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after the deluge

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She hears a voice, calling her back to consciousness, back to the world. Roxanna. She knows this voice, this tone....no one speaks her name quite the same way as he does.

Roxanna forces her eyes open, her eyelids are heavy with the effects of the general anesthetic. She can hear the rhythmic beat of the monitors beside her bed. Roxanna tries to move her head and the relief when she realises she can, is enough to bring tears to eyes.

"Henrik." She calls for him before she sees him, but Roxanna knows he will be there. She can smell the scent of his shaving balm in the air, cedarwood mixed in with hospital disinfectant. He is slumped and asleep in the chair beside her. She feels so weak, and her mouth is so dry, speaking is difficult. Her voice is barely a breath of sound.

But he hears it, and Henrik is startled awake immediately. "Roxanna." His face is grief-stricken and weary, but there joy and wonder in his expression too. He moves towards her bedside and grabs her hand. "You're awake." He seems to want to say more but he is overcome with emotion and grief, so he ducks he head down to kiss her fingers.

Roxanna can feel his tears fall onto her hand and she can see his shoulders shaking as he struggles to contain the emotion that is surging within him. He opens her hand to kiss the inside of her palm. She moves her hand from his lips and cups his cheek, running her thumb along the side of his face. Roxanna's vision is blurred at the sight of him so broken, and she knows, she is crying too.

Roxanna tries to push his head upwards to that she can see his face, but her arm is too weak. Henrik understands and lifts his head to look at her face.

The significance of her moving her arm is not lost on him, and he seems nearly overwhelmed again. He leans his elbow on the bed, with her hand still on his cheek, his own hand covering hers

"I'm sorry." He whispers, "I'm so sorry Roxanna, I should have listened to you.

“Henrik”, she whispers hoarsely her mouth felt like razor blades. He understands her immediately and leaves her side to find a water jug to pour her glass.

She lifts her head slightly to sip from the straw he holds for her.

"What happened? I remember waking up before and not being able to move."

He places the cups on the tray table and returns to her side.

“After the accident, you had surgery. John went in to fix the haematoma and repair a tear. I just had a bad feeling about your surgery. I couldn't ignore it any longer. I watched the recording, when John repaired the tear, he purposely didn't cut the temporary ligature. It left you in the locked in state.”

“As soon as I realised, I raised the alarm. John is gone.....no one is really sure where....I called Guy Self personally to come to help you. He removed the ligature and restored blood flow. You've been in an induced coma for 4 days to help you heal.”

“I was calling out for you....you heard me. Thank you.”

He clasps her hand tightly and rubs her palm along his cheek. “Don't thank me. I let him do this do you. I'm so sorry. It felt wrong but I let him carry on anyway. I heard you, but I didn't listen.” There is a hitch in his voice.

“He fooled us both Henrik. It's not your fault. We loved him and used it to fool us both.“Her eyes are filled with tears again now. Oh John, how could you? She doesn't have the energy to be angry at him yet, she knows the rage will come later. All she think about now, is how; hurt and betrayed she felt. John knew, how much her mother's illness had affected her. How it had shaped her whole life, her determination and ambition to be the best surgeon she could be.…all those long talks when they were students. And yet, with that knowledge, he would still do this to her. Cripple her, maybe beyond repair, perhaps the intention was to let her eventually die. The pain of the betrayal was causing her heart to beat faster and faster. The thought of being murdered by John, a person she trusted and loved, was causing her hands to shake.

“I'm so glad you're awake.” And Henrik. How he must be feeling, he had been just as betrayed as she had. And the guilt will eat at him, perhaps tear him apart. I won't let it. I won't let John destroy anything else. The need to hold him was suddenly overwhelming, but she still didn't have the strength to pull him closer to her.

“Henrik. Will you hold me?“ His face, which seems so damaged and weary, softens at her request. He buries his head into her shoulder as her wraps his arms around her, "I would do anything for you. Anything, you hear. Just ask." His voice is croaky and Roxanna understands exactly why. Her arms still feel heavy and weak but she can just about rest them on his back. Her hands clench around the fabric of his jumper.

“I don't know what I would do if I lost you.” Roxanna feels her heart constrict from his words. She knows how he feels, all they had now was each other. With David gone and John as good as gone, they were all that was left. She tries to pull him closer but she doesn't have to, Henrik is already tightening his hold on her and he presses a gentle kiss on her temple.

Roxanna is unsure how long they stayed that way, but they're interupted by the arrival of Essie di Luca.

“Roxanna!”, she exclaims “You're awake.”

“Yes, it would appear so.” Roxanna gives Essie a small smile over the top of Henrik's shoulder.

“Nurse di Luca, would you page Mr Self please and let him know Ms MacMillan is awake.” Henrik reluctantly relinquishes his hold on her and Essie grabs her opportunity to squeeze Roxanna's hand.

“Yes, of course.” , Essie beams at Roxanna with relief, “You don't know how many people have been worried about you. I'm so relieved you're awake.” Roxanna smiles back at her tiredly. Essie quickly exits the ITU room to page Guy.

“She's right, there have been many people who have been asking about you.” He looks at her face and notices her eyes are becoming droopy.

“You're tired. I've worn you out.” Henrik looks guilty for overexcerting her so quickly after waking up.

“It's ok, I don't think I was ready to see anyone but you when I woke up. But I know if I don't stay awake until Guy gets here, you're going to be in trouble for not paging him immediately. Neurosurgeons can be finicky like that.”

Henrik has interwined their fingers together, offers her a small smile and kisses her hand.

In the end she does manage to stay awake for Guy's arrival. Even makes it through all of his questions and assessments. Guy shoots Henrik a filthy glare when he realises how much has been revealed to Roxanna about recent events and exactly how long she had been awake before he was paged.

“You, should have waited for me. The initial assessment is cruicial in determining the possible extent of damage.” Henrik seems impervious to Guy's glare and continues to hold Roxanna's hand and look at her watchfully.

Guy let's out a frustrated sigh and continues his assessment.

“Do you remember the events leading up to accident?”

“Yes. I went to Albie's to meet John. I confronted him with all the information I had found. About the trial and how it had to stop.…I think he knew all along it was flawed. But he was determined to write his name in the history books, when I realised he couldn't be talked around, I left. I told him I was going to tell Henrik.”

Roxanna pauses now, to compose herself a little. The next part will be hard to talk about. Not just for her but for Henrik too.

“What happened next?”

She can feel Henrik's hand tighten around hers already.

“I remember leaving via the back entrance of Albie's, it's closer to hospital. John came after me, he tried to grab me to get me to come back to the pub. But I told him we were done and pushed him away.”

Henrik can see she was becoming visibly upset now. Her voice, still weak from the anaesthesia was wavering and her eyes were watery from remembering everything that had transpired.

“Is this really necessary, Mr Self? You can see her memory is intact.”

“I need to do a full assessment, Mr Hanssen. The events leading directly up to the event is part of that.” Guy did sound apologetic. Well, as apologetic as Guy could sound.

“Can you continue Ms MacMillan?”

Roxanna takes a deep breath to gather herself before she attempts to comtinue. “I continued to make my way back to the hospital, when I felt him grab me again. This time he had full hold and he pushed me against the wall. I told him he was scaring me. He said that if I went against him, I would regret it. I pushed him away and ran. I think I looked back to make sure he wasn't following me. And then…...nothing. ”

She can feel the tears are running freely down her face now, and she can barely see anything her vision is so blurred. Roxanna can just make out Henrik reaching for his handkerchief and feels the cloth on her face as he wipes away her tears.

As her vision clears, she can see Henrik's expression. The rage on his face is unmistakable but his eyes are also wet. His hands are shaky as they gently clean her face. Don't Henrik. This is not your fault, don't let him continue to hurt us.

“I know that was difficult, Roxanna. Thank you. Well, it's very early days but so far your prognosis is looking good. We'll have to wait and see, to determine any lasting physical effects. Your cognitive function seems to be intact. ”

“Thank you Guy.”

“You know how this goes, Roxanna. Listen to your body. Don't overexhert yourself too soon, it will hold back your recovery.”

“Yes, I know, I need to rest a lot.” She can already feel her eyes become heavy, and the call of sleep was becoming harder and harder to fight.

“I'll check up on you in a few hours.”

As Guy leaves, there is a silence between Henrik and Roxanna left alone, to both mull over their thoughts.

It's Roxanna who speaks first. “Who was driving the car?”

“What?” Henrik is confused by the question, it was not at all what he thought she was going to say.

“The car that hit me. Who was driving it?”

“Oh….Dr Chowdhury.” Henrik tries not to let himself resent her. It was a genuine accident. There was no way for Meena to have known the events leading up to Roxanna running into the car park.

“Henrik.”, her voice is fading, as she can no longer can fight the after effects of the anaesthesia. He strokes the inside of hand to soothe her, to let her know he'll be here when she wakes again .

“I want to speak to her. She must feel awful…...next time…. I'm awake.”

“Shhh….ok, I'll get her next time. Just rest. Everything is going to be fine. I promise.” He uses his other hand to stroke the side her face and it's enough to lull her completely into sleep.