Catergory: gen, H/C, friendship
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of them.
Summary: Hallgrim is deafened after an explosion.
A/N: Written for the 2dozenowies challenge, prompt 18 - sensory loss.
Hallgrim’s head hurt. It was the pain that had woken him, but he immediately sensed that something was wrong, before he even had a chance to open his eyes. The smell, it was different than his room at the hotel. Sharp, medicinal. The sheets felt stiffer than the hotel laundry delivered them. But what alarmed him the most was that all he could hear was a persistent buzzing noise.
Hallgrim opened his eyes and found himself in a hospital room. Part of him had expected that. It made sense. If he was here, then things would be all right.
The buzzing noise puzzled him. It was there, but Hallgrim couldn’t tell where it was coming from, it seemed to come from inside his head. He tried saying his name, but he only heard a faint rumble beneath the buzzing when he spoke.
He couldn’t hear. It couldn’t be. It didn’t make any sense.
Hallgrim couldn’t recall what had happened to put him in the hospital. The last he recalled, he had been ready to leave to office. After that, there was nothing.
A touch on his shoulder startled him. Hallgrim set eyes on a middle-aged man standing besides his bed. He could see his lips moving, but there was no sound coming out. Like someone has pressed the mute button on the remote. The man seemed to recognize that Hallgrim couldn’t hear him because he handed him a notice block.
Marie and Nazim were there when Hallgrim woke for the next time. He was surprised he had fallen asleep at all with the buzzing sound ringing in his ears. ´
Pre-dawn light had replaced the blackness outside the window. Hallgrim had slept for several hours.
Marie and Nazim smiled broadly when they noticed he was awake and both started talking. Confused by their rapidly changed expressions, Hallgrim raised his hand to stop them.
Marie and Nazim noticed at once and looked around unsure until Nazim found the notice pad on the bedside table. He pulled out a pen and started writing. Hallgrim watched with anticipation until Nazim handed him the pad.
How are you holding up?
We are going to get whoever did this. Everyone is working on it. No lead yet, but hopefully soon.
Hallgrim frowned. The doctor had only told him that an explosion had temporarily deafened him.
Nazim was speaking and writing at the same time. Hallgrim waited with frustration until Nazim handed him the next note.
Carbomb. Ditte is working with the bomb squad to find out who put it there. Everyone is very glad that you are going to be all right.
He probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but he still felt a chill when he realized how close he had come to being killed.
“I need to get out of here.”
Again, his friends seemed to forget for a moment that he couldn’t hear them, but even so, the expressions on their faces told him they didn’t approve. Marie started to write another note.
This is not a good idea! Thea got you protection, there is a guard outside. It’s best if you stay here now. The hotel isn’t safe.
Hallgrim put the notice pad back on the bed side table. He saw Marie following him with her eyes, but her lips remained still, sealing in unspoken words.
In the end it was Nazim who got Hallgrim sprung shortly before noon. The doctor didn’t look too happy when he handed Hallgrim a list of symptoms to watch out in case of complications. Hallgrim didn’t care. He hadn’t been deafened for twelve hours yet, but already he had come to loathe how easily he was startled by someone suddenly touching his shoulder or arm without warning. He understood that they were just trying to get his attention, but Hallgrim found it unnerving. He was looking forward to getting back to his room at the hotel. There, he wouldn’t constantly bothered and could maybe get a few more hours of sleep, even though the throbbing headache made that an unlikely prospect.
Nazim had taken it upon himself to personally drive Hallgrim back to the hotel, even though Hallgrim would have been content to take a cab. After all, he had argued, Marie and Nazim would be needed at work to solve the case. Marie had given in and returned to the office, but Nazim hadn’t been so easily dissuaded. He had even insisted on coming up to his room with Hallgrim, to make sure that it was safe.
Hallgrim knew his friend was only concerned, but right now, he needed to be alone. His friends didn’t deserve to be the target of his increasing frustration at the invisible wall that had been pushed between him and the world.
Hallgrim leaned back against the pillows on his bed, after kicking off the pair of running shoes Nazim had brought him. The shoes looked vaguely familiar and wondered whether Nazim and Maria had dropped by the hotel first to fetch some clothes for him. It didn’t really matter if they had gone through his things. He lived in a hotel, virtually out of the suitcase. Still, over the past months, this place had come as close to home than any other place he had been to in the last ten years. Hallgrim had always been content with any form of house in the places where he worked, as long as it didn’t involve a lot of complications.
A faint sound above the ringing and buzzing made him look up. Nazim was standing in the door and tossed him a paper plane. Hallgrim unfolded the note.
Ditte has found a possible match in the bomb squad’s database. This one is home grown.
“Who is it? Does it have something to do with the case?” Hallgrim felt left out and cut off.
Nazim didn’t answer. He just shook his head and started writing.
Get some rest. I have to go now. There is an officer outside and one in the lobby. Stay inside and don’t let anyone in.
Hallgrim read the note and in a not so sudden fit of anger, he balled up it and tossed it in the direction of the trash can, missing it by several feet. He turned on his heel, ready to go back to bed and wait out the rest of the day, until hopefully his hearing was well on the road to recovery the next morning.
Hallgrim slumped down on the bed, catching himself looking for the TV remote for a moment until realization hit a moment. Hallgrim sighed, feeling the rumble in his chest, but still unable to hear his own voice.
The touch on his shoulder startled him once again and Hallgrim found himself jumping up and staring at Nazim.
“Don’t you have to go to work?” Hallgrim asked, but the effect of his words was different than he had expected. Nazim’s eyes narrowed and he looked at Hallgrim with a hint of disappointment.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I was just startled because I thought I was alone.” Hallgrim spread his hands in defeat. “I shouldn’t be so rattled by this. I mean, in twenty-four hours, I’ll have my hearing back, at least that’s what the doctor said.” Spelling it words out loud, Hallgrim felt how hesitant he was to believe in a quick recovery, because if there were complications after all, it would be a much harder blow if he got his hopes up.
Nazim wouldn’t have his doom and gloom attitude. He walked over to Hallgrim’s desk and started searching the top drawer. Before Hallgrim could ask what he was looking for, Nazim pulled out his chest board and the box with the chess pieces.
Let’s see if you can still outsmart me. I’ll call Thea and tell her we’ll be in later.
Nazim only nodded and started dialling his cell phone.