Vulnerabilities

Chapter Eleven

Hi everyone, here's the final chapter. Thank you so much to everyone who's kept with this; your support has really inspired me to keep writing. This chapter isn't going to be as long as the others, but I just wanted to round everything off. Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Holby City.

Henrik Hanssen set down his pen in exasperation and leaned back in his chair. His month's enforced rest had left him with a veritable mountain of work; after his second pneumothorax, Greg had flatly refused to let him do anything and he was now extremely behind. It was going to take weeks to catch up.

However, even with everything he had to do, Henrik couldn't be in a bad mood. After being stuck in bed for nearly four weeks, it was a relief to be back at his job. There was a lingering ache in his chest, but since it was the price for hopefully never suffering a pneumothorax again, Henrik saw no reason to complain. Besides, he had a sneaking suspicion that Elliot was looking for any excuse to keep him under observation for another couple of days, and he had no intention of giving him one. Suppressing a shudder, Henrik pulled the next sheaf of paper towards him.

At that point, his attention was diverted by a knock at the door.

"Come in," he called. His face relaxed into a small smile as Ric Griffin entered the room. The consultant let out a long sigh at the sight of all the stacks of paper in front of him.

"You know, it would make a nice change to one day come in here and be able to see your desk." Henrik shook his head.

"I agree. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be happening any time soon." Ric frowned.

"I take it Elliot doesn't know how much you're doing?" he said lightly.

"No, and I intend to keep it that way." Ric shook his head despairingly.

"Just don't over-do it," he warned. "Unless you want to send another month on Darwin." Henrik grimaced.

"Believe me, that was one experience I have no desire of repeating," he said dryly. "Anyway, was there something I can do for you?" Ric shook his head.

"No, just wanted to see how you were doing. By the looks of things, I'd say it was a good idea," he said, looking pointedly at the array of files. Henrik sighed.

"You have nothing to worry about, I assure you," he said. "In any case, I'm going down to see Elliot in a few minutes." Ric's head whipped round.

"Why? Are you feeling alright?" he asked sharply. Henrik nodded.

"I'm fine, but he wanted me to come by for a check-up." Ric relaxed a little.

"Good. We're busy enough as it is without you falling ill again." He shook his head and got to his feet. "I'll leave you to it." He smiled suddenly. "I never thought I'd actually say this, but it's good to have you back, Henrik." Hanssen glanced up and nodded.

"It's good to be back."

Henrik shook his head thoughtfully as he strode down the corridor. Ric was not the only person who pleased to see him; people who used to scowl at him were now wishing him a good morning as he passed. It made a pleasant change, albeit a slightly confusing one. Henrik sighed. He finally had the staff on his side, but he did wish that it had not taken a near fatal experience to change their attitudes.

He spotted Greg and Sahira chatting animatedly over at the desk as he entered Darwin ward. The sight brought a slight frown to his face. He had seen the way Greg looked at her, and as much as he trusted the pair of them, he could not help but feel slightly concerned. Firmly, he pushed the feeling aside. Their personal lives were none of his business.

As he watched, Sahira happened to glance up. She smiled as she caught sight of him and nudged Greg in the side.

"Mr. Hanssen!" Greg turned in surprise as Henrik crossed the ward to join them.

"Is everything alright?" he asked anxiously. Henrik gave a brief nod.

"Everything is fine," he said. "Have either of you seen Mr. Hope?"

"Right, he wanted you to come by," Greg remembered. "Yeah, he's in his office." Henrik nodded.

"Thank you, Mr. Douglas."

"You're welcome. Oh, a quick warning, you might want to watch out for Jac." The Swede paused and glared round.

"I'm sorry?" Both registrars smirked as Greg explained.

"She's been pestering Elliot almost non-stop ever since you were discharged," he told him. Henrik pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to quell the impending headache.

"I don't care what she wants, I am not holding the consultancy interviews a moment sooner," he growled. "Ms. Naylor would do very well to take note of that." Greg and Sahira were openly grinning now.

"That's what we told her," said Sahira smugly. "She didn't take it well." Henrik shook his head in frustration.

"I will discuss it with Elliot," he sighed. "Speaking of which, I really must be going."

He left the registrars to their work and headed for Elliot's office. He was not particularly surprised at Jac's behaviour, but it was not going to change anything. He had quite enough to do without arranging interviews as well.

Elliot's door was open, but he knocked to announce his presence anyway. The CT consultant jumped at the sound.

"Henrik! I didn't see you there." Hanssen raised an eyebrow.

"Elliot, you arranged the time." It was a mark of how their relationship had changed that there was no hint of recrimination in his voice. Elliot smiled apologetically as he waved him to a seat.

"Yes, I'm afraid I got a little distracted." He pushed a file aside and gave Henrik an appraising glance. "But that's unimportant. How are you feeling, Henrik?" The Swede shrugged.

"A little tired, a little sore, but other than that I feel perfectly fine." Elliot frowned slightly.

"I suppose that was to be expected," he muttered. "If the pain persists, let me know." Henrik nodded, and he went on. "Now, what about your workload?"

"It is manageable." Elliot raised a disbelieving eyebrow, so he added, "Elliot, it may be greater than usual, but it is not excessive. I will be fine." Elliot still did not look convinced, but a month's worth of arguments on that particular subject had taught him that this was one point on which the Swede would not budge. Reluctantly, he let the matter drop for the moment.

"Very well. I also wanted to talk to you about the interviews for the consultant's post."

"Yes, Mr. Douglas mentioned that a certain member of your team has been expressing some interest." Elliot snorted.

"That's putting it mildly," he said wearily. "Now that you've recovered, she can't seem to see a valid reason why we're taking so long." Henrik gave a humourless smile.

"Ms. Naylor will just have to be patient. At the moment, those interviews are the last thing on my mind." Elliot glanced at him shrewdly.

"Is that you finally admitting that you have too much on your plate?" The Swede glared at him.

"I said nothing of the sort," he said coolly. "I simply meant that filling that the consultant's post is hardly a top priority." Elliot sighed.

"I know." He fixed his friend with a piercing stare. "I hope you know what you're doing," he said sternly.

"I assure you, Elliot, I know my limits."

"Good. I didn't spend four weeks patching you up just so you could go and have a nervous breakdown." Henrik gave him a slight smile, but after a moment his gaze turned serious.

"Elliot, I haven't thanked you for everything you've done over the past few weeks. I realise I haven't been the easiest of patients," Elliot stifled a snort at that, and Henrik's smile widened slightly as he continued, "But I could not have asked for better care." Elliot flushed with pleasure and glanced down.

"Well, I'm glad you thought so," he mumbled. Henrik nodded.

"In fact, I have already written a letter to Sir Frasier commending this CT department." Elliot looked up in astonishment.

"You did what?" Henrik looked rather smug.

""Yes, I informed him that Darwin is an exemplary department and thoroughly deserves its reputation as a centre of excellence," he said calmly. "Furthermore, I made it quite clear that it would be a grave mistake to make any more cuts to this department." Elliot leaned back in his chair, an expression of stunned disbelief on his face.

"Henrik, that's…that's…"

"The least I could do," Henrik interrupted smoothly. He glanced at his feet and got to his feet. "Now, I'm afraid I really must be going." With a final pleased glance at Elliot's shocked face, Henrik left the room.

There was a thoroughly satisfied expression on Henrik's face as he made his way back to his office. Elliot had reacted exactly as he had predicted to his news. It was true that Henrik had initially been looking to Darwin to source a large percentage of the cuts, but after seeing first-hand how they worked, he had had to admit that he had been wrong. Elliot, Greg and Sahira had proved that the hospital needed Darwin, and Henrik was going to do everything he could to maintain it. A thoughtful smile twitched at his lips. It seemed some good had come from his illness after all.

That's the end everyone. Thank you so much for reading, and please let me know what you thought of it.