Two hours later, Will woke up abruptly. He wasn't sure what was the reason, though the rapid heartbeat and the cold sweat covering his skin was a pretty good indication. Blinking, Will rubbed at his eyes, groaning. The headache was still there but at least the dizziness was gone.
"Nightmare?" Came the gruff question and Will jerked, startled.
"I g-guess," he stuttered as he took in the sight of the Big guy sitting in a chair close to his bed, one finger keeping open the book he was reading. Will frowned, confused.
"Uhm..." Will wanted to ask why was Biggie keeping watch over him, when it clearly wasn't necessary, but he thought it might sound a little ungrateful. "Where's Magnus?" he asked instead and paused at the way his heart skipped a beat and he had a short flashback to the submarine, her lifeless body laying there, eyes open, dead. Shrugging off the image, Will threw back the blanket and sat up, legs dangling above the floor. Big guy took it as a signal that his reading time was over. He put away the book and looked at Will, scrutinizing.
"She's resting. As should you be."
Will touched the back of his head, wincing when his fingers discovered the tender flesh. Giving a nod, he looked up.
"Is she... okay?" he asked, sheepishly and Big guy rolled his eyes, as if saying 'She's Magnus. That should be enough of an answer.' Instead, he just nodded, then grumbled something that sounded suspiciously like "She said you did good."
"Oh," Will didn't know what to say. "I... There was no other choice."
"You did good," The Big guy repeated in a voice that broke no argument and laid a hand on Will's shoulder. Will had to look up then, and give a small smile of thanks.
"So... Any reason why you were keeping the bedside vigil?" He asked, ready to change the topic.
"It was as good place to read as any," Big guy said with a shrug, then gave Will a light push. "Do you know what year it is?"
Will stared at him, then with a smile recited the date along with the name of the president and location.
"Good enough," Big guy grumbled and stood up, holding out his hand. "Dinner's in an hour. Plenty of time to take a shower. You stink," he added after taking a whiff of air and Will laughed.
"Hard to believe, after all the water that run over me." Will grabbed the proffered hand and stood up, happy the room stayed in one place. The short sleep seemed to do him a world of good.
"Thanks," he said. "For... Keeping watch."
Big guy raised his eyebrows, then gave a short nod. Will grinned and headed out of the infirmary, not surprised that he had a shadow escorting him all the way to his door, just in case the dizzy spell came back. Somehow, that little gesture felt like so much more. Maybe like finally belonging.
Despite spending most of the way home in wet clothes, not to mention the quick dunking he got in the ice cold water when Magnus needed to fix the submarine, the hot shower felt like heaven. Will didn't realize he was cold until the heat seeped into his bones. When he got out, he put on a hoodie to preserve some of that heat. He knew that the ocassional shiver running through him was more of a psychological reaction than a sign of hypotermia or a beginning of a cold. If he were to diagnose himself, he would say it was delayed shock. His brain was just starting to process all that happened and Will was pretty sure that he had several sleepless nights laying ahead of him.
Dinner time came shortly after, and Will was once again taken aback by Helen Magnus. She waltzed in, looking fresh and ready to conquer the world, as if the last twenty four hours had never happened. Her smile was radiant and Will couldn't help but wonder if the whole incident wasn't just something he had inagined. But no, it obviously wasn't, as Helen kept glancing at him during the whole dinner, as if keeping watch. And once they were done eating, the barrage of questions started.
Will tried to keep some details to himself, but Magnus didn't feel the same compulsion. She was content to tell Ashley about everything... Starting with how she almost shot Will - 'You should've seen him, Ash, he took out the magazine without me noticing. A true sleight of hand, William,' she shot him a smile and Will blushed, even though they were talking about one of the most terrifying moments of his life. Helen kept on, telling them about the creative way Will chose to kill her. Will shuddered at the memory, his arms curling protectively around his chest. He felt several pairs of eyes on him and he was subconsciously awaiting a barrage of curses and angry exclamations over his actions. He couldn't look up, knowing there would be anger in Ashley's eyes, shock in Henry's. But there was only a short silence, that was abruptly broken by a sigh.
"Wow. Good thinking, Will," Came from the left and Will blinked, looking up in surprise. It was Ashley, giving him a thoughtful look.
"Yeah, man. Pretty creative. And probably the only way you could bring back the doc. I mean, shooting her would be a pretty one way street. Not like you can take back a bullet. But oxygen deprivation? Yeah, that could work." Henry thought out loud and Will had to shake his head, to make sure he wasn't hearing something else.
"See? I pick them smart and handsome," Magnus said with a smile and winked at Will, who was now openly gaping. He wasn't sure who was more crazy... The people around him, who had started coming up with different ways to kill a person and then bring them back to life, or he, because he was hanging out with them and felt like that was the right place to be.
"Dude? Are you even listening?" Henry's voice broke through his thoughts and Will turned to look at him.
Henry rolled his eyes.
"I was just pointing out the high likelihood of the fact that the parasite might've been created by aliens and dumped down on the merfolk, because they wanted to clear the Bermuda triangle so they could continue with their crazy tests. What do you think?"
There was a raised chorus of protests and rolling eyes and Will let himself get lost in the ridiculous conversation about little grey men and their plans with the Bermuda triangle.
Several hours later, when everyone was sleeping, Will bolted upright, body covered in cold sweat. The image of Magnus, the cold smile on her face when she cocked the gun and pulled the trigger was fading into background, only to be replaced by her dead eyes, staring accusingly up at Will.
He tried to slow his breathing, hoping he would be able to get back to sleep however horrible it was, but the images just kept popping back.
"Damn it," he sighed, head in hands. There was no way he would sleep, not unless he replaced the images with different ones. Giving up, he turned on the bedside lamp and reached for some journal he was reading, but his concentration was non-existent and the small letters just brought back the fact he still had a headache. Sighing, Will threw the journal away and got out of bed. It was close to the two a.m. feedings, maybe he could help out Biggie and come to different thoughts. Anything else must be better than lying in bed, thinking.
Will was heading to the feeding area, when he realised that he made a wrong turn and instead was in the part of the building where the offices were situated. Frowning, he was about to turn back, when he noticed light coming from under the door of Magnus' office.
After a light knock he gently pushed the door open. Magnus looked up from her desk, eyebrows raised in surprise that quickly changed into concern.
"Everything all right, Will?"
Will walked in, giving her an uncertain smile.
"Yeah, I think so," he said, then shrugged and nodded towards the papers on her desk.
"Catching up on paperwork?"
Magnus gave him a once over, and then seemed to come to the conclusion he wasn't in any physical discomfort and her posture relaxed.
"I find this time of night quite useful for paperwork. Not many distractions," she said with a smile and Will grimaced.
"If there isn't a psychiatrist wandering the halls at two a.m. you mean."
"I'm not saying all distractions are bad. But since you brought it up," Magnus closed the folders she was reading through, giving her full attention to Will. "Why are you up and wandering the halls at this hour?"
Will shrugged, sitting down in the chair opposite Magnus.
"I slept before dinner," he reminded her and Helen snorted.
"That was more unconsciousness than real rest, Will."
He shrugged again, his eyes suddenly looking anywhere but at her.
"Why are you up?" Will asked in return. "Don't tell me the paperwork couldn't wait till morning."
"It could've," Magnus admitted. "But I needed some distraction. I thought catching up on the history of the Bermuda triangle would be preferable to watching myself point a gun in your face."
Will jerked, his eyes locking with Helen's. He was surprised at her bluntness, taken aback by the honesty. Swallowing, Will nodded.
"Fair enough. I was kind of trying to do the same," he admitted and Magnus nodded.
"I will say it again, Will. The situation was far from ideal. I was compromised by the parasite. There's no other way I'd try to hurt you. I would never do it intentionally or by my own will, you must trust me on this."
"I do," Will whispered, feeling the guilt returning. Magnus must've caught up on that.
"Will?" She waited until he looked back up at her. "I know that you did what you had to do, to stop both of us from dying. I know it was an impossibly hard choice to make, but I'm proud you made it, and I need to be sure that you will be capable of doing it again if need be." She got out of her chair and walked around the desk, putting a hand on Will's shoulder.
"I don't want to," Will protested, shaking his head and looking like a lost five year old.
"Nobody wants to," Magnus sighed. "But... Someone has to. For the sake of everyone else. And I trust you, Will." She squeezed his shoulder.
There was a long silence, before Will finally nodded. Magnus smiled and gave him a pat on his shoulder before letting go. "Good boy."
She reached for a manila folder and handed it to Will.
"Now why don't you help me a little with this one? You can take over the couch; it should be more comfortable than the chair."
Will frowned, but took the folder and headed for the couch. He opened it and let out a snort when he saw it was an article about the Philadelphia experiment. Probably something Henry printed out from the internet. It was easy reading, if somehow boring. He made it through half of the page, before he had to stiffle the first yawn. When his head started nodding involuntarily, he felt the folder being taken out of his hands. Gentle hands pushed him to lay back and he sighed contentedly when a pillow miraculously appeared under his head and a blanket was thrown over him. Fingers brushed lightly over his forehead. He leaned into the touch, mumbling something unintelligible.
"Shhh... Just sleep. Everything's going to be okay." Magnus whispered and Will finally let himself believe it.
He succumbed to sleep. When the dream came, all he had to do was open his eyes and take a look at Magnus, leaning over her desk, her face illuminated by the desk lamp and the computer screen, nibbling thoughtfully at a pen. Will took in the picture and closed his eyes, a small smile marring his face. There were no more dreams that night.