On his fifth day in hospital Greg was finally allowed out of bed. His mood instantly lightened up when the nurse arrived with his wheelchair, telling him that his doctors had cleared him for getting out of bed as long as he doesn't overdo it.
Greg had never thought that it would feel so good to be back in his wheelchair. What felt like a prison all the weeks before was now a piece of freedom for him. Finally he was able to get around again. After he had been transferred with the help of a nurse he just sat there for a while, letting his hands run over the rims on the wheels. He looked up to the nurse and smiled. “It's unbelievable how much I missed that thing. I mean it's only been a week but dear god did it drive me mad.”
“Yeah, and you us. So we thought the quicker we can get that man out of his bed the easier all our lives will be,” the nurse replied.
Letting out an uncomfortably laugh Greg apologized again for his unacceptable behaviour. He then gave himself a good push and made his way out of his room and towards the courtyard.
After he came back he noticed that Jason had been discharged which was a pity as Greg found out pretty soon. At first he was sure that he couldn't get punished with anything worse than constant snoring during the night and continuous visits during the day but what he got next was the absolute horror. It was a man, round about his age, who seemed to have some kind of drug problem as he kept calling the nurses to give him some morphine, even asking Greg if he could get him some.
When the man got visited by his wife, Greg noticed that the woman was coming down from a high. She was aggressive and demanded money from her husband so that she could buy new drugs. They fought for quite a while until, much do Greg's dismay, they decided that the time was better spend having sex. And not some quite, we mustn't be heard sex. They were loud and didn't even seemed to bother that Greg was lying just a couple of feet away. He just wanted to get out of the room but of course the decided to have their intermezzo right at the time when he was hooked up to his feeding tube and had no chance to escape.
“Oi,” he called over to the other bed. “You're not alone in here!” He was completely ignored, of course, making him wish that he was still on strong painkillers and could drug himself into oblivion.
It also seemed that this guy was some sort of sex addict not being able to sleep without jerking off and to make matters worse the guy seemed to have quite some affairs, how he managed that they didn't run into each other was a mystery to Greg, but they were all very keen on giving him a hand during the day.
The good news was that because he was allowed to move his physical therapy sessions were continued which meant that 3 times a day he got out of his room and was able to work on his legs. When he didn't had any therapy or wasn't hooked up to some tubes or IVs he tried to spent as much time as possible away from that man.
Greg groaned and picked his mobile up again. He had been discharged to rehab 2 weeks ago now and had long and helpful sessions with his psychiatrist about his current mood swings. The first one was shortly after the episode in the hospital where he had ripped out his IVs and at first he had seen no point in them at all but after some time he began to open up. He talked about his fear that he would be a burden to everyone around him, that people and his friends only see Greg the cripple and not the person he was before the injury. That his whole life is changing after his injury and would never be the same again. And like John, the therapist had told him that it is crucial that he kept his friends and loved ones close, that he needed the emotional support only they were able to give him.
So there he was now, sitting on his balcony , feeling the sun warming his skin. A couple of days ago he noticed that he was able to move some toes during one of his physical therapy session. Greg had never felt happier in his life. It was a start even though his therapist explained to him, that he still had a long road ahead until he was able to walk unassisted, if at all, and that they would start with the non weight assisted gait training as soon as the feeling and movement had improved. Right now his session consisted of weight assisted treadmill training and some sort of cycling machine where he was either lying down or sitting up and his legs were moved as well as other exercises.
He proudly showed his new skill to everybody who had visited him ever since. Which weren't many if he was honest.
Greg played with the mobile in his hand, rubbing over the buttons at its side. He opened the contacts and closed them right away. Then he went to his texts and scrolled through them. There were quite a few from his sons, the first ones full of worry and then later back to the old banter and that they still were looking forward to beat him at basketball when they come to visit him at rehab. Then there were the messages from his friends and colleagues and then there was the one from Sherlock : “Call her! SH”
Greg had no idea how Sherlock knew about his fight with Molly or why he even cared but he knew that Sherlock was right, that he should call her. He had behaved like an arsehole the last time he had seen her, his therapist and his friends had made that pretty clear to him. And if he was honest he really did miss her. The way she laughed and nearly always managed to cheer him up somewhat. Her little insecurity and how she was prone to blunder. The feeling of her next to him in his bed.
Greg let out a deep breath and looked down, running the palms of hands over his forehead and temples. God he really was an idiot pushing her away. He regretted the things he had said to her. He loved her and he needed her. “Call her,” he said to himself. “Just fucking call her and ask her to forgive you.” He opened the contacts again but still couldn't bring himself to press the call button next to Molly's name. What if she doesn't forgive him? His thumb hovered over the little handset symbol. Well, he wouldn't find out if he doesn't call so he brought his thumb down and watched as a picture of him and Molly appeared on his display when the call got connected. He loved that picture. He had taken it on one of their strolls through the park. In the background was the little lake they just had discovered. Molly was kneeling behind him, arms around his waist and head resting on his shoulder, smiling brightly. It was the first picture he had taken of them together and Greg really hoped that it wouldn't be the last.
After what seemed like an eternity Molly finally picked up. “Yes?” Her voice was cold and Greg's heart sank.
“Hi, um it's me, Greg.”
“Yes, I can see that on my display. What do you want?” Her voice still lacked all the warmth and kindness he loved so much.
“I...I...” Greg had no idea how to start. “Molly, look. I'm really really sorry. I behaved like an absolute arsehole back in hospital,” he could hear Molly drawing in a sharp breath.
“I'm an idiot. If I could move my legs I would kick myself,” he chuckled slightly, hoping for a similar reaction from the other end of the line but there was none.
“Can you please forgive me?”
Molly let out a deep breath. “Greg, it has been nearly 4 weeks now since our fight and I hadn't heard a word from you. Not even a text. You weren't an arsehole back then your were an arsehole since then. When I stormed out of your room I really expected to get a call or a text from you some days later when your mood and health would have improved but there was nothing.”
Greg tried to defend himself but was instantly interrupted by Molly, “no let me finish. You want me to forgive you, then let me talk. I heard nothing from you for 4 bloody weeks Greg. Do you know how much that had hurt on top of the things you had said to me? And now you expect me to forgive you because you finally decided to call me? It's not that easy, Greg. No. We need to talk about this. Seriously talk about it and I don't mean over the phone.”
“Yes, of course. I didn't expect... I mean I don't know what I thought. Um, yeah, let's meet. Do you want to come to the rehab facility or should we meet somewhere else? I can... I think I can come to London if you want that.” Greg noticed that he was rambling. He felt horrible.
“No, it's Ok. I'll come over.”
“Great, what about Saturday?” He asked.
“Sorry, meeting some friends then. Can't cancel that but how about Sunday? 'Round 2 o'clock?”
“Perfectly fine, whenever suits you best.”
“Good, see you then.” And with that Molly ended the call.
Greg leaned forward and put his head in his hands. That didn't went as he had expected. He knows that it's stupid but somehow he had hoped that after this call everything would be alright between them. And now it looks like he was far away from it and that he had to put a lot of effort in to convince Molly that he truly was sorry. Greg groaned. God he really was an expert in driving the women he loved out of his life. First his ex-wife and now Molly.
The next call he made was to John, apologizing for his behaviour in hospital. At least John accepted his apology and promised to visit soon with Sherlock.
On Sunday Greg took an extra long shower after his PT session and put on the best outfit he had here in rehab. It was just a jeans and a short sleeved button-down shirt but still was a great improvement to the tracksuits trousers and shirts he'd normally wear.
It was nearly 2 o'clock and Greg was fairly nervous. He had no idea what the outcome of this talk would be. A slight knock on the door made him jump. “Come in,” he called turning his chair towards the door.
Molly opened the door and slowly entered Greg's room. He was looking up to her licking his lips, something Greg always did when he was nervous or insecure as Molly had noticed shortly after she had met him the first time.
“Hi,” he greeted her with a soft voice.“You're...um, you're looking good.”
“Thanks,”she smiled and settled herself on one of the chairs.
“Do you, um, do you want something to drink? I've got some juice or water.”
“Water's just fine, thanks.”
Greg poured her a glass and positioned his chair so that he was facing Molly. He looked at her with his expressive brown eyes. “Listen,” he began, again running his tongue over his lips. “I'm... I mean I'm... I have no idea why I said the things that I said back in hospital. I honestly didn't mean them. I'm so so sorry that I hurt you. I don't know. I was frustrated and depressive. I know that that is no excuse for what I did but maybe it's an explanation.”
Molly studied the man in front of her. He looked so afraid and insecure and Molly had to fight the urge to to hug him and tell him that everything is gone and forgiven. But she couldn't give in. What he had done had hurt her on a level she never had been hurt before. Not even with Sherlock's disregards towards her flirting or when she learned that Jim was Moriarty and only used her to get to Sherlock.
“Greg, what you had said, that my feelings towards you were solely based on pity, you can't imagine how much that had hurt. I cried for days. Did you know that? Every time I got a call or a text I hoped that it was from you, saying that you were sorry but that never happened. Do you know how that feels, fighting not to cry again every time after noticing that the call or text didn't come from you?”
Greg slowly shook his head. “Molly, I can only repeat myself. I'm so so sorry. Please, believe me when I say that nothing of what I had said is true. I … I,” he paused and ran his hand through his hair. “ I need you Molly, I don't know if I can handle all of this alone.”
“Well it's a bit late, isn't it? 4 bloody weeks, Greg. 4 weeks full of agony. And what do you mean you need me because you can't handle this alone?” She gestured towards his wheelchair and his room. “That you just want me back so that I can give you moral support because nobody else is giving that to you? What did you do, Greg? Been an arsehole to your other friends as well?”
Greg's eyes narrowed. “Wha'? No!”
“Don't fucking lie to me Greg. I talked to John. I know what you said to him.”
Greg swallowed hard and was about to say something when he was stopped by Molly. “Don't. I know that John and me weren't the only ones who had to suffer under your temper. I understand that what happened to you is something not easy to cope with but that is no excuse to treat the people around you the way you did. It's not easy for us either, you know? You say that you're sorry but how can I be sure that something like that won't happen again?”
“You can't,” Greg said shakily after a long pause.
Molly looked at him, noticing his eyes were filling with tears.
“ I'm working on it, I truly am. I'm seeing a psychiatrist, but I can't promise that it won't happen again. That I won't push you away because I'm frustrated. I'm taking antidepressants to keep the moments of extreme depression at bay but it might happen. Right now I'm fine. PT is working well and I'm making progress. But I know that there will be times again were I'll have the feeling that all of this is pointless. I know it's a lot to ask from you, but this will be the times were I need you the most. Because I love you and only you can give the support that I need, no one else. Not my best friends, not my family. It's you that I need even though it seems that I'm pushing you away. But I don't want to see you hurt and asking you to go through all of this again and again would be very selfish, so maybe, “ his voice broke, “ maybe it would be better if we don't see each other until I can be sure that episodes like the one in hospital won't happen again.”
Greg looked at her with an utterly sad expression and Molly's shield began to crumble. She had promised herself that she wouldn't cry. That she would stay strong but now she could feel tears running down her face. Greg took her in his arms, his warm body pressed against hers. “I'm sorry, Molly. I wish I could promise you that it won't happen again.” She could feel his breath on her neck, smelled his aftershave. “But I can't,” his breathing hitched, he was fighting not to cry she noticed. “And if that's your condition to forgive me, then maybe it's better if you don't.”
Greg looked up and took her face in his hands. “Please don't cry,” he wiped away her tears with his thumbs. “We'll work it out somehow.”
“But what if I want to forgive you? What if I want to be with you during those times? Like you said, Greg. You can't go through it alone. You need me as much as I need you.”
“But I will let out my bad mood out on you again at some point and I don't want to hurt you, Molly.”
She forced a smile through her tears, “ like you said, we'll work it out somehow. Just promise me one thing, Greg.” She looked him deep in his eyes, “never say again that I'm just with you because of pity and don't you dare to tell me again to find me a real man. You are a real man, Greg. The best man a woman could wish for.” “Well most of the time at least, ”she added with a cheeky smile.
Greg chuckled, “ I promise.” He gave her a long kiss then suddenly pushed his wheelchair away from her, a huge smile forming on his face. “Oh by the way. There's something I want to show you!” he said lifting his left leg up onto the opposite knee, taking off his shoe and sock.
Molly had a slightly puzzled look on her face. “I have no clue what..”
“Just look at my toes,” Greg said through gritted teeth, now spotting a concentrated look.
Molly did as she was told and couldn't stop a yelp of delight when she noticed that Greg was actually wiggling them. “Oh my god, Greg. Unbelievable. That's great!”
“Innit?” A proud smile broke through his strained face. “Takes a lot of effort, but still.”
“Since when are you able to move them?”
Greg puts his sock back on, “ round about a week now. Happened at one of my PT sessions. Never thought that wiggling my toes would make me so happy.”
Molly let out a laugh.“Are you able to move them on both feet or only on your left foot?”
“Nah, nothing on the right side.”
“But this still is good news I guess in terms of being able to walk again, isn't it?”
“Yeah, well at least partly. Doctor said that there is always the possibility that I won't regain full movement back. But it's a good sign that it actually is returning, yes. Means that the nerves and the spinal cord are beginning to heal and start remembering how to work. “
Greg leaned forward in his chair and pulled Molly onto his lap. “And maybe something else will start feeling and working again soon too,” he added with an ambiguous smile.
Molly slipped her hands under Greg's shirt. “Shall we give the nerves some special therapy?” She whispered in Greg's ear and nodded towards his bed.
“We certainly should.”
Greg sat at a table in the cafeteria, stretching his toes. It took him another month of hard work but finally he was able to control more muscles in his left leg and if he concentrated really hard he could now slightly bend his knee. But there was still no movement returning in his right leg which frightened him a great deal. His doctors assured him that it sometimes took one limb longer than the other to regain movement and that he should not worry about that.
His therapists where preparing him to start non weight assisted gait training by strengthening the muscles in his legs and stimulating them. He had been told that in a little over a week he would be starting with the parallel bars, one physical therapists at each site helping to move his legs. Greg was equally afraid of it as he was looking forward. That was a major step forward in his recovery.
He turned himself back towards his visitor who was sitting next to him. “So, your telling me that you finally found McNish?”
Sherlock nodded. “Yes, took me a while but I was finally able to find his hiding place.”
“And is he...? Did you? I mean I would've heard if he had been arrested. So what did you do to him?” Greg still remembered what Sherlock had done to Magnussen after he had threaten John and Mary.
“God, Lestrade. I did not kill him."
Greg breathed a sigh of relieve.
“I let Mycroft take care of him.” Sherlock couldn't suppress a slight chuckle when he saw the shock on the DI's face. “Just kidding Detective Inspector. Well at least partly, Mycroft placed McNish in a secret government facility and he will remain there until you say that you are ready to face him in court. “
“You'll give me a heart attack one day Sherlock.” Greg was relieved that not only McNish was off the streets but that he was alive and will be facing justice.
“Guess I'm not ready yet. Don't want to be in a wheelchair during the trial. I want to show him that he couldn't bring me down.”
“But it's not...,” Sherlock began but was instantly interrupted by Greg.
“Don't!” He looked sharply at Sherlock. “I do know that. Just give me some time.”
Sherlock gave him an encouraging smile. “Of course. Call me whenever you are ready.”
“Will do. Anything new in Baker Street?”
“No, don't you read John's blog anymore? You'll find any information you might find interesting there.”
“Jeez, Sherlock, I was just trying to keep up the conversation. Showing some interest in how you are doing.”
“Oh! I'm bored. John is still spending most of his time with Mary and Dimmock won't give me any cases.”
“Yeah, I heard that you keep harassing him and that he ordered to not let you into the Yard as long as he's there.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes, “I did not harass him. I merely asked him a couple of times if he needed some help with some of his cases. He let me in on two than kicked me out, telling me to never bother him again. I never thought I would says this again to you when you are not unconscious but I miss you, Lestrade. You're the best of the lot.”
Hearing that from Sherlock meant a lot to Greg. Even though Sherlock doesn't show it he cared about the people around him. He cleared his throat, “you might be stuck with Dimmock for a while, I'm afraid, but I'm working hard on returning. And you know what? I'm planning to give the Yard a visit in a couple of weeks, see how everything's going without me and clear some stuff with personnel. If you promise to tread Dimmock better than you treated me I may put in a good word for you.”
“I always treated you...” the look on Lestrade's face muted Sherlock.
“Do you want new cases or not?”
“Yes,” Sherlock grumbled.
“Good, I'm gonna talk to Dimmock.”
The day of his first parallel bar training had finally arrived.
Greg grabbed the bars, making his knuckles turning white. Both of his legs were in braces that gave them support. With the help of his therapists he slowly pulled himself out of his wheelchair. His legs were shaking and wobbling and he heavily leaned forward afraid of loosing the balance. Two hands grabbed his waist and slowly pulled him in an more upright position while two other therapists carefully repositioned his legs.
“You're Ok?” Dan asked from behind.
Greg nodded. “All good. Feels strange, though. Bit afraid that I'll fall.”
“Don't be. We've got you and your wheelchair is right here in case you wanna sit down again. Ready?”
Greg nodded again.
“Alright, Mike and Brodie will help you raising your legs a little bit if needed and I want you to move your right hip forward and then repeat that with your left hip.”
Doing as he was told he pushed his hip forward, distantly feeling his right leg dragging along. His arms began to shake under the strain and he had to pause for a minute before he was able to slightly lift up his left leg and move his hip. Greg stopped and shook his head. “It's too hard. It's not working.”
“Come on Greg, keep pushing.”
“Bollocks! I know you can. Your doing great! You just have to believe in your abilities. What is it that Thomas the tank engine always says? Yes you can, yes you can.”
Greg groaned and tried an other step. His arms were hurting and needed to be moved forward but he was afraid of loosening his grip, fearing to fall over.
“You won't fall. Just slowly move your arms forward.”
Feeling Dan's grip around his waist tightening Greg risked to release his grip. He slightly swayed backwards and instinctively put his hands on the bars behind him.
“I said hands forward not backwards.”
“I was falling!”
“No you weren't. There is no way you could fall the way I'm supporting you. Now try again.”
Greg took his right hand off the bar and slowly moved it to a position further up.
“Great, slow and steady. Now the left one. See? Wasn't that bad, was it?”
“And now I want to see your hips moving again. You work them just like Shakira.”
Greg chuckled slightly and repeated the exercise. He wasn't even nearly halfway through the parallel bars when Dan pointed out that he had gotten an audience. Looking up he saw Molly walking towards him. “Hey, sorry I'm a bit late.”
A strained smile crossed Lestrade's face. “'S Ok,” he replied taking another careful step with the help of Mike and Brodie.
“Wow, Greg! You're walking!” She exclaimed excitedly upon seeing Greg moving between the parallel bars.
“Not really, 'm only moving my hips and even that takes an ridiculous amount of strength.”
“But you are moving forward, aren't you?” Dan intervened.
“'S'pose,yes.” Greg admitted reluctantly, crooking his head.
“So it's walking. And now shut up and continue your way towards that young lady over there.” Dan winked at Molly. “Maybe, if you're lucky, she'll reward your efforts with a kiss.” “Or should I be the one to collect it an then pass it on to you?”
“Bastard,” Greg replied through gritted teeth slowly making his way towards Molly
It was hard for Molly to watch Greg struggle. His face was distorted with pain and exertion, sweat running down his head and chest. She could see the muscles working in his arms, which were shaking from the strain of carrying his bodyweight. A couple of times it looked like he was about to fall over but Dan always held him steady. After what seemed like an eternity he finally reached the end of the bars. Breathing heavily a proud smile formed on his lips.
“That was amazing,” Molly smiled leaning forward to give Greg his well earned kiss.
Dan carefully lowered Greg back into his wheelchair and began to remove the braces. “Good work, man. How are you feeling?”
“Thanks, feels like I've run a bloody marathon.” Greg ran his hands over his face wiping away the sweat.
'“Well you kinda did. It takes an incredible amount of strength and will power to start walking again after an incomplete spinal cord injury. Not many actually make it all the way down the parallel bars on their first try.”
Greg wiped his hands on his shirt, noticing that it was nearly completely wet. ”Do you say that to all of your patients,” he laughed.
“Maybe,” Dan replied laughing as well. He stood up and nudged Greg on his shoulder. “No seriously. What you achieved today was amazing. If you keep up that pace you'll soon be shuffling around with a walker. You're a real fighter, Greg and I bet my arse that I'll make you walk on you own two feet at the end of your stay with us.”
“If I do I definitely own you guys more than a pint.” Greg looked up to Molly. “My arms are killing me. If you could...,” he stopped and licked his lips uncomfortably. “If you could push me?”
“Yes of course!” Greg had never really asked her for help so Molly instantly knew that he had no stamina left at all. She grabbed the handles of his wheelchair and pushed him towards the door.
“Up to your room then?” Molly asked.
“Yeah, am in a desperate need for a shower.”
After Molly had moved him into his bathroom Greg began to undress himself. He was completely done and if Molly hadn't been here he would've ditched the shower and crashed in his bed not thinking about moving until it was time for dinner. He took his shirt and trousers off and put them over the sink. He slowly moved his wheelchair towards the shower and transferred himself onto the stool that was standing in it.
He shampooed his hair and body, wincing slightly at the touch on his still sensitive wounds.
Greg was about to transfer himself back in his chair when his wet hand suddenly slipped on the transfer board causing him to lose his balance. With a thud he fell to the the floor.
“Shit,” he breathed. “Shit, shit shit.” Greg reached behind him trying to pull himself off the floor and into his wheelchair but he didn't had the strength. His arms were still weak from that PT session and there was no way that he was able to support his bodyweight long enough so that he could push himself up.
“You're Ok in there?” Molly asked concern showing in her voice.
“Um..actually no.” He heard her walking towards the bathroom door.
Molly knocked. “Do you need any help?”
Greg took in his situation. He was lying on the floor of his bathroom. Wet and completely helpless. “Uh, guess I do.”
Molly carefully opened the door and stepped into the room. “Oh god. Greg! What happened? You're hurt?”
“'m fine. I slipped and then...,” his voice trailed of. He turned himself away from Molly. “God, this is embarrassing. Lying naked on the floor. I'm pathetic.”
Molly took the towel and handed it to Greg who thankfully took it, drying himself off.
“You're not pathetic, Greg. None of this makes you pathetic. Remember how much progress you've made. How great you did in that last session.”
“Doesn't help me now, does it?” Greg said reaching for the boxer-shorts which were dangling on the site of the sink.
Molly shook her head. It took one little accident to destroy all the positive thinking and mood. One little slip to threaten Greg to be pulled into a depression again.
“No, not now of course. But soon. And right now I'm here to help you so let's get you off that floor before you catch a cold.”
Greg gave in and allowed Molly to lift him up. It took her a couple of tries but finally she was able to place him back in his wheelchair.
“Thanks,” Greg said, barely audible. He looked down at his toes, embarrassed to his guts, not daring to look Molly in the face. She knelt down in front of him, putting her hands on his knees.
“Don't let that shit pull you down. It happened and it probably will happen again. That's nothing to be ashamed of.”
Greg shrugged his shoulders, his gaze still fixed on his feet.
“Look at me, Greg.” Molly waited until Lestrade finally raised his head. “We're in this together, remember? I'll help you whenever you need it."
“I know,” Greg said. “Can you give me a minute alone, please?”
“Of course.” Molly got up and made herself comfortable on Greg's bed. She picked up the book he was currently reading from his night shelf. Another thriller. She chuckled slightly, even on sick leave Greg couldn't do without some murders. She had made it through the first couple of pages when Greg finally exited the bathroom. Without saying a word Greg quickly changed into a tracksuit and then transferred himself onto his bed. He closed his eyes, letting his head fall onto the pillow. Greg felt Molly moving beside him, then her fingers running through his damp hair.
Greg gave a slight nod. “Completely exhausted, though.”
“Do you want your book back?”
“Nah, 'm good. Probably be dozing off soon anyway.”
“Then I should better get up, so that you can get some rest. It's probably not really comfortable with me occupying half your bed.” Molly looked over to Greg who still had his eyes closed. She smiled at him.
“No, stay. Please.” Greg had opened his eyes and was shuffling around until his read rested comfortably on Molly's shoulder. His right arm now on her stomach. “Tell me about your week.”
It didn't took long until the only reply Molly got from Greg was his soft snoring.