He tried to tell himself that he wouldn't have come if she'd just listened to him, that if Miller had responded to one of his calls to come back, to stop, his orders, his pleading, at the hospital, that it needn't have come to this. He was lying to himself of course. That's what he could tell her, what he planned to when she cornered him stumbling up the hallway. It all flew out the window though, as things so often did when she was around.

Don't be ridiculous.

Right, he was the one being ridiculous here. They both knew that she couldn't solve this on her own. And he wasn't afraid to tell her that, that she was incapable. Yet another lie.

Reverse psychology, yes, that's what it was. That would work.

So he twisted her words around, made her eat them, and trudged on. Of course, she was just as stubborn as he was, but dammit it was his life and if he was going to die solving this case, he would, if only to let the family know that he was not giving up on them.

So he managed to hold his head high and trudge into his office, closing the glass door and leaning against it for support.

Because his vision was swimming, but he knew he couldn't pass out, because that would be the end, he'd be sent back to the hospital and there was no way in hell Miller would let him leave that time. No, he had to stay awake, stay conscious, even if it was barely there. So he leaned against the wall and breathed, hoping that would work, that the fluttering in his chest would calm instead of increase, like the wings of a butterfly trapped within glass. Of course, everyone knew what happened when a butterfly was trapped. It would beat its wings so much that they would break, or it would give up and lie there until it died.

Perhaps not the best comparison.

But the fluttering slowed, returning to a more normal pace, and he stood there breathing, waiting for his vision to clear somewhat, leaning heavily on the door, knowing everyone could see him and not having it in him to care. Until finally he felt steady enough on his feet to make it to his desk and collapse in his chair.