Fuck, whatever it was I was supposed to remember couldn't have been too important, and if it was, I'll remember when it isn't important anymore. Now... now I need sleep...
Nathan growled, fed up with trying to interpret the bottle. Sliding his nail along the rim of the lid, he popped it open and tapped two of the pills into his hand. Small, light blue and engraved with the dosage: they were only one milligram tablets. His prescription was for two milligrams, but sometimes he didn't need that much, and this alleviated the need for him to cut a single pill in half. It also made it harder for him to accidentally overdose. Or deliberately overdose.
He had been having trouble sleeping since Marni's death.
His habit of digging into his arms every time he thought of how he lost Marni had almost prevented him from being prescribed the drugs at all, the rest of his family and friends worried that this depression would make his cutting escalate and become more dangerous. Several therapy sessions later, and they were reasonably assured he was stable enough for a little help with his insomnia. The lack of sleep was deemed more detrimental than the potential risk of suicide.
Nathan rolled the pills in his palm, then popped them into his mouth, taking them dry. He got them down with some difficulty, that annoying feeling one wasn't quite fully swallowed staying with him until he'd made it to the couch. With a deep sigh, he grabbed the pillow Enya had brought out for him and curled up with it. Slowly, he closed his eyes, feeling just a little queasy before he drifted into sleep.
He did not wake up on the couch.
When Nathan opened his eyes, he immediately thought he'd overslept, figuring the light that blinded him was the afternoon sunlight coming in the window. As his eyes adjusted, he realized that, though it was sunlight, he was no where near the couch or even his apartment. This room was clean, white, and nearly empty of furnishings, save for the elevated bed he was lying on, a pale gray chair in one corner, a dry-erase board on the wall, and a curtain dividing the space in half. He tried to sit up to look around, but felt dizzy and fell back on his pillow. Staring up at the tiled ceiling, a glimpse of shadow from the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he rolled his head to the side to look towards the chair.
"I hope you didn't do that on purpose."
Gabriel's comment was quiet and firm, but he sounded more relieved than angry. His hair was solid black, telling Nathan that he was presenting himself as human, but then there was something ominous in that everything he was wearing was black: black dress shirt, black pants, black shoes. Even though he knew he was Death, the angel's overall appearance gave him an unsettling quality that made him shiver nervously.
"What happened? Where...?" Nathan cut himself short as he realized he recognized the room. He'd been here before -- not this room specifically, but one very much like it -- and he groaned as he closed his eyes, his thoughts slowly coming together. "I'm in the hospital, aren't I?"
Gabriel nodded, folding his hands under his chin. "Enya found you this morning as she was leaving your apartment and called an ambulance. How much had you been drinking before you took your pills?"
Drinking. That's what Nathan had forgotten, the vodka. He'd had seven shots of it before taking his two milligrams of eszopiclone: a guaranteed dangerous combination. A potentially fatal one. He groaned again.
"Too much," he admitted. "Enough to forget not to take my pills. I was really out of it last night... this morning, or whatever." Nathan tried sitting up again, this time moving more slowly. Propping himself up he sighed, shaking his head. "I should have remembered..."
"You're human," the angel reminded him. "You're entitled to mistakes, and thankfully that's all this was: a mistake. I would have been very disappointed if you had done that on purpose. Things could have been much worse."
Nathan began to nod his agreement until it occurred to him that he had been taken to the hospital. He looked over at Gabriel, his guardian, with his brows knotted in confusion. "Why didn't you just heal me at home?"
The angel's hands moved to cover his mouth, but it was still obvious he was frowning. He was silent for a long time, looking down at the floor rather than Nathan when he finally spoke. It was hard to hear behind his hands. "I failed." He stared at the floor for a minute longer before lifting his eyes to Nathan again, lowering his hands. "I was occupied with my other obligations, and I failed to reach you in time. If Enya hadn't have found you, bringing you back could have been drastically more complicated."
"You mean...?" Nathan's eyes widened and he sank back against his pillow, taking this in. He almost died. Really, truly died, and Gabriel wouldn't have been able to save him. His hands curled around the sheets, and he gave the angel a small, rueful smile. "I'm sorry, I..."
"Don't apologize," Gabriel cut him off, standing. "It was an accident on your part, and that's all I need to know." Somehow, his words were less than comforting. He moved beside the bed, placing his cold hand on Nathan's arm. "They told me you'll be able to leave in a few hours. I was able to at least speed your recovery, but you'll be off from work for the next few days. Scott insisted."
"Scott?" It made some sense, he figured, that Scott would at least know what happened -- aside from being his ride, his sister had called the ambulance -- but he didn't understand why this one incident should stop him from going to work, especially if he'd be well enough to leave the hospital in a few hours. "Why?"
Gabriel shrugged. "You'll have to take it up with him." The angel stepped away and began towards the curtain. "I have to go help Micah with his case, but you know how to reach me if you need me..."
"Gabriel?" Nathan had one more question. He knew there was only one thing that would have kept him from reaching him in time. "Who died?"
The angel sighed, and Nathan could almost envision him ruffling his wings. "One of the stylists, the one Wren bummed the cigarettes from. She was mutilated, just like the others. And we found another link between the three murders." He kept his voice low, eyes narrowed so much the writer could see their faint glow. "Gloria was sleeping with all of them."
He didn't allow Nathan any more questions as he moved past the curtain and out of the room.
"Why did you pull me from the schedule?"
"Look, I'm just thinking of your well-being. Don't worry; I got you covered for pay. Charmed the manager into giving you a bit of holiday, due to the circumstances."
"Charmed him how?"
Nathan was glad to be back at his apartment, but furious that Scott had not only arranged for him to have the weekend off, but the next two full weeks. He was pacing in his living room, trying to get a grasp on what the hell he was thinking when it occurred to him that this "favor" might not be out of the kindness of Scott's heart. "What did you tell him?"
"Jesus, calm down Kink," Scott drawled on the other end of the line. Nathan could practically hear him rolling his eyes. "Enjoy the rest! It's not every day an intern like yourself gets two whole weeks of paid holiday so early in his employment. Think of it as a nice free vacation. I'll cover your stories in the meantime."
Bull-fucking-SHIT! That's exactly what he'll do: cover the serial killer story that's been the sensation lately, that he passed over and gave to me because he didn't want to deal with Gloria, and take credit for the first thing that's gotten me some serious attention from our boss! I know what he's up to! Asshole!
I should keep my temper, but I really want to call him out on his shit...