Kurt visited Kelly in the hospital. She was asleep, and he brushed her hair out of her face and sat for a long while and watched her. He noticed the silver in her hair. He liked that she didn't color it, how it caught the light. She muttered in Latin; he couldn't make out any of it.
A few days later, he returned to the hospital, but she had already checked out. He drove out to her farm; when he arrived, he heard music coming from the barn, so he followed the sound. There she was, more or less as he'd once imagined her, curled up with a blanket in her easy chair, books and papers on her lap. He hadn't imagined her arm in the sling, though. She looked up when he came in the door. "Kurt!"
"I visited you in the hospital, but you were asleep."
"Apparently I did a lot of that while I was there. Too many painkillers. I can think more clearly here." Her smile was wan. She moved a few papers off a kitchen chair she'd pulled up for a desk, and he sat down and took her hand, automatically, as he had in the hospital. When she moved, he caught a glimpse of her bandaged clavicle under her loosely-buttoned shirt.
"You talked in your sleep." She raised her eyebrows at that. "It was all in Latin. I couldn't follow it." She smiled again. "Look, are you sure you should have left the hospital so soon?"
Kelly was adamant. "I missed my classes today. I have to meet with the department chair and the academic vice president and the university president tomorrow before they'll let me come back, and I don't want to cancel classes again on Thursday." Kelly could see that this confused him. "Kurt, I brought a man into my class who threatened my students with a gun and disrupted the entire University. "
"They won't fire you over this, will they?" Kurt had read the reports and witness statements; her students had all praised her calm management of the situation. His report would do the same.
She shook her head. "It's unlikely. I have tenure, and every year or two Uppsala tries to steal me away. I'm too valuable to them. They just need to reinstate order, and make sure that I know my place. They'll probably punish me with extra committee assignments, some kind of training program, withdraw the leave they'd approved for next Fall. But they won't fire me."
"The prosecutor says you aren't pressing charges," Kurt stated the fact, rather than asking the question.
She shrugged, then winced as her injured shoulder reacted to the movement. "I don't put much stock in what your prosecutor thinks. He thought it was a good idea for Mike to go to campus with me."
Kurt had to smile at that, because he agreed with her. "Well, he's temporary. But he has a point; Schober did shoot you, and he's made trouble for you at work."
"And the prosecutor has enough evidence without my filing a complaint. Mike will wind up in some sort of therapeutic prison ward for a while, then he'll be deported back home. Who knows? It might even do him some good. I just want to… restore order here."
They sat quietly for a few moments, listening to the music, looking at the plants. "How are your plants doing, anyway?" Kurt asked.
"They're all right. Magnus came and watered them for me while I was in the hospital. He overdid it a little on the Carnegiea gigantea, but they're hardy. That one's going to have to move to a greenhouse soon, anyway."
He nodded. He had no idea what a Carnegiea gigantea was, but she'd gestured towards the large cactus, so he didn't feel the need to ask anything else.
Kurt cleared his throat and looked down at her hand in his, as though he'd just realized it was there, but he said nothing. Kelly broke the silence this time. "Kurt, look, none of this is your fault."
Yes, it is. He couldn't share her precarious order, but she had a better chance of preserving it without him.
He looked up at her; their eyes met, and he tilted his head apologetically and patted her hand before he stood and walked away.
Wallander's cell phone was buzzing at him, calling him to another crime scene, before he was even back to his car.