Author's Note: A one shot? Just a little drabble of bits picked up from next ep's promo (dang NBC, why you gotta preempt? For the Voice clip show? Stupid reality crap, who are the millions of people watching this? Geesh…)
In the Stillness
"I'm going with him."
That wasn't a request. I'm not waiting for permission, nor do I need it.
Liz Keen climbed onto the ambulance, and only until the door was swiftly shut that she made a firm eye contact with Cooper. He gave a slight nod, and that was all she needed to see.
"He's lost a lot of blood. His blood pressure is falling fast. We've got to intubate."
Liz sat back slightly to give the paramedic some space, but did not dare take her hand out of his. Ressler had passed out over an hour ago from the gunshot wound to his abdomen, his clothes damp in blood. Liz clutched his calloused hand while putting her other hand on his head, gently caressing his sweat-soaked hair. She placed her forehead upon his, and whispered into his ear, "It's going to be alright. Just hold on, damn it. Stay with me."
The paramedic connected the IV, and after a quick glance at the heart monitor, gave Liz a look that spoke of grave conclusion. Damn you. Don't you dare look at me like that. He's going to make it.
Liz returned her attention to Ressler, continuing to whisper, "It's going to be alright. Just hold on."
. . . . .
After what felt like the most agonizing minutes, the ambulance pulled up to the hospital curb, greeted by a team of nurses and doctors. Liz's cell phone went off, which she ignored. As Ressler was laid on the stretcher, Liz's hand reluctantly let go of his limp hand. In amidst of the paramedics barking information, Liz screamed, "Please, you've got to work quickly."
The last of what she saw was his disturbingly still body, his face ashen and pale, his blond hair swaying lifelessly. She looked down upon her hands, and they were soaked in his blood.
. . . . .
Liz sat in the waiting room, absolutely still. Her body felt tense and detached from her beating heart; none of the surroundings registered to her, not the sounds, people, even that dreadful air. Her mind played over and over again the scene she encountered, when she walked into the cell with Red, seeing Ressler passed out, covered in blood. As try as she might, she could not shake off the image. Ressler looking helpless. Ressler in suffering. Ressler dying.
She felt paralyzed and tormented by the thought of Ressler dying. He can't. I can't lose him. I can't bear it. Liz was taken back to the time Ressler comforted her after Kornish kidnapped her. How he held her tightly, whispering softly into her ear, not letting go until she let go. He felt so warm, so safe, protected. He stood firmly as she fell into him, allowing him to be her strength and anchor while she let go of all things, and unguardedly released all her fears. Her tears flowed, but Ressler did not deem it a weakness. Instead he clutched her ever so tightly, drawing circles with his thumb, whispering "It's over now. You're safe."
Liz was awoken with the sound of her cell phone ringing. Tom. Damn it. He's called before.
"Lizzie, where are you? I called you hours ago."
"I know, and I'm so sorry. I'm alright, don't worry about me. I'm still stuck at work."
"It's almost midnight."
"I know. But I can't leave."
"Lizzie, I want you to come home."
"Tom, I just can't. You've gotta trust me."
And with that, Tom hung up.
Cooper also called several times, demanding to know the progress of the surgery. Liz could not give him any specifics, but assured him that she'll be there when Ressler is out of the surgery.
. . . . .
Liz fought back the fatigue that seemed to invade deep, even to her bones, while her eyes were blood shot from staring at the door of the surgery room. She had begun to memorize every crevice of that door when it finally swung open, producing a tall doctor in scrubs. Liz got up quickly to speak to him, learning that Ressler is out of surgery, and that the surgery went well without complications. They were able to remove the bullet and repair all the vital organs. His blood pressure was back to normal, and his recovery will take about a week. The mounting wall of fear and anxiety finally subsided, and she felt tears form out of relief. "Thank you, doctor. Thank you so much."
"You can go see him, if you like. He's still a bit under, so he probably can't speak yet. But he can hear you."
. . . . .
Liz opened the door carefully and quietly. Everything was very still at the recovery room. The nurse by his side smiled at her, and left without a sound. Liz surveyed the surroundings, all the machines, blinking and beeping, a tall IV stand, coils of tubes, and a small lamp on the night stand. The small light illuminated Ressler's face, now in more fleshy tone. Liz sighed in relief.
She walked over to Ressler, looking intently into his face. His eyes were closed, but she can hear his breathing. She delicately placed her hand on his arm, feeling its warmth. Liz closed her eyes in release of all the tension and anxiety. Her hand caressed down to his hand, lightly linking with his fingers. Calloused fingers. All those times he pulled out his gun out of the holster, with that scowl on his face, barking orders at everyone. She shook her head slightly, and smiled in amusement. It was then that Ressler's fingers moved in her grasp. Liz looked up to see Ressler's blue eyes. There was a film of grogginess, but the gaze was on Liz and she knew that typical Ressler focus was intact.
"Don't try to talk, you're still under the anesthesia." She said softly, her hand now gently on his face. Ressler continued his gaze upon Liz.
"You were shot in the abdomen, and you lost a lot of blood. But the surgery went well, and you should be back to normal in about a week."
"And just to let you know, it was Reddington who actually saved your life." At that, Ressler tried to speak, but Liz shushed him playfully. "You're indebted to him. I'll remind you of this as often as necessary." Liz let out a chuckle, and saw that Ressler was none too pleased.
"I'm just glad you're alright. Just rest now." Liz assured him as she caressed his hand. Ressler's eyes closed slowly, and his breathing soon became regulated, in deep sleep. "I'll be here when you wake up." She whispered into the stillness of the room.