Caelan pressed the button for the second floor once they were in the lift and stood quietly as it carried them heavenwards. Once the doors opened, Caelan stepped out and walked down the corridor, taking a left and opening another set of double doors.
On either side of the long corridor were large rooms that held about ten, fifteen beds each. Looking in each one as they passed, Caelan began to get nervous again. Beth pulled him to a stop.
“It’ll be fine, honest. Believe me,” Beth smiled at him. He nodded slowly and took a deep breath. “Come on, let’s go and find him.”
She looped her arm through his and pulled him along, looking for Zeke.
They eventually found him near the end of the corridor. He didn’t look much different, wearing a black long-sleeved t-shirt and black skinny jeans. His hair had been cut a little, though it still fell over his right eye, hiding it so he had to flick it out of the way all the time. He had layers in his hair now and Beth had to admit that it really suited him.
Zeke turned, grinning after talking with one of the women, and he immediately froze at the sight of Beth and Caelan, his eyes narrowing warily.
“Zeke, can we talk?” Caelan asked gently.
He seemed to consider this for a moment, his eyes flicking to Beth. She nodded reassuringly.
“Walk with me,” he said as he walked past them, heading further up the corridor.
Caelan let out a relieved sigh as he followed.
“Is this him?” one of the pregnant women lying in bed asked Zeke.
A small smile pulled at the corners of his lips as he looked down at her file. “This is him.”
“Oh, he’s so cute,” she grinned, laughing when Caelan blushed.
“What are you doing here, Zeke?” Caelan asked quietly as they moved on.
“My job, what does it look like?” Zeke replied without looking back.
“No, I mean here.”
“I needed a break, Caelan. It’s as simple as that. I can’t stay with my boyfriend when he says he can’t trust me.”
“I’m sorry, Zeke. I should have spoken to you about it, instead of letting it all just build up.”
Zeke didn’t say anything, just looking over at him for a few moments before walking on stubbornly.
“I shouldn’t have shouted about you keeping that dagger. I just never thought...”
Beth noticed that, even now in the safety of his own home and hospital, Zeke carried the dagger with him. It was tucked into the back of his jeans.
“It’s a part of me just as you are, Cae,” Zeke replied after a couple of minutes.
“I know, but I wish I understood why.”
Zeke didn’t respond for a while. They were back in the corridor before he did.
“Because it’s been everywhere with me. It was a gift when I joined the Covenant and I can’t forget my years there. So I kept it. It’s the only weapon I take with me when we go out on patrol, or out to calls. Because I don’t need any other.”
Caelan considered his reply carefully.