Prey to Regrets

by Jane Davitt

"Detective Ellison!"

The tall man walking -- limping slightly -- away from the hospital doesn't turn. The reporter, microphone clutched tightly in his hand (fuck what his ex-wife says about that; it's a tool, not a penis substitute and yeah, she thought that was hysterical, too, didn't she, the bitch), hurries to catch up with him, eager for the scoop. No one else here, just him and Ken-the-cameraman, who must have a last name, but damned if he's going to bother learning it. No one else waiting at this back exit, all of them at the front doors…

He tries again. "Sentinel!"

The man turns and he flinches back from the expressionless emptiness in the good-looking face. "Uh --" Training takes over. "Vince Kerry for CTS News. Detective Ellison, in light of the recent, tragic development, have you anything to say about your part in events?" The man's face is blank. Wiped clean of emotion. "Is your lawsuit against Mr. Sandburg to blame for what happened?" Kerry fumbles for words; fuck, he hasn't been this tongue-tied in years, but the man doesn't look angry or sad; there's nothing to grab hold of, nothing exposed he can use. "Do you have any regrets about your frank words at the press conference last week concerning Mr. Sandburg's career-damaging allegations that you're some sort of superman, a freak of nature, as you put it? Do you think they had any bearing on what he did? Are you going ahead with the lawsuit?"

Ellison stares at him and for the first time, there's a crack in the mask. "There won't be a lawsuit."

"You're not suing his estate?" Kerry supposes that wouldn't look good and you can't get blood from a stone. Sandburg didn't have a dime, from all accounts.

"His what?"

Behind him, Ken's talking into a phone and now the stupid bastard's tugging at his arm, interrupting him -- what? What?

And just as the urgent, whispered, incredible words sink in, he sees Ellison smile as if he's heard what Ken did, no, as if he already knows. "Yeah. He's alive again. I got him back." The smile fades, dims, and Ellison corrects himself with a painful accuracy. "I brought him back."

He walks away after that, head down, and even though the limp makes him easy to keep up with, and there's clearly a sob-story there, even if the queer angle screws it up, Kerry doesn't follow him. The real story's waiting in the hospital, a modern Lazarus tucked up in bed. There's a nurse he knows who can get them access to Sandburg's room if he flatters her, promises to buy her dinner… what was her name? Linda? Lorna? Ah, he'll just call her 'honey' until he gets a look at her name tag.

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