Chapter 6: 2.3 Days (cont.)

Doug strolled down the hospital hallway with a coffee in one hand and a few donuts he had picked up for Hanson on the way over in the other. He wouldn't have been at the hospital so early (well, it was nearly 10:00am but still it was early for him for a Sunday) but Hanson's mom had called at the crack of dawn to ask him to come to the hospital so she could go home to rest after being at the hospital all night and he had agreed. He never could say no to Hanson's mom. Doing that would put him in the shit house with not only her but also Hanson and disapproving looks from both sets of those brown eyes was not something he particularly enjoyed.

As he came closer to the room, he slowed down his pace. He heard a woman yelling behind the closed door and after only a few seconds realized it was coming from someone he knew. It sounded like Amy but that was wrong. It had to be her sister. He also heard a male voice he didn't recognize and then Hanson's struggling voice. Damn. Hanson couldn't get a break. Doug clearly understood Amy's sister's screaming but couldn't really make out the rest of what they were saying and he honestly didn't want to know so he moved away from the door and decided to wait it out. He found some seats out of earshot of the room and absentmindedly ate one of the donuts.

After he'd finished all the donuts and the coffee and cursed himself for once again eating Hanson's food, he saw Hanson's door open and an older man exit it along with Amy's sister. The man walked quickly past him down the hallway while Amy's sister sat down in a chair across from where he was sitting. She hadn't noticed him when she sat down and sniffled in some tissues as she sat staring at the magazine table. Darn it. What was her name? Megan? No, no, that's not right. Beth. That's her name. She looked a lot like Amy with the major exception being tall dark hair versus Amy's face hugging light brown. Doug briefly pondered who was the hair colorer of the two but then shook his head to clear his thoughts. Crap. Should he say something?

Doug sat for a full couple of minutes debating what to do when he saw the man who he now assumed was Amy and Beth's father rushing back to Hanson's room with a nurse quickly following. His curiosity got the best of him and he stood up and followed them leaving Beth behind. There was something definitely wrong and he couldn't just leave Hanson at the mercy of Amy's family. He stopped dead though as he reached the door to Hanson's room. Fuck. Hanson was covering his eyes with a visibly shaking hand and was clearly crying while an unknown woman stroked his sweat soaked hair back from his face and whispered to him. Doug deduced that she was probably Amy's mom. She looked a lot like Amy anyway including the light brown hair. Well, at least the hair coloring mystery was solved.

The nurse stuck some kind of medical thing in Hanson's ear and Doug glanced over and saw that Amy's dad had claimed a spot by the window. He too had tears streaking down his face that he hastily would brush away as he stared at the two women surrounding Hanson.

After a few seconds the instrument started beeping wildly and the nurse looked at it and frowned. As the nurse checked Hanson's heart rate on his neck, Hanson slowly rolled over on his side away from the nurse and towards the woman and Doug shot his eyes back and forth between Hanson and the panicked woman as she looked up at the nurse for answers.

"His fever has spiked again," the nurse, aware that Hanson was still very upset, said in a whisper to answer the look. "I'm going to go notify the doctor."

The nurse straightened and walked towards where Doug was standing in the doorway and gently pushed him out the door, closing the door behind her.

"May I help you?" she asked him once they were outside the room.

Doug didn't really know what to say. He felt like he should barge back in the room and kick out Amy's parents but didn't know what he'd do after that. "Um, is he going to be okay? He's my partner."

The nurse narrowed her eyes at him. Doug could just feel her judging him. "I think it's best we leave them alone until the doctor comes. Why don't you come back later?"

Doug shook his head. "No, I promised Hanson's mom that I'd come and stay with him while she went home to rest."

The look became more stern and she started to walk away from him. "His mom left over two hours ago. Why don't you take a seat in the waiting area over there if you want to wait?"

Doug watched as she quickly walked away leaving him outside the door. Shit. He was just sent to stand in the corner for misbehaving. He dragged himself back to the seating area and sat down across from Beth again. Her eyes were red from crying and she periodically sniffed. She looked up briefly and did a double take when she saw him.

"Hey," Doug said sheepishly.

Beth gave him a very brief insincere smile before looking down and slowly ripping a tissue into small pieces.

Doug sighed. Alrighty. So he messed up. He probably needed to do something about that.

"I'm real sorry about Amy," he said trying to break a little of the tension that was about to suffocate him.

Beth looked like she was debating what to say and after a long moment quietly offered, "I'm sorry about Tommy too."

They both sat another minute in silence. Beth was biting her bottom lip, her eyebrows creased in thought, and Doug was fiddling with a hole in his jeans watching her out of the corner of his eye.

After what seemed like an eternity, she stopped biting her lip and moved her head slightly to speak. "Why didn't Tommy do something to stop Amy from being killed?"

Doug looked up uncomfortably. Great. Now he gets to try to explain Hanson's actions.

"Um, armed robbers aren't usually looking to kill people when they're doing a job. They're just looking for money. It's something like 99% of the time, they'll just take the money and leave. We're taught to just give them what they want and worry about catching them later after everyone is safe and we can get backup. If I had been there, I wouldn't have expected the guy to shoot either. I would have done exactly what Hanson did."

"But then why didn't Tommy just pull out his gun and kill him after he shot Amy?"

Doug shook his head. "The clerk was still there. Hanson couldn't just pull out his gun and start shooting. And, his gun was under his jacket and strapped. Even if he wanted to, he didn't have enough time to pull it out and put it on the guy. He and probably the clerk would have been killed too if he had tried." Doug paused for a moment. "Hanson did go after the guy and got him. He was almost killed in the process. If that bullet that hit his arm had been four inches to the left, it would have hit his heart." Doug shivered at the thought of how close he had been to losing his partner. Damn it. If he had just taken the time to hang out with Hanson, he probably could have prevented him from running after the guy by himself. It's not like it had been a big surprise. Hell, Hanson had done the same thing less than a month earlier with the Kenny Weckerle kid and ended up lying in a freak hospital drugged up to the gills.

Doug put his elbows on his knees and lowered his face into his hands rubbing his face fiercely. How did things get so messed up?

There was a long pause before Beth spoke again. This time she spoke with much less force and more uncertainty. "Is Tommy going to be in trouble?"

Doug snorted. Like Hanson wasn't already in trouble. He was lying in a hospital bed with an extra hole in his arm, a blazing infection that didn't seem to want to let go and a dead girlfriend. He'd say that Hanson was in a shit load of trouble. But then Doug realized that Beth wasn't asking about Hanson's general state of being but rather whether he'd be in trouble with the police force. He let out a loud breath before answering.

"I don't know. Maybe for going after the guy without permission."

"But that was the only thing he did right."

Doug sucked in a breath. The bitch. What did he just tell her? He took another deep breath to calm himself. "He did what he was trained to do. He could have been killed. They're thinking the guy that killed Amy, his name is Angelo Frisk by the way, is probably responsible for a lot more robberies and a few other shootings. He's not showing any guilt for what he did. I heard he actually laughed at Hanson when he saw how much Amy's death messed him up. The guy is a sociopath and Hanson caught him without anyone getting hurt during the arrest. He saved the clerk at that convenience store on Dockside too. If Hanson wouldn't have been there, the clerk would have bled to death."

"Oh, gee. That makes me feel so much better. Tommy's quite the guy," Beth said sarcastically. "I don't even know why I'm talking to you. You're his partner. Of course you'd defend him."

Doug shook his head but remained silent. Beth was grieving. She lost her sister and needed someone to blame and hurt and Hanson was by far the easiest target. Trying to argue with her was only going to make her lash out more. Before Doug could come up with any type of suitable retort, the nurse and a doctor walked past them towards Hanson's room. Once again, Doug stood up and left Beth to herself.

Doug again found himself standing in the doorway watching the drama that played out before him. Amy's dad was still at the window. His shoulders were slumped and he looked about 20 years older than he had just ten minutes ago. Amy's mom was sitting on the bed and holding Hanson's right hand. Her eyes were puffy from crying and she looked like she was about to lose another child. Hanson was lying on his back again and had stopped crying but his eyes were closed tightly and he slowly pulled his hand out of Amy's mom's grasp. She accepted the rejection but didn't seem too happy about it.

The doctor sat on the bed next to Hanson and put two fingers on Hanson's wrist to check his pulse and Hanson opened his eyes to look at him but then quickly closed them again.

"Tom, how are you feeling?" the doctor asked.

Hanson pursed his lips and looked pissed at being asked the same question yet again. Then his shoulders slumped a little and he surrendered. "Cold. The room keeps spinning," he croaked.

"That's from the fever. I need to check your arm to see if I can tell where the infection is coming from. This will probably hurt a bit so just try to relax."

Hanson nodded slightly and pushed back against the pillows. He flinched several times as the doctor unwrapped the bandages encircling his arm but he remained quiet. Doug watched Hanson's jaw clench so hard he was probably crushing his teeth. By the time the doctor had completely unwrapped Hanson's arm and gently explored the red bullet hole with his fingers, Doug had dared to take a few silent steps into the room and he could see a fresh layer of sweat on Hanson's face. The nurse noticed his stealthy entrance and gave him another frigid look that froze him in place again. He felt completely out of place and unsure about what to do. He was the one who was supposed to be watching over Hanson but Amy's family seemed to have adopted him. Doug wondered what was running through Hanson's head. This had to be complete hell for him.

"Tom, it looks like we're going to have to clean out your arm again," the doctor explained. "The antibiotics aren't working. We tried to let the fever run its course but it's been high for an extended period now and you shouldn't be in this much pain. The wound site is red but I don't see any external infection so that usually that means that something is still in the wound that shouldn't be. I'm going to give you something to bring down your fever temporarily so you can rest and I'll schedule some tests to make sure but expect that you'll be back in surgery sometime this afternoon."

Hanson nodded his head again. Doug could see him swallow and his face fall very slightly but it was enough to alarm him. Hanson was about to lose control again and Doug decided to finally make his move.

"Hey, um," Doug stopped when he saw Hanson jump. He hadn't known he was there and Doug heard him mutter "shit" under his breath. Doug rushed on ahead like he hadn't noticed. "Tom's mom asked me to come over and have someone call if there was a problem. Hanson, do you want someone to call her?"

Like a true partner, Hanson got the incredibly subtle opening and took it. "No, thanks. Later. I just want to be alone for awhile."

The doctor and nurse took the explicitly stated hint. The nurse said she'd go get the fever reducer and walked out the door giving Doug a slight smirk of approval as she passed and the doctor made a strong suggestion that they all allow Hanson to rest and waited until Amy's mom was standing before starting to head towards the door himself. Doug turned to the door as Amy's mom leaned over and gave Hanson a kiss on the forehead and Doug saw that Hanson was doing his best to keep control but was quickly failing especially after the kiss.

Doug desperately wanted to give Hanson some time to himself. He hated it when people saw himself being emotionally vulnerable and knew Hanson was the same. He needed to get Amy's parents moving. "Ah, I think Beth is waiting for you both outside."

That seemed to get Amy's mom's attention and she and Amy's dad walked out the door towards where Beth was still seated. Doug glanced at Hanson before closing the door and saw him turn to his side and pull into a fetal position. Damnit. Once he was outside, he leaned against the door and let out a large sigh as he rubbed his face with his hands. He was going to stay right there to make sure that this kind of bullshit didn't happen again.

End of Chapter 6