It had been going decently, not well, but not dreadful either, when it all went downhill like he ran. That was probably the first problem, the running, since he technically wasn't supposed to do that, but what was he supposed to say?

"Oh, sorry, chasing a suspect? No can do, I might die, since I have this heart condition I've failed to mention, and it damn near kills me when I'm not doing anything, so I think increasing my heart rate to dangerous levels probably isn't the best idea."

To which Miller would have obviously replied "Oh of course sir, that explains everything, like why you wouldn't drink the coffee or eat the chips I brought you, since they were hazardous to your health. You just sit here in case he comes back, and I'll chase after the possible murderer on my own."


But it had been going alright, right up until the moment it wasn't, and the pain in his chest overcame his ability to stand, and somehow interfered with his vocal cords, causing them to vibrate in ways without his permission.

Miller ran over to his side, even though the man, the murderer maybe, was getting away, and he wanted to yell at her to chase after him, not run to his side, but the air had escaped his lungs with all that stupid crying out, and seemed unable to fill again.

And there was a tiny part of him that wanted her there, knew that he needed her there, because it was bad this time, and if he was going to die, well he sure as hell didn't want to die alone, even if the alternative was dying in front of Miller.

She practically screamed at him, begged him to tell her what was wrong, but he didn't have the voice to do so, and wasn't sure if he could even if he did, that was how much it hurt. The sirens and flashing lights reached them, the backup they had called before they left, too bloody late, like usual.

Miller bellowed at them to follow the suspect, then call an ambulance.

Hardy almost wanted to protest about that, but there was that whole air issue, and besides, he wasn't stupid enough to think that he didn't need to go to hospital, not this time. Even if it was just to stop this insufferable pain.

Of course, that would leave him with the insufferable wrath of Miller, and he couldn't tell what was worse.

"Don't you fucking die," she hissed at him.

And for a second, he entertained the notion of what she might do to him if he did. Probably revive him, yell at him, and murder him herself.

And he might have smiled at that notion, probably not that far, a grimace perhaps, if it didn't hurt so damn much, so much more than it had all the previous times.

Dammit, he thinks, it must have been the running that got to me. He thought about smiling again, but didn't, gasping for breath and Miller repeatedly telling him not to die and he heard the sirens getting nearer, not the police backup, because they were already there, but an ambulance, come to take him away.


He was almost thankful for that, since the breathing still wasn't going well, and despite Ellie having loosened his shirt and undone his tie, he felt like he was choking, and ambulances tended to have oxygen, which would likely remove these damn spots at the edge of his vision, or at least they'd have some good pain meds to knock him out so he wouldn't have to keep doing this.

It seemed like forever, but the sirens finally halted, ear splittingly near.

Miller was still clutching his hand, muttering at him about dying and murder and chips and dinner, and a bunch of other things that either didn't make sense, or that he couldn't understand, but it was sort of nice to listen to, preferable to the chatter of the paramedics as they ripped his shirt off and tried to ask him questions he still didn't have the breath to answer. They shoved an oxygen mask onto his face and sticky pads onto his chest, stuck a needle in his hand and wires on his fingers, all the while talking at him. And Alec could only blink from behind the oxygen mask, like they were speaking a foreign language he could understand, but just couldn't speak.

One of them sprayed something under his tongue, and the other began asking Miller the questions, none of which she could answer either, and he might have laughed again if he could have, because this was getting really amusing.

The pain slightly lessened, and his vision cleared a little, but he was still struggling to get air into his lungs, a never ending battle he seemed doomed to lose. And that infernal beeping that must be his heart, since it was stubbornly sporadic and rapid.

They shifted him onto a gurney, a process that was unavoidably embarrassing, a fact he really couldn't be bothered with now, since he was sure the worst was still yet to come, whatever was going to happen at the hospital.

There was talk of drugs and conditions and rhythms and pacing and cardioversion, none of which sounded pleasant to him, and all of which he wished to avoid, but still had no breath to say so, still gasping despite the oxygen mask on his face and the drugs they had sent pumping through his veins.

He was on the gurney, and as they lifted him into the ambulance, Miller's pinched face still following him, although not clutching at his hand anymore, his vision blurred again, and he knew he was going to lose consciousness soon.

And he welcomed the darkness, the absence of pain, and the last thing he felt before slipping there was Miller's hand slipping into his once again. And he didn't know why, but he was glad.