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"You don't have to be here."

They are the first words Donna has spoken in hours and Quentin turns his head sharply, for a moment sure he's imagined them. Donna is not looking at him, her gaze locked on the door down the corridor that leads to the operating theatre and while she'd cried when they first got to the hospital, now her eyes are dry.

That would worry Quentin except he understands that some hurts run too deep for tears.

"I'm sorry?"

Her lips quirk up in a smile that is nothing like the Donna smile that's been blowing him away for the last couple of weeks. "I mean, I'm sure you have things to do, places to be... You don't have to stay here with me, I mean, I'll be fine..."

"Donna." It's his cop's voice, his long rusty dad to a teenage daughter voice, a voice he's never had to use on her. It seems to snap her back to her senses, her head moving towards him, eyes widening in a way that takes him back to the first night he met her, when he gave her his name and she gave him her hand.

Now, he takes it, wraps it in both of his own. "I'm here. And I'm staying. For as long as you need me."

He could go into a long and detailed explanation but it seems like that's enough if the way her shoulders slump is anything to go by. Like a puppet with its strings cut, the tension that's been holding her up disappears and she leans back against the seat. She nods slowly and he rearranges their hands, laces their fingers together and raises them to his lips.

"OK," she says softly. "OK."

"OK," he echoes and she goes back to watching the door.

He goes back to watching her.