Title: Monsters Within
Character/Pairing: Henry and Will
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Sanctuary do not belong to me. I make no money from this story. Please don't sue.
Summary: Will is unaccustomed to leaning on others, but he's about to learn that he's no longer alone in his struggles. Tag scene for "Warriors."
Author's Notes: Written for Marguerite Muguet (margueritem) in Yuletide 2010. Missing scene for the season 1 episode "Warriors," so spoilers as such.
Awareness comes back to him slowly. His mind is sluggish and his body doesn't feel right, almost as though it doesn't quite belong to him. His eyes are impossibly heavy and it's a long while before he summons the will to open them.
When he finally does, the first thing Will is truly aware of is that he is in his own bed, sprawled on his stomach and tangled in the sheets he'd been meaning to wash for a couple of weeks. The second is that he is not alone.
Henry is propped up beside him in an improbable-looking position, half-sitting and twisted to lean against the wall, fast asleep. He's fully clothed and atop the covers, which alleviates the potential awkwardness a bit. Will blinks in confusion and holds still to avoid disturbing his friend as he fights for the memory of how they got here.
It comes back to him in a flood—and leaves him wishing he could recover the peace of oblivion.
He remembers the conversation with Danny's wife, searching for his friend and his subsequent capture, and the bug. He knows he's in for several unpleasant nightmares about the bug alone. His head throbs with the memory of being in the cell with Danny…and then the ring.
His last semi-clear memory is of that dark fighting ring, of adrenaline still pumping through his veins and the effort to control it making him sick. There were a lot of people around, several of them fleeing. But Will's world had quickly narrowed to Ashley's authoritative voice, Henry's strong hands, and the misery on Danny's malformed features.
He swallows hard, his throat threatening to close now with overwhelming emotion. Pain, fear, horror…guilt. Because he also remembers how he'd loved the high of the drug, so unlike anything he'd ever experienced. He'd never really indulged in drugs or even much alcohol. His few forays into experimentation had been poor preparation for a muscle-enhancing, adrenaline-pumping superhuman drug.
First and foremost he is still a doctor; he knows coming down from that high must have been torturous. He's still in the throws of it, weak and shaky and emotional. But this is probably nothing compared to the violent withdrawal. No wonder he has his own babysitter; he's surprised he's not strapped to a hospital bed.
Unfortunately, knowing the clinical reasoning behind it doesn't make the emotions go away.
Henry must sense the new irregularity in his breathing, for he starts to stir. Will now moves as well, rolling to his side, turning his face away. He wraps his arms around his chest, curling in on himself.
"Will?" Henry's voice is rough with sleep, but the concern is still palpable.
"I'm fine," he chokes out, voice so broken he knows it would have been better to keep silent.
A hand rests on his back briefly. Will shivers, not because the touch is cold but because it is to bare skin. He feels exposed and his grip on control slips a bit further, his breath hitching as he tries to hold in his emotions.
The hand is pulled away. He feels the mattress shift, the weight behind him lifting, and a sound that vaguely resembles a whimper escapes against his will. He wants to be alone with his guilt and humiliation, but he doesn't want to be alone with his fear.
He needn't have worried; it is only a few long seconds before Henry is back, in front of him now, holding one of Will's t-shirts. "Here. I think this might fit again."
Will blinks at him, trying to clear the blurriness.
Henry meets his eyes, studying him carefully. "Hey there. You're pretty coherent this time, aren't you?"
"This time," Will repeats blearily, meaning it to be a question and somehow lacking the inflection. He grunts and winces as he starts pushing himself into a sitting position.
Henry reaches to support him. "Easy. You pull out those stitches and Magnus will have my head. I'm supposed to be looking after you."
A vague, hazy memory surfaces. "You…you volunteered?" he ventures.
"You remember that, huh? Yeah, I offered. Figured you might be more comfortable." He glances meaningfully from the shirt to Will.
It's a good point. Will flushes a little at the thought of Magnus or Ashley in here helping him dress and dealing with other issues of the sick. Realistically he knows that they must have been involved earlier, but he quickly decides that the less he remembers about that, the better.
But he also knows that they all thought Henry was the better choice for another reason. He can sympathize with transformation; he knows better than most what it is to have a monster inside you.
Will, however, has no desire to talk about it. He takes the shirt from Henry's hands and tries to slip it on. He gets it over his head but runs into trouble with the sleeves, gasping as a sharp pain awakens between his shoulder blades.
Henry winces and reaches once more to help, gently disengaging him from the shirt. "Ah. Didn't think of that. I don't suppose you have a nice, comfortable button-down around here somewhere?"
"There's pajamas." Will clears his throat, trying to get rid of the gravelly growl as he rubs a hand over his face before adding, "Somewhere." His room kind of looks like a tornado struck; more so, he thinks, than when he last left it.
He watches for a bit as Henry starts rifling through drawers. Then he starts to take stock of himself physically. Everything aches, some spots more than others. He resists the urge to prod at the wound he knows is at the base of his neck. He then glances down, pleased to find that he is at least clothed in sweatpants, and chooses not to wonder how that came to be.
Henry is talking; just filling the silence, Will hopes, because he can't really focus on the words. He realizes after a few minutes that he really needs to make a trip to the bathroom. He eyes the door, tells himself it only seems further that its ever been before, and pushes himself to his feet. He doesn't even make it two steps before he stumbles, barely catching his balance.
"Will!" Henry is at his side in a second, more clothes now littering the floor where he just dropped them. He's sounding a little exasperated. "What, you think I'm just here for clothes patrol? You have to let me help you."
Will's not entirely comfortable with that, unaccustomed to leaning on someone else (literally and figuratively). But he doesn't have much choice. The short distance is agonizing enough with Henry doing most of the work. To his relief, he's able to support himself once actually in the bathroom. He also discovers the pajama shirt in question hanging on the door, so perhaps the trip is worth the pain and frustration.
Henry supports him back to the bed and sits him down on the edge. He then unceremoniously starts working him into the shirt. Will stares at him for a minute, so nonplussed that he doesn't even protest being manhandled like a five-year-old.
"So…how's the memory?" Henry asks carefully after a long moment.
"How's Danny?" Will returns with a bit of trepidation.
"He's doing well, all things considered. Doc says he's going to be just fine."
Will lets out a shaky breath and nods. "Good."
Henry eyes him. "He asked for you a few times. Hopefully we can get you two together soon."
Will shakes his head, but says nothing.
Henry finishes with his buttons and moves to sit at his side. "You saved his life, you know."
"I almost killed him," Will counters, frustration making his eyes well again. He swipes at them impatiently, tired of the emotional seesaw.
"That wasn't you."
"Yeah, it was."
Henry scoots closer and rubs a hand up and down his spine, carefully stopping short of the wound. Will tenses, less from the touch and more from the realization that he is actually crying now, tears having escaped to his cheeks.
"That was the drug at work. That isn't who you are, Will."
"The drug can't add to your personality. It just amplified what was already there."
"This from the guy who lectured me just last week on dealing with my own monster?"
"That was me talking to you as a psychologist."
The rhythm in the backrub stutters, but only for a moment. Henry's voice is a bit more subdued when he says; "Well this is me, talking to you as a friend."
Will stammers. "I didn't mean…of course you're a friend, I just meant…" He stops and shakes his head, blowing out a frustrated breath through his nose. "I'm sorry."
Henry's smile is a little sad, but he's not moving away. "It's okay. You're just not used to this yet."
Will scrubs his face once more for good measure before he forces a little laugh and tries to lighten the mood. "To abnormal bugs burrowing inside me? I kind of hope I don't get any more opportunity to get used to it."
Henry rewards him with a smirk, clearly glad to see his sense of humor trying to peek through. But he's still serious when he replies, "No; I meant you aren't used to being part of the family."
That gives Will pause. He has plenty of friends…though perhaps 'acquaintances' is a better word…in any case, he's not antisocial. But this, this is something else. He doesn't really know how to lean on someone else, to depend on them fully. Being part of a family, while great in theory, is not something he knows how to do on a personal level. These are great people and he cares for them, but he's just not comfortable. Not yet.
He straightens; effectively shifting away slightly, and instinctively deflects. "Speaking of, I'm sure Magnus probably needs you for more important duties. I'll be fine."
"Actually, I'm pretty sure there's nothing more important right now."
Henry levels the serious gaze at him for a moment longer before he apparently decides to take pity on Will's discomfort. He stands, stretching, and moves to pull the desk chair closer to the bed. "Also, Ashley threatened me with bodily harm if I left you alone, so I'm afraid you're stuck with me. For my own self-preservation, of course."
Will grins and glances down, appreciating the sensitivity and grateful for the reprieve. "Well, I guess that's all right then."
"Get some more rest, Mr. Hulk."
Will glances up to catch the teasing gleam in Henry's eye and marvels a bit at the affection he finds there. "Will the Wolfman be watching over me?" he returns, only a little cautious.
Henry grins. And as they sit there, smiling ridiculously at each other, Will thinks that this is the strangest basis he never imagined for forming a bond.
He also thinks—dares to hope, even—that it may become his strongest.