was falling.

Fine then, he'd stay where he was. Humph.

The door opened some hours later. Barney didn't know how long. The world, dark and cold, wouldn't stop moving. He didn't know how that was possible. There was no world to spin. But he was nauseous, dizzy… he had no idea which way was up. But the door opened. Heavy, loud, footsteps passed him and went down the hall. Had to be the hall, there was nowhere else to go. Which way had they gone? Didn't matter, they were back, very quickly too.

"Barney?!" Ted.

"Here." There, here, somewhere. Barney mumbled the response, groaning slightly as the movement and vibration of speaking jiggled the swollen side of his face, making his puffy eye burn. Ted's hands were warm on his shoulder, oh his hip, rolling him onto his back. He was on his side? He hadn't noticed.

"Oh God- Barney, what happened?"


"Why didn't you take your meds?!" Ted's voice was so loud.

"Couldn't find them." His voice was so quiet in contrast. Everything hurt, his head, his face, his brain… did Ted really have to yell?

"Okay, come on, stand up, I'll get them." The voice was calmer this time, hushed, taking a hint from the softness of the downed man. Ted practically carried him to the couch, leaving and coming back a moment later with hands full of water and pills and medication. In moments he had them sorted, pushing the pills into Barney's hand along with the water glass. They were downed almost instantly. But the pain didn't disappear as quickly as the meds had, much to Barney's disappointment. He had gotten used to morphine which was like instant God. But he knew that they'd help, after a bit of time. Ted dropped a blanket around his shoulders, let him breathe for a bit, capping the pill bottles and pulling out his pocket knife. He started to scratch on them, engraving little doodles on them as the shivers in his friend subsided and the buzz from the drugs kicked in.

"Come on, lean over."


"Drops." Oh, right. Barney nodded, handing over his empty glass before he tilted his head back.

"Nope. You know what the doctor said. Come on."

"I am not going to lay in your lap."

"You know you want to."


Next thing he knew Barney had his skull in Ted's lap, eyes burning as the medication was dripped into them. One minute. He had to sit there and take the burning for sixty seconds. 60,000 milliseconds. An eternity. He had to sit there and not blink out the flames. Ted sat with one eye on his watch, the other on his friend. It wasn't too bad, Barney's face.

There were scars, yes. But they would fade in a year or two. Right now they were raw, pink, some still with stitches in them. They hurt. They hurt to look at. But they weren't half as bad as what they had been. Ted felt a shiver run through him at the memory of the bits of wood in the fair-skin. Yeah, it was not pretty.


"Oh thank God." Barney's hands flew to his face, trying to scrub out the medication that was meant to help him. They might be useless now, but it didn't mean his eyes were all better and perfect. His friends would have a hard time looking him in the eye.