Greg's wounds had finally healed to a level where he was able to move around without having to fear to cause harm to his injuries and didn't need acute medical care.This caused his physiotherapists to decide that it was time to work on his mobility and therefore to relocate him to a rehabilitation facility.
Greg was lucky that he landed a spot in the Spinal Cord Centre of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, one of the best facilities in the UK. He had the slight suspicion that Sherlock or better Mycroft had something to do with it. He had to have a serious conversation about that with the two of them later.
The facility was only a short ride away which Greg loathed non the less. It was one thing to be pushed around in a wheelchair but lying on a wheeled stretcher still hooked up to the IVs and all that stuff in the public was something that made Greg really feel like an invalid even though it would only be the way from and to the waiting ambulance.
There had been long and tiring discussions with the doctors, his therapist, with John and Molly were he had tried to convince them that he was perfectly able to make this journey sitting down not lying on a stretcher. But he stood no chance, the nurses always told him something about hospital policy and the doctors and John told him that even though the injury to his spine had healed to that point, that he could take short trips in a wheelchair around the hospital there was always the chance of re-injury during a bumpy car ride and that there was always a chance of a traffic accident so they had to make sure that he is as secure as possible. A vivid description of the consequences if his spine got damaged again, namely slimming down the chances to ever walk again significantly, made Greg succumb to his fate.
When the day of his discharge had finally arrived Molly was unfortunately away for work so John offered to accompany him. Greg had long given him and Molly his spare keys to his apartment so that they were able to get him stuff he needed from home and sort out his mail. His ex-wife had moved with his sons up to Scotland so they had only visited on an irregular basis on weekends.
“Ready to go?” John asked stepping into Greg's room. He was carrying a huge duffel-bag which contained the personal belongings Greg would need during his stay in the rehab facility.
“God yes. Nearly couldn't sleep last night out of excitement,” Greg said spotting a huge smile.
“Yeah, was the same for me when they finally discharged me after I got shot,” John said nodding.
“But you lucky bastard probably were allowed to go straight home and not being stuck at rehab for months after,” Greg chuckled.
“You wanna start a who-got-wounded-worse-war?” John laughed. “Sorry, mate but I'm out. You win this by far.”
The both laughed until Greg had to cough again.
“Lungs still not healed properly then?” John asked concerned.
“Nah, they still keep bothering me. Docs said that it will most likely still take quite a while but as long as I'm not overdoing it at rehab I'll be fine,” Greg answered
“As if there would ever be the danger of that with you, eh?” John said eyeing the Detective Inspector.
“Ha-ha, John. I'm well aware that I have to find a good balance between pushing myself but also give my body the time it needs to heal. So would you now please help me collect all my stuff around here so that I don't forget anything?”
John smiled and opened the wardrobe which was situated on the opposite site of the room.
They were nearly finished and John put the books and magazines the DI had already read into a different bag when a nurse entered Greg's room.
“Oh, I see you've already packed, Greg,” he said while making his way towards Lestrade's bed.
“Hey Toby!” Lestrade greeted the nurse.
“I'm going to prepare you for your journey. Updating your stats and change the dressings and your catheter bag to a portable one as well as up the dosage of your pain medication.“ Noticing Greg's puzzled look Toby added “It's because the journey will most likely cause some grade of discomfort and we just want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your trip.” He smiled and started to work.
“I'm going to find me something to eat in the cafeteria,” John said to give Greg the privacy he needs, “do you want anything?”
“Thanks, I'm fine. Still on a strict diet. But if you could get me a bottle of water that would be great.”
“Got that,” John replied and left the room.
After Toby was finished with his duties he padded Greg on his shoulder. “OK, you are ready to leave now, Greg. You know that you'll be greatly missed by my female colleagues? You caused quite a stir there.”
Greg raised one eyebrow: “huh?”
Toby laughed. “You were pretty popular with them. You know how they called you over at the nurse station? Silver Fox.”
Greg could feel his face turning bright red. That was really embarrassing. “Silver Fox?” he croaked.
Toby let out a loud laugh. “Yeah, Silver Fox. As far as I know it started over at the ICU and accidentally caught on here when an ICU nurse asked how their Silver Fox was doing.”
Greg smiled. Despite his embarrassment he was kind of flattered that he still was good with the ladies. But still he genuinely hoped that the term didn't caught on over at rehab. “I'm sure they'll find a nice replacement soon.”
“Replacement of what?” John asked standing in the door frame.
“Nothing...nothing of importance” Greg quickly replied. He could feel his head starting to get light from the pain medication. He really didn't like to be under the influence of heavy painkillers. He was prone to talk nonsense and even worse say out things that were supposed to be secrets. He was secretly happy that he was intubated while he was heavily medicated, God knows what secrets he would have blabbered out otherwise. And as soon as he was allowed to talk he had tried to keep the medications at bay while he had visitors. He hoped that the dosage wasn't that high that it would happen on the ride to rehab.
“All done here,” Toby said. “I'll let the guys from transportation know that you are ready to be transferred.”
“Thanks, “ Greg said, holding out a hand. “Thank you for your great work and please tell that the other nurses who cared for me as well. I felt really really comfortable in your care even if I sometimes couldn't show it and snapped at you or denied to comply your instructions. Sorry for that.“
Toby took Greg hand and shook it. “Nah, don't be sorry. We had far worse patients than you, Greg. And even though I'm going to say that I hope that I'll never see you again you know it's just on the professional level, meaning I hope that you'll never become a patient again. Oh and by the way - law enforcement officers are never really easy to deal with but you did quite well as a matter of fact,” he said with a cheeky smile. “Good bye and keep on fighting.”
Greg smiled back. He had really looked forward to get out of this hospital but know that the time had come he wasn't really sure if he was ready to go to a totally different environment with new nurses, doctors and therapists and new rules to get accustomed to. Greg had to admit that he was now slightly afraid.
A couple of minutes later he had been transferred to a stretcher and was wheeled through the hospital into the waiting ambulance.
Upon arrival at the rehab facility Greg was transferred from the ambulance to a wheelchair and brought into the reception area of the facility. He was pretty worn out from the trip. His whole body ached despite the painkillers he was given and he just longed to get to a more comfortable position.
But first he had to go through the whole admission progress, signing what felt like tons of papers and being handed an information leaflet and his rehabilitation schedule.
“Wow, that's nearly more paperwork than I have to deal with at the Yard.” Greg said laughing while handing back the signed papers. “Let's hope that it doesn't involve any criminals.” Greg took a look at his schedule and frowned. His whole days were planed out with all different kinds of therapy sessions starting right after breakfast in the morning and going on until the evening with only short rest times in between.
“This won't be a holiday then,” he said jokingly.
“No it won't, Mr. Lestrade,” Mrs. Armand, the head nurse which was assigned to him replied, looking at him with a serious face. “We expect from you that you comply to our rules and that you work hard.”
“Will you tell my parents if I get caught smoking?” Greg had the habit to make jokes every time he felt uncomfortable to ease up the tension. Normally it worked quite well but this time it only earned him a disapproving look from Mrs. Armand.
Greg offered her one of his disarming smiles: “They probably won't be able to pick me up though as they live a couple of hours away.”
There was still no sign of a smile on the face of the nurse. “Mr. Lestrade, it is really important that you approach this matter with at least some kind of seriousness. You have to understand that the concept of physical therapy only works if you, as the patient, are willing to work hard. This is not meant as a nice holiday after your hospital stay.”
Greg could see John shooting him a sympathetic look. “Yeah, I actually do know that,” he said annoyed. “It was just meant as a joke, you know?”
“What a great start,” he thought to himself. He started to hate the nurse right away. She was nearly fifty with shoulder length grey hair and a look on her face that showed that she hated her job and hadn't had a good laugh for years. “And sex probably,” Greg thought and immediately regretted it as he was now unable to get the pictures out of his head. He cringed and hoped that the rest of his rehab team would be more friendly and more importantly will have at least some sort of humour. “When will I meet the rest of the team?”
“In a couple of hours,” Mrs. Armand answered. “First we've got to show you your room and give you some time to settle in. Then in the early afternoon we have scheduled a meeting with your therapists. Your boyfriend can attend as well if he wants to.” She said looking strangely over to John.
Greg let out a loud laugh. “No no, he's not my boyfriend. Just a good friend who offered to accompany me.”
John looked somewhat uncomfortable, standing in the back with Greg's bag over his shoulder.
“So what are these recreational offers then?” Greg asked turning around to the nurse who started to push him towards the lift.
“We offer a variety on sports, events and trips in which you can participate on weekends or in the evenings.” Mrs. Armand replied.
The doors of the lift opened with a ping and Greg, the nurse and John entered.
“That sounds great,” Greg said looking up at John and the nurse. “Definitely going to try them out. Missing to do some sports.”
They arrived at the floor on which Greg room was located and the nurse manoeuvred him out of the lift and down the corridor.
“You'll have the room number 2-12” Mrs. Armand said while opening the door and moving Greg towards the bed which was situated on the left site of the room.
Greg took a look around. It was a nice bright room with a balcony which overlooked the adjourned park. The bed didn't looked like a hospital bed except for the bed gallow. A TV was mounted to the wall at the end of the bed. On the other site of the room was a wardrobe and next to it a table with two chairs. The door to the private bathroom was right next to the entrance.
“Ok, Mr. Lestrade here we are. Do you want to be moved to the bed or do you want to stay in the wheelchair?” Mrs. Armand asked.
“Nah, I want to stay in the chair a bit longer. Want to check out the view from the balcony. John will help me when I want to lie down, won't you?” Greg said looking over to John who had seated himself on one of the chairs.
“What? Yeah of course. He's in good hands,” John said snapping out of his thoughts.
“Well Ok then. I'm going to pick you up in 3 hours for the meeting.” Mrs. Armand said putting the key down on the table before leaving the room.
Greg slowly made his way towards the balcony door when John suddenly exploded. “What is it that people always think that I'm gay? What?”
Greg jumped upon the sudden outburst and struggled to turn the wheelchair around.
“John calm down, she's a bloody old hag. And if it soothes you what she said also implied that I'm gay as well. And boy wouldn't we actually be a dream couple?” Greg said spotting a wide smile. “But I'm afraid you have to get past Molly first”
John laughed. “Yeah, you're right. It really shouldn't bother me. It just gets annoying you know. I always thought that it's because of Sherlock but now I realized that it's because of me.”
Greg chuckled. “ Well maybe it's because you always surround yourself with bloody good looking guys like Sherlock and me.”
Greg put his hands over his heart and made a hurt face. “Don't insult the invalid,” he said faking an insulted tone. “Now would you please help me to get out on the balcony. I really want to check the view.”
John got up and opened the balcony door to make it possible for Greg to wheel him self out.
“Wow,” Greg said, leaning forward in his chair putting his elbows on his thighs and his hands under his chin. A huge park stretched out in front of him. “Good think that the summer is starting. Definitely going to get some tan back on this balcony”
“Yeah you really could use to get some colour back. You still look like death warmed over. How long is your planed stay here?”
Greg cleared his throat: “Well they say initially 4 month and then they see how much progress I made during that time and for how long more inpatient PT will make sense. So basically no clue.” A bitter smile crossed his face.
John send an encouraging smile towards Greg.. “Not knowing sucks. But I'm pretty sure that you'll be ready to go home after the initial 4 months. Shall we start unpacking?”
“Yeah, good idea,” Greg answered. “Kinda need to lie down as well. Think the pain meds are wearing off.”
“Let's get you inside and in bed then,” John said turning around Greg's wheelchair.
After they finished unpacking John helped Greg from his wheelchair to the bed. Greg let out a big yawn. “Thanks John.”
“No worries, do you want me to stay for the team meeting?”
“Nah, it's Ok. I think I'll manage. Going to sleep a bit now anyway so you would just be bored.” Greg moved himself to a more comfortable position. “But feel free to visit me any time you want.”
“Of course, maybe I come by this weekend if it's Ok with you.” John said walking towards the door.
“Yeah, weekend's fine. Molly will be here on Friday and my parents on Saturday and Sunday. So just pop by whenever you've got the time.”
John opened the door. “Will do.”
After John left Greg felt utterly afraid. He couldn't explain why but suddenly he burst into tears. All this uncertainty really niggled him. He was afraid what the outcome of his stay at rehabilitation will be. He was afraid that the rest of the team he had to work with was as horrible as the nurse and mainly he was afraid that he just couldn't manage all of the trials and tribulations that lay ahead of him. “Come on, pull yourself together,” he said to himself, drying his tears and taking as deep breaths as his lungs allowed him. He reached over to the remote control and switched on the TV to distract himself. Luckily it didn't took long until sleep claimed him.
He was woken rather rude by Mrs. Armand who came to pick him up for the team meeting. Slightly disorientated it took Greg quite a while to remember where he was.
“Time to get up, Mr. Lestrade,” she said preparing to transfer Greg to the wheelchair.
Greg rubbed his eyes: “Wha'? Oh yes, right.” He slowly moved himself into a sitting position. A young woman was standing behind Mrs. Armand.
“Hi, I'm Ella,” she introduced herself.
“Ella is still in training and is going to help me to get you into your wheelchair.” Mrs. Armand explained.
Greg smiled at her and nodded.
Together they moved him quickly to his chair and wheeled him out of the room.
The team members were really nice and actually shared Greg's sense of humour so he got his hopes up that his time at rehab won't be all hell.
His therapists explained him is physical therapy schedule and what else he would be learning during his stay. Greg was slightly irritated when he was told that his schedule included not only regular wheelchair handling but also training to use the wheelchair outside of the rehab facility like on public transport and so on as well as learning how to live independently.
“Why would I need that?” he asked looking around. “I...I thought that I'm here to learn to walk again?” The bad feeling in his stomach he had earlier returned.
“Yes, you are,” Robert his wheelchair trainer explained. “Our main focus will be to get you back on your feet again but please remember that it will take a long time and hard work until you will be able to walk without any aids and that using a wheelchair will be the easiest method of getting around for quite a while even if you are able to walk with aids. And then there is always the possibility that we won't achieve that at all. And we want you to be prepared for all possibilities.”
“B..b..but...I..I thought...the doctors back at hospital said that...that...well they said that the chances I will be able to walk again are fairly good.” Greg stammered.
“They are, Greg. But you can never be 100 percent sure with spinal injuries. That's why,” his main physical therapist replied.
Greg looked shattered.
“I know it's hard to get accustomed to a situation like that and accept that there might be changes to your daily routines but we are all here to help you as much as possible and to get you back to your old life.” His psychologist said walking over to Greg. He got down onto his knees and put his hands on Greg's shoulders. “I understand that you are a police officer and that you are afraid that you might not been able to return to your old position?”
Greg nodded. “Yeah, they wouldn't keep a Detective Inspector who's in a wheelchair or can't walk properly.”
“Well, I can tell you they do. So that's no reason to hang one's head, Ok? Let's just forget that for now and just concentrate on getting you mobile. You'll have your first PT session shortly after this meeting, I think,” the psychologist said looking over to Greg's physiotherapists who nodded affirmatively.
PT was really hard. At first Greg had to learn how to manoeuvre himself without the use of his legs. How to transfer himself from the bed to the wheelchair and vice versa.
When he first practised moving himself Greg hesitated to roll on his side. He only vividly remembered the incident when he tried that by himself back in hospital and because of the fact that he still had his catheter he was afraid that something like that would happen again.
“Greg, the only way to get you out of this bed without any help is with beginning to roll onto your site and to learn how to position your legs,” Dan, his physiotherapist said insistently.
“Yeah but I've seen other patients doing a different method. Why can't I learn that technique?” Greg asked sullenly.
“Because the other patients didn't caught three bullets and have sufficient strength in their arms and upper body to perform such task. You don't have that for now and we don't want to cause any re-injuries in your chest or abdomen just because you refused to roll onto your side. So it's either my way or you are going to be bed ridden for quite a while because I'm not going to help you invalid getting out of bed then.” Dan said, spotting a warm smile beside his harsh words. He had dealt with patients like Greg before and knew what kind of prep talk they needed.
Greg closed his eyes and let out a deep breath. “Yeah, guess your right. Let's start then, shall we?”
It took him a couple of tries but finally Greg managed to position himself and his legs near the edge of his bed.
“Well done, see wasn't that bad at all, was it? Now let's try to sit up and move your legs over the edge to get you into that wheelchair, Ok?”
Greg nodded and after some tries and with help from Dan he was able to manoeuvre himself into the wheelchair.
“Great Job, Greg!” Dan praised. “A couple more training sessions and you'll be able to do that all by yourself.”
Greg looked up at him, a proud smile on his lips.
“So now that you are already seated lets get you down to your PT session on your legs,” Dan continued undoing the breaks. “Do you want to push yourself or do I get the honour?”
“Nah, I wanna do it. Not that worn out that I couldn't manage.” Greg said and slowly made his way to the escalator.
But the elation of the first try quickly faded away when Greg decided that it was now time to ditch Dan's help and try it by himself. He managed to move around the bed and sit up on the edge quite easily now but he just couldn't move himself into the wheelchair without somebody supporting him.
Greg had never thought that it would actually be this hard to learn and he got really frustrated after a couple of days. How would he ever manage to re-learn walking when he wasn't even able to get his own invalid ass out of the bed.
Dan assured him that it'll take it's time till he found the right technique for himself and some of the guys he befriended during the group sessions told him they as well had trouble transferring themselves at first but soon enough got the hang of it.
It was his first group therapy session and Greg was unsure about how much to give away on how he sustained his injury and if he should tell that he works at Scotland Yard.
“Well I'm Gregory Lestrade and... “ he began.
The guy next to him noticed his hesitation and even before the therapist could say something blurted out: “Aren't you this copper from that serial suicide killings a couple of years ago? I think I remember you from the telly.”
Greg drew in a sharp breath. That hadn't been his shiniest moment back then.
“Mark!” the therapist rebuked him. “Give the people the time they need and don't interrupt them. You could have perfectly asked Gregory that question in private.”
Mark threw is head back and mumbled something that sounded like an apology.
“No, it's Ok, honestly. There's nothing secret about my occupation.” Greg said, looking around the circle they were sitting in. “So yeah I'm a Detective Inspector with Scotland Yard and I sustained my spinal cord injury in the line of duty when I got shot.” It felt strange saying it out aloud. He never had to before. The people he talked with before all knew how he got injured so he never really actually had to say that he got shot. It suddenly felt more real. The images from that day began to come back. He started breathing heavily and his eyes moved back and forth.
“Do you want to talk about the attack?” the therapist asked carefully.
Greg looked down at his feet: “ No, I'm not ready yet,” he said in a low voice.
“That's Ok, Gregory. Whenever you are ready.” The therapist smiled at him encouragingly.
Greg nodded still not looking up. He was afraid that people could see the tears that threatened to form in his eyes.
“Ok then, who's next? Ah yes Lee. Anything particular you want to talk about today?”
Greg didn't really listen to Lee blabbering away. He was still trying to regain his composure.
Suddenly he felt a tug on his right sleeve. Mark leaned over and whispered in his ear: “Don't worry. I actually cried at my first session. Hard to believe I know, but I did. It suddenly makes it feel real, doesn't it.?”
Greg looked up and met Marks eyes. “Yes,” he said quietly, “it does.”
“Whenever you need someone to talk to who is not a probing therapist, just let me know. Oh and by the..”
“Mark!” the therapist interrupted him.
“Game of Poker tonight 8pm, my room 3.07. Come if you like,” he said quickly before leaning back. “Sorry, won't happen again.” Mark said raising his hands in a defensive manner.
Right after his wheelchair mobility training Greg made is way up to Mark's room. He was slightly nervous not knowing who else would be there.
He knocked and clumsily made his way into the room.
“Ah you must be the new guy then,” a boy in his early twenties greeted him.
“Yeah, hi I'm Greg.” Greg said looking around. The room was pretty much like his. The table had been moved into the centre of the room and 4 men were sitting around it. He slowly rolled himself towards the table and positioned his wheelchair between Mark and a somewhat 30ish old looking man he knew from his wheelchair training but couldn't remember the name.
Mark lay a hand on his shoulder: “Welcome to our little group. We meet regularly to either play games or play some basketball and stuff on the weekends. We tried musical chairs once for Daniel's birthday but it didn't really worked out as there was no looser,” Mark laughed nodding over to the man opposite of Greg. “The kid's name is Philip and next to you is Andrew. “
Greg looked around slightly waving his hand. “Hi.”
“And this, ladies and gentlemen, is Detective Inspector Lestrade. So you better get your sunglasses out, I'm pretty sure that this man is good in calling bluffs.”
Greg looked away, slightly abashed. “Nah, I'm actually not that good at poker. I'm one of the first out every time.”
“Detective Inspector?” Philip asked sounding equally amazed and tense. “So you're a copper then?”
“Yes, with Scotland Yard. But obviously not on duty right now so nothing to fear,” he laughed.
“Shall we start then?” Mark asked handing out the cards.
As predicted Greg was out pretty quick. So he rolled himself a little bit away from the table and watched the game.
“So how did you got injured, Greg? We've got 2 car accidents, one motorcycle crash and a fall so far. What fucked up your life?”Andrew asked after he was out of the game as well.
Greg could feel his heart beat going faster and is palms getting sweaty. He rubbed his hands on his sweatpants and took a deep breath. “A bullet,” he finally managed to get out. “Well three bullets actually.”
“You don't have to if it's still too traumatic.”
“No, I think talking about it will help,” he said running his fingers nervously through his hair. “A person of interest shot me 3 times during an interview. Two bullets hit me in the chest and went right through but the third bullet, the one that hit me in the stomach, lodged itself in my spine.” Greg's lips were forming a sad smile. “I've been told that I'm lucky that I'm even alive.”
”Fuck!” Daniel suddenly blurted out. “That's fucked up man. Did he just do it out of the blue? Didn't you wear any body amour?”
“No you don't normally wear them when you are a DI. Only if the situation requires it. And as that guy wasn't even a suspect I didn't wasted any thoughts about safety precautions. Well I do know better now.” Greg let out a forced laugh. He could feel the anxiety raising the longer he kept thinking about that day.
“And...and what is the extent of you injuries, if you don't mind me asking?” Philip asked carefully.
“Both lungs badly injured, multiple broken rips and injuries in the abdomen. Nearly 3 weeks in ICU, over 6 hellish weeks of intubation. As for my spine I've got an incomplete injury to L3. Doctors say that there is a chance, that I'll be able to walk again and might be able to return to my old job.”
“Good God,” Philip breathed out.
“I was intubated for a couple of days and was already going crazy. I can only imagine what you had been going through,” Andrew said sympathetically. “But it's good news that there is a chance of you walking again. For me there is nearly no hope.”
“We're gonna kick your ass until you walk, Greg. At least one of us has to leave this clinic on his own feet.” Mark laughed.
“I was afraid you would. So know that you know my story I would like to hear yours.”
They kept talking for quite a while until Greg decided that it was time for him to get to bed. His painkillers were wearing off and he could feel the pain in his chest and abdomen getting worse.
He had really enjoyed the interaction with people who were in the same situation as he was. People who had the same problems and fears. He really had needed that. It was always nice talking to Molly, John and his other friends but they never could fully understand what he was going through. They tried but how could they know how it feels not knowing if you'll ever be able to walk again. This peer group he just found, they knew. With them he felt safe.
So in the evenings he met with his new found friends and together they practised and gave him tips about the ways they were doing it. That really helped and he soon managed to transfer himself from the bed to the wheelchair without any help.
“See, I told you you can do it” Mark, a 44 year old bar manager who had injured his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident, said clapping Greg heartily on his shoulder. “I think we should celebrate this with a tiny drop of alcohol. What do you think?”
Greg repositioned himself so that he faced Mark directly. “You do know that it is forbidden to have alcohol on this premisses?”
“I think they say the same about work related files, Detective Inspector.” Mark replied, tilting his head towards the table where some old case files lay. “Your colleagues bring you this kind of things from work, my colleagues liquid stuff.”
Greg looked over to the table and let out a sigh. Finally after long discussions with Sally he had persuaded her to bring him some of his old cases to have a look into them. “I would really love to have a sip of a nice whiskey or some beer but I'm still on pretty heavy painkillers and even the tiniest bit of alcohol will knock me out, I'm afraid,” Greg said showing Mark his IV cannula. “But let's keep that in mind, I'm pretty sure we'll be here for quite some time. I'll definitely take you up on your offer later.”
“Ok, then,” Mark said, rolling himself towards the door. “We'll see each other tomorrow at breakfast then I suppose?”
“Yeah see you tomorrow.”
At the end of the week Greg was completely worn out from his PT sessions. His pain medications were reduced as they planed to switch from IV to pills during the next week. As a result of it his injuries did hurt a bit more after his sessions.
So when Mark and co. asked him at lunch if he wanted to join them on a game of basketball he politely declined. “Sorry, not today. I would be with you tomorrow.”
“Yeah, no worries, Mark replied. “We'll definitely play again tomorrow. I think 1pm was it, wasn't it?” Andrew nodded. “Right, so feel free to come down to the basketball court when you're up to it.”
After lunch Greg grabbed a book and made his way out to the park to wait for Molly to arrive. He had an other PT session later this afternoon but Molly could watch if she was up to it. He found himself a nice spot in the sun, texted Molly were he was to be found and started reading.
When Molly arrived nearly an hour later she found Greg fast asleep. The book had fallen onto his lap and his head was slumped on his chest. She smiled and took the book to see what Greg was reading. She settled herself on the bench next to him and looked at the book cover. She hadn't heard of that book before and from it's description it seemed to be some kind of thriller. She put the book away and gently touched Greg's shoulder. “Wakey wakey,” she said softly.
Greg let out a small grunt and slowly moved his head up. He looked around somewhat disorientated.
“Morning sunshine,” Molly laughed when Greg looked at her with sleepy eyes.
“Hey,” he slowly ran his hands over his face. “How long have you been here?”
“Not long, a couple of minutes at most,” she said. “How was your nap?”
Greg moved his head from side to side. “Not really comfortable I must admit. What do you want to do? I've got an hour left till my next session starts,” he said looking at his watch.
“Hmm. Don't know. Do you fancy walking around the park a little?” Molly stood up. Noticing what she just said she turned bright red. “Oh god, I don't mean walking. I mean uhm I mean...god I'm so awful. I didn't meant to...”
“Molly! Molly, it's all right. You have to get used to this situation as much as I do. It's Ok. You don't have to apologize. I'm not offended. You walk, I roll.”
“Uhm shall I or...or can you, I mean are you able to..” She didn't know how to phrase it without risking to make him feel helpless. The last time she had seen Greg back at the hospital he had still been quite weak and was barely able to push himself but he looked so much better now.
Greg took her hand. “No, it's Ok. I can push myself. I gained quite some strength in the last week.” He smiled at her and undid the breaks. “I'll let you know when I need your help.”
Together they slowly strolled through the park talking about her and his week so far.
“How is it going?” Molly asked.
“It is really hard work but I can feel myself getting stronger from day to day. Recently I just learned how to transfer myself without any help so I'm gaining more and more independency. That really kept my spirits up during the week.” Greg said smiling.
“That's awesome.” Molly exclaimed. “See I told you that these things will come if you just give yourself the time needed. Didn't I?”
“As always you were right,” Greg said jokingly. “Met some really nice people as well who really help me cope with all of this. We often meet up after our sessions and just talk or play games. Tomorrow I'm going to join them on a game of basketball.”
“I'm so happy for you. Looks like you're somewhat going to enjoy your stay here.”
Greg looked up at her: “If it weren't for those painful pt sessions it would actually be a lovely holiday.” He started to laugh. “Speaking of physical therapy – I think it's time to get back in. My session starts soon. You can come with me and watch if you want to.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah I would be very happy if you join me. Actually the therapists encourage friends and family members to be an active part during therapy.”
Together they made their way back into the building and settled in front of the therapy room waiting to be called in.
A couple of minutes later his physiotherapist appeared. “Ah I see you brought company.”
“Hey Dan. Yeah, this is Molly Hooper, she's...” he stopped, suddenly realizing that they never had established what kind of relationship they were having at the moment. Would it be Ok to call her his girlfriend or are they still on the dating level?
Molly got up and shook Dan's hand. “Hi, I'm a very good friend of Greg's” she said smiling.
“I see,” Dan said looking at both of them. “Well let's start your session then, shall we?”
“I'm ready!” Lestrade said moving into the room. “So what are we doing today?”
“I thought about doing some bodyweight supported treadmill training.” Dan grabbed the handles of Greg's wheelchair and moved him across the room to the treadmill.
“Wow, it looks like these things you can buy for babies to stand in, “ Greg joked.
“It is the same principle. We'll hook you up on this harness and then put you on the treadmill which will be running at a slow speed. Me and Sarah will then carefully move your legs.” Dan explained tilting his head towards the second physiotherapist, who was standing next to the treadmill. “First I'll but on these braces to stabilize your legs and then me and Mrs. Hooper here will help you to stand up.”
Greg nodded. He felt slightly nervous when they lifted him out of his wheelchair and carefully positioned him on the treadmill. He could vaguely feel someone holding his legs around the knees and ankles and moving them. Over the last few weeks he had regained quite a lot of feeling in his thighs but still had nearly no feeling at all from his knees on. He grabbed the site rails and hold onto them tightly.
Molly lay her hand over his and smiled at him encouragingly. “You're doing great.”
“Thanks,” he breathed.
After 30 minutes his physiotherapist decided that it was enough and slowly placed him back in his wheelchair.
“Till Monday morning then,” Greg said upon leaving. “Enjoy your weekend.”
Molly accompanied Greg to his room. His injuries were hurting again and he thought it would be best if he could lie down.
“You've got a really nice room”, Molly began, watching Greg transferring himself onto the bed. She was still slightly hurt that Greg hadn't referred to her as his girlfriend. She thought that what they had could be called a relationship after all they went through. On the other hand she could totally understand that during this time Greg had more important things in mind than what to call the status of their relation. “I've still got some time left until I have to get back to London what do you suggest we could do?”
“Well, right now I'm pretty much wiped out from the last session and my chest and abdomen feel like they are on fire. So I'm afraid I won't be much fun to be around.” “But what about watching some Telly?” Greg added. “You can lie down next to me if you want to.”
Molly smiled brightly. “Sounds good to me.”
“Just give me a sec to make some space,” Greg said while moving himself towards the wall to give Molly sufficient space to lie down.
“Do you know that this is actually the first time we are lying next to each other? I'm mean like actually sharing a bed.” Molly whispered.
“I know,” Greg replied quietly. “And I really enjoy it.” He turned his head an smiled at Molly.
Molly smiled back and together they just lay there both deeply absorbed in their thoughts about what status their relationship was in.
On the next day Greg was on the basketball court playing a game with Mark, Andrew and co. John was sitting on the site line acting as the referee. Greg wasn't really of much help for his team as he was most of the time preoccupied with moving his wheelchair to the right positions and trying not to lose the ball while dribbling instead of shooting baskets or defend. Even though it slightly frustrated him he still enjoyed being active.
Greg had just intercepted a counter attack and was making his way towards the opposite basket when he spotted his parents standing at the site talking to John. “I'll be with you in a sec” he shouted putting the ball in his lap and looked around for someone to pass to. He found Daniel and threw the ball over to him who then quickly made his way towards the basket and scored. “ 'K guy, I've gotta leave. I'll see you later.” Greg said wheeling himself off the court.
“Gregory! How are you? Mum and I are so happy seeing you being active,” his father greeted him.
His mother added “and you look so much better than the last time we saw you.” She bend down giving him a careful hug.
“And I do feel much better.” Greg replied. The last time they had seen him was while he was in hospital and still had been in a considerable amount of pain. “I see that you guys have met John already.”
“Yes, yes. We've already introduced each other while we were watching you play. You have to work on your throwing skills, my son. That's not what I had taught you,” Greg's father laughed.
Back when Greg's father had been younger he had been a dedicated basketball player and he and Greg had often played together on their driveway.
“I'll try to remember your lessons next time.” Greg replied. “Shall we grab something to eat? They have some nice food in the cafeteria.”
“Sounds like a good Idea. I'm quite hungry,” his mother agreed.
“So how was your journey?” Greg asked while they slowly made their way towards the cafeteria. His parents lived 6 hours away from London and due to their age and health they seldom took that long journey.
“Oh, don't get me started on the bloody public transport” Greg#s father answered annoyed. “You have to pay a lot of money and then they're either late, crowded or both.”
Greg laughed. “Yeah it is a pain in the ass. I try to avoid it at any costs though you don't have much choice when it comes to getting around London quickly. But for any journeys outside of London I mostly try to use my Met issued car. But why did you come by train? Did the car broke down?”
“Driving would have been so much easier but since your father thought that it would be a good idea to get into a heated argument with a police officer after being stopped for speeding and as a result got disqualified from driving we're stuck with public transport.” Greg's mother answered looking sharply at her husband.
John laughed. Now he knew were Greg got his temper and stubbornness from.
“Dear God, what the hell did you say to that poor bloke that made him disqualifying you from driving, Dad? “
“Well I've might have called him some names and then I might have said that I have a son working as a DI at Scotland Yard who will kick his ass and make sure that he'll be transferred to issuing parking tickets.”
Greg stopped his wheelchair and put his head in his hands. “Oh God, tell me you didn't.”
“He did,” his mother confirmed. “I've tried to stop him but well you know how he is.”
They arrived at the cafeteria and settled down around one of the vacant tables. After they all had chosen what to eat and drink Greg offered to order and get it for them from the counter.
“Do you need any help, dear?” his mother offered.
“Nah, all good. I have to practise doing things like this so I try to do them as often as possible.” Greg said leaving for the counter.
“It looks like he's adapting quite well, doesn't it?” Mrs. Lestrade said quietly.
Her husband nodded. “It does. But we have to see what the time will bring. It's only his first week here so I suspect that there will be a lot of ups and downs ahead. But I'm pretty sure that his friends will have his back.” He looked at John: “I understand that you were first on the scene after Gregory got shot?”
John swallowed, remembering finding Greg on the floor drowning in his own blood. “Yes, I was. Me and a friend actually. We were helping Greg with a case.”
Mr. Lestrade held out a shaky hand: “thank you very much for saving our son's live. Thank you. I don't know how to show you our deep gratitude but if it hadn't been for you Gregory wouldn't be alive today.” Tears were forming in Mr. Lestrade's eyes.
John shook the outstretched hand and smiled. He didn't really know what to reply so he just sat there and nodded.
“Ah I think our food is coming,” Mr. Lestrade said watching his son slowly making his way towards them, shakingly balancing a tray on his lap. He had a concentrated look on his face, tongue pressed between his lips.
Greg's mother started to get up to aid her son but her husband stopped her. “No, he wanted to do it by himself, so let him.”
“Situations like these are very important in Greg's rehabilitation,” John added. “He needs these senses of achievement even if they seem small and it might look to us that he's struggling. What Greg hates the most is to be dependent so letting him doing as much as possible by himself will keep his spirits up.”
“Remember when Gregory had been laid up with a broken leg when he was younger? Good Lord had he been a pain in the arse back then.” Greg's father remembered.
“Who had been a pain in the arse?” Greg finally had made it back to the table and put the tray on it. He couldn't hide the proud smile on his lips. Nearly no spilling, that was a new record.
“Ah no one, Gregory. Just been telling John some old stories,” his father said reaching over to grab his plate.
Greg eyed his father suspiciously. “Very well then,” he said biting off his sandwich.
After they finished their food John announced that it was time for him to return to London.
“Thanks for your visit, John” Greg said. Seeing Mrs. Armand making her way towards him he added “you chose the right moment. The old bitch's coming.”
“Language, Gregory!” his mother scolded. “ You don't call persons names like that. You're 45 years old, you should know better than that.”
“Sorry, but she is,” Greg muttered looking over to John who nodded affirmatively. “She's incredibly rude and insists on helping me in and out of bed even though I'm perfectly able to transfer me on my own.”
“I'm pretty sure she has her reasons,” his mother said. “And have you ever considered talking to your case worker if it's possible to get an other nurse?”
“I did, but there is no one available at the moment.” Greg replied.
Mrs. Armand had nearly reached them. “Ok guys I'm going to take flight as long as I have the chance.” John said laughing.
“You lucky bastard.” Greg replied smirking.
“Ah here you are, Mr. Lestrade.” Mrs. Armand said in that stern voice of her. “I've been looking for you for quite a while now.”
“Yeah sorry. As you can see my parents are here for a visit.”
“It's time to change your dressings. Let's get you up into your room.”
“Can't that wait a little?” Greg asked. "And anyway isn't it normally Ella's job?"
“Ella has her day off today. And no it can't.” Mrs. Armand answered coldly.
Greg knew that any further discussion would be futile. He looked over to his parents “Sorry have to do this. You don't have to come with me, we can meet here afterwards.”
“No, it's Ok. We would love to see the room you have here.” his mother smiled cheery.
The dressings were changed quite quickly. Greg got used to see his battered chest but he could hear his mother gasp after the nurse had removed the bandages and his incisions were fully visible. “Sorry my dear,” she said embarrassed that she hadn't been able to hide her shock.
Greg reached out and touched her arm. “It's Ok, Mum,” he said smilingly.
Afterwards he and his parents settled on the balcony and talked till it was time for them to leave. They had found themselves a nice little hotel nearby where they could spend the night. Their train was leaving tomorrow in the afternoon so they promised to come by before they were going back home.
After his parents left Greg settled himself in his bed. Even though he hadn't admit it, the reaction of his mother had hurt him. His wounds had healed to a level were he had thought that they wouldn't be as bad looking as they did back at the hospital when Molly had shown a similar reaction.
The thought of him never being able to sunbath topless without getting stared at hang like a dark cloud over his head.
Knowing that he would just develop a full blown depression if he kept lying in his bed he decided that he should take a look in the files Sally had brought him on her last visit. That would keep him occupied and maybe he would finally find some clues on who had ordered the hit. And speaking of clues – he found it very odd, that it seemed that Sherlock as well had no clue on who did it. Couldn't Sherlock get his old cases easily from Mycroft? Normally this man only needed to take a quick look on his files and would know straight away who the culprit was and what he had for lunch. Slowly a suspicion crept into Greg's brain that this was all to keep him occupied. He made a mental note to talk to John about that matter the next time he comes by. But for now he was just happy to have something to do and that it was something that felt like his old life.