A/N: This bit may seem a bit out of character. If it does, my only excuse is that I'm ill and the germs have muddled my brain.

Unfamiliar noises floated around him, coming from all directions. Strange beeps and hums, incomprehensible murmurs, and other sounds that he couldn't place. They were all jumbled and his befuddled mind couldn't make sense of them. He wanted them to stop. He wanted to know what was happening. He wanted to know where he was.

It was only when the all-too familiar antiseptic smell caught his nose that he realised he was in hospital. Again.

He gave an agonised groan as pain shot through him. Arching his back slightly, he clenched the blanket in his shaking fist and managed to prise his eyes open to a slit. Through his pain-blurred vision, he could barely make anything out, save for some shapes standing outside a large window. Eventually, he recognised them as people, though he couldn't tell who they were.

Two of the shapes moved off, talking. The figure that was left looked through the window, and seeing that he was awake, came through the doorway and stood at the foot of the bed.

"Ray?" the figure called tentatively.


He went to reply, but something rigid in his mouth prevented him from speaking. He moved his head around to try and dislodge it, but it wouldn't move. He heard the pace of the heart monitor speed up, then Bodie's voice again.

"Ray, calm down." His voice was tinged with alarm and concern.

He tried to, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. He'd found that the thing in his mouth travelled down his throat and was pushing air into his lungs when he didn't need it to.

His breath caught as he fought the ventilator and he knew he had to get the thing out. Panicking, he began choking fiercely as he struggled to breathe, his back arching up as he coughed, sending scythes of pain slicing across his chest. Ignoring the stabbing pain in his right shoulder, he brought his arms up and weakly grasped the tube coming from his mouth, pulling at it to try and remove it himself.

However, it still wouldn't move, the soft cotton strapping holding it firmly in place. He heard Bodie call out.

"Shit. I need some help in here!"

When it still wouldn't budge, he turned his attention to the strapping around his mouth, desperate to get the tube out before he asphyxiated.

"Ray, stop it. You're gonna hurt yourself." Suddenly, Bodie's voice was right next to him, and he felt his strong hands grasp his wrists, trying to pull them away. He cried out softly as the movement jarred his injured shoulder.

The grip loosened slightly. "I'm sorry, Ray. Didn't mean to hurt you."

More feet pounded into the small room, trying to get a semblance of control. But the commotion alarmed Doyle, who panicked and renewed his struggles to get free and get the blasted tube out of his throat. All of a sudden, his right arm flew out of Bodie's grip, and continued on until it made contact with something soft, producing a muffled cry.

Bodie let go of Doyle's other arm and reeled back, clutching his bleeding nose in his hands.

A new voice. "Right, Nurse, go and get Mr Bodie seen to. We need to remove this tube without him dripping blood everywhere."

Despite his protests that he needed to stay and calm Doyle down, he was hustled out of the room by another nurse, his last vision of Doyle being that of him being held down quite forcefully by Nurse Hale.

"Alright, Mr Doyle. We know you must be quite frightened, but we need you to calm down, otherwise we won't be able to take this tube out, okay?"

Doyle grunted, the only response he could make. Pinned down under the nurse's surprisingly forceful grip, he stopped thrashing and lay still.

"Good man. Now-ˮ the doctor was interrupted as Bodie burst back into the room. He stood rooted at the foot of the bed, ignoring the reproachful looks from the medical staff.

"Right, on three, you need to breathe out and give a big cough. Ready? On three: one, two, three…"

Bodie watched, helpless, as the tube was finally pulled free amidst wracking coughs and gasps for breath. He moved up to the side of the bed as the doctor sorted out the ventilator and the nurse jotted down results. Sitting down in the empty visitors' chair, he noticed Doyle trembling and took his hand as a measure of comfort. Doyle looked at him and tried to speak, but could only manage a short, coarse grunt. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly as more pain hit him and he shifted restlessly. In pain and scared out of his wits, his hand tightened around Bodie's.

"I know, Ray. Just relax. Everything's gonna be fine."

The nurse came over and administered some pain relief and Bodie watched it take effect. Doyle whimpered, his grip loosening and his muscles twitching as the narcotics flowed around his body. It wasn't long before it won out and he was sleeping peacefully, allowing Bodie to remove his crushed hand.

The doctor left the room, to no doubt go and inform Cowley that Doyle had finally regained consciousness, and the nurse slipped quietly out after him, leaving Bodie watching quietly over Doyle's dreams.