A/N: Ok, so it's half past midnight and I really ought be sleeping since I have to go to to work and get my brother up at 6am for his early morning shinty practice with the lads, so here ya go.
Hanssen walked down the corridor towards his office, an unusually bedraggled Sahira catching is attention as she hurried past towards the locker room. Silently, he followed her, wondering why she was uncaring about her appearance. Normally, she liked to be very well presented, with her tidy hair and her make-up that matched with her dresses and jeans and heels. But today, she was in a t-shirt, sweater and jogging trousers, wearing no make-up with her wet hair tied back into a bun. Most unusual.
She entered the locker room and Hanssen crossed the threshold a second later. The closing door made Sahira jump and spin around. "Relax, Sahira," Henrik smiled slightly. She instantly slackened, knowing that there was no point to getting uptight with him for following her. She threw off her sweater and turned her back to him, pulling her t-shirt off and replacing it with her scrubs. When she was fully changed, she turned back to Hanssen, waiting for his explanation as to why he had followed her into this room.
"OK, Henrik, tell me why you're here. I'm already late for work and I'm not in the mood to play your games," she said in an abnormally direct and hostile tone. She was seriously stressed out and wound up, not to mention tired.
"I just wanted to make sure that you are alright seeing as you are far from your usual well presented self," he explained to her, drawing up a chair to sit on. She mirrored him, though with a more aggressive action. She was close to being in a temper; that much was very clear to Hanssen. It was strange state for her to be in. She normally had this aura of calm perfection around her. He had only seen her lose it on a handful of occasions in the space of over fifteen years.
She gave a short humourless laugh. "Are you trying to tell me, in the most polite way possible, that I look like an idiot with make-up and my hair straighteners?" she demanded. She saw a short lived, tiny smile flash across his face at this. The manic nature of the past week was taking its toll on her, as far as he could see. He knew that she was called in to cover shifts twice this past week. But he also knew that this was not why she looked lie she had gotten ready in matter of about five minutes. Extra shifts would not do that to her. "I'm just tired, Henrik. Overslept."
"And why are you so exhausted that you slept through your alarm?" he asked her. She hesitated, not knowing what to tell the man she had known for most of her working life, who had always tried to protect her. The man who had always made sure that no harm came to her. He was not going to tell anybody anything she told him; years of experience had taught her that.
"Well, both the children have chicken pox, they've both spent the last three nights screaming their heads off that it's itchy and it hurts. My mother is ill and my Dad has no idea what he's doing, so I'm spending an hour a day on the phone with him, trying to tell him what he should and shouldn't do. And I'm on the verge of throwing my husband out because he's getting to be nothing more than a thorn in my side," she added t her rant, finishing her recollection of the week's events.
"Doesn't that feel better?" he smirked. She glared at him as she realised what he was getting at. He always knew when something was wrong and he knew that her telling someone was the best way for her to relieve some of that stress. "What exactly is it that your husband is doing that is so infuriating?"
"He comes home from work long before I do, and yet when I get home, the place is a tip, the children haven't been fed and he's sitting on his backside doing nothing," she told him. "So I guess it's not what he does that annoys me, it's what he's not doing that's so irritating. He's really nothing but a hindrance; he does absolutely nothing for himself. He won't even make his own meals once in a while. Why he thinks he is being a normal husband, I'll never know."
"We all rationalise our actions. Or rather inactions, in this case," Henrik explained to her. "And, if you honestly believe that you would be better off without him in your home, maybe it would be an idea to ask him to leave." He studied her expression carefully as she considered his words. It was a mixture of resignation to the fact that she would never get help from her husband and an unwillingness to let him go.
"No," she said firmly. Hanssen looked at her in surprise at her unchangeable tone. "He's my husband. It's always been like that. Once the kids get better it'll be normal again," she told him. Her absolute loyalty to her husband made Henrik smile inwardly. She held the same loyalty to him, though not in the same context. There was always a promise to defend one another between the pair of them.
"You must do what you think is best," he said to her, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. It was her decision to make, and he knew that she would stick with whatever one she made. "I hope the children get better soon," he added before standing up to leave.
"Thank you, Henrik," she said. "If I'd gone onto the ward like that, I would have lost it with someone." She grinned as she watched Henrik recall the time when, years before, she had bawled at him for being his normal sarcastic self. He nodded and headed to the door. He turned on his heel to face her again, examining her face.
"You don't need make-up and hair straighteners to be beautiful, Sahira. You could come in here wearing rags and still be beautiful," he enlightened her with a small smile. He left her in the locker room in the knowledge that that last statement would give her the confidence to go out onto the ward the way she was. He knew that she had fully intended to at least put her make-up on in the locker room, but now she wouldn't. And, as for her decision about her husband, she had proved Hanssen's point and rationalised staying with him. Well, as long as she was happy, he didn't mind what she did. It was her life, after all.
Hope it was OK!
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