I went to Shane Waltham the next day, as he lay on his bed. Why had they left it so long before requesting that I treat him? He was in a bad enough state as it was; I wasn't sure I could save him.
His legs had been broken -- twice, and one of the shins was shattered, having obviously been hit with some blunt, hard instrument. One wrist was dislocated, the ligiments torn with severe internal bleeding. His head had been hit, hard, in several places, so that there was dried blood in his hair and on his face. When I tried to lift him, he weighed less than seven stone. And he stank. It was true. He obviously hadn't had any washing facilities since his capture, or very little.
But now he was slightly better. I'd sorted out the wrist, binding it up so that the ligament wasn't under so much strain. The leg had been set and I'd even managed, with help from a surgeon who was promptly mind-wiped despite my protests, to pin the break in the shin. At my insistence, the Voices had allowed him to be washed.
"Shane," I said quietly, walking to beside the hard shelf they gave him for a bed. I would have preferred something softer -- he was broken, close to death ... for goodness sake, did they have no hearts at all?
"Doctor," he whispered. "Is Shelley okay? Have you seen Shelley?" His empty eyes stared up at me, madness brought on by the painkillers and medicines I had given him.
"I've seen Michelle," I told him, and immediately he focused.
"You have? Is she okay?" I could almost visibly see him improving, which was obviously what he needed to improve. If only they'd let her go free, then I was sure he would be better in a matter of days. Love, again, that strange force which binds people together. It can heal, but it can also be the cause of the suffering.
"She's given birth," I said warily, and he groaned. "But she's still alive. Not in a great state, but she's alive. She said, 'Tell him that I'm alive, that I lived through it. And tell him that he's still a father to me even though it's so long since we saw each other.' Those are her exact words."
He smiled gently. "Can you please tell her that I'm holding on. And make sure she knows I feel the same. I think of her every night."
"She knows. I already told her." At that, Shane slipped away into drug-induced sleep. I got up quietly, checked his bandages and left the room.