Nick looked up, seeing the doctor coming down the hall. He slowly stood, attracting the attention of the CSI and Greg’s parents. Grissom, Greg’s father, and his stepfather stood with him as the doctor came into the waiting room. The man didn’t look like he was about to deliver good news.
“How is he?” Greg’s mother asked.
“Why are they keeping us in here?” his father demanded, pointing to the two FBI agents standing outside the waiting room.
They had come in four hours ago and told them that they were to stay in this room until further notice.
The doctor didn’t answer right away. The unspoken words told them what he wasn’t. Greg was not okay.
“Greg’s kidnapper exposed him to Influenza A, subtype H5N1.”
“Avian flu?” Grissom asked.
“Is that dangerous?” his mother asked.
“It has a fifty percent mortality rate. We’ve had to quarantine him so he can’t have visitors yet. I’m sorry.”
No one spoke.
“We also need to draw blood from everyone to make sure you haven’t contracted the virus. Once you’ve been cleared, you’ll be free to leave. Do you have any questions?”
“How long does he have to be quarantined?” Nick asked.
“At least a week.”
“Is he… Comfortable?” Greg’s mother asked.
The doctor nodded. “He’s unconscious and we’ll keep him sedated if he comes to. He’s not in pain right now.”
The doctor waited and when no one else spoke, he told the group, “A CDC doctor will be here in a few minutes to draw your blood.”
The man left. Nick sat down, stating at his hands. He didn’t look up when Grissom sat down next to him.
“Blaine won.” Nick asked.
Nick looked up at him.
“He gave him—”
“Greg doesn’t know how to quit, Nick. Blaine didn’t win.”
Nick almost believed Grissom. Almost agreed with him. He looked down at his hand when it trembled slightly. His doctor explained that the toxins in the Hymenoptera venom had done some neural damage this time, and he may go through the rest of his life with mild tremors. At some level, Blaine had won.
Four Weeks Later
Greg heard paper rustle. He didn’t open his eyes for fear his nightmare would be waiting for him. Something brushed his arm and his hand flinched.
“Greg?” Catherine’s voice softly asked.
Greg opened his eyes, focusing on her. She smiled, sliding her hand into his.
“Hi,” she said.
“Hi,” he whispered. His throat was raw and it hurt to talk. He lifted his hand to touch it and found that hurt.
“Do you need something?”
She let his hand go to get a glass and straw. She leaned over the bed railing so he could get a drink. He moved his head when he was done and she sat it aside. Greg slowly took in his surroundings, recognizing the hospital room.
“How am I?”
“What did he do to me?”
“He infected you with the Avian flu.”
“Isn’t that like… High mortality?”
“Greg, you’ve been in the hospital for four weeks. You survived.”
“And Nick?” Greg whispered.
“He’s good. His hands a little shaky from injecting into his wrist, but his doctor said physical therapy will help with that.”
Greg looked up into her eyes. “Where is Blaine?”
She hesitated and it told him a lot. “He committed suicide. And the bomb we all thought you two were sitting on, that you two even thought you were sitting on, was a fake. Just like the weapons. We think he wanted to drag it out long enough that you both came down with the avian flu, or died from hypothermia, or drown.”
Greg stared at her face for a long time and she held his gaze unwavering.
“I shouldn’t be glad he’s dead.”
She rubbed his shoulder. “No, but… He tried to kill you. It’s understandable.”
Greg sighed, closing his eyes. “Are you staying?”
“For a little while.”
Greg turned his head. “Next time, we’ll have that cup of coffee. I won’t keep a secret like that again, Catherine.”
He was already asleep when she quietly told him, “Okay.”
Catherine stayed close while he slept.
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