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The Storm Will Pass

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Lester and an orderly have to all but carry Laeddis to bed his migraine is so bad. Teddy leans heavily on Chuck and tries to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, but it's hard to concentrate on anything at all when your brain feels two sizes too big for your skull.

 

It's dim in the basement of the men's dormitory, but it's also very loud. Andrew seems not to notice the former as he's had his eyes shut tight since Cawley's office, but he notices the noise. Every muted rumble of thunder, every raised voice, every creak of every bed frame feels like a knife behind his eyes.

 

"Almost there, boss."

 

Teddy is faintly aware of something touching his back and he realizes a second later it's Chuck's hand, rubbing wide circles across his shoulders.

 

Once Andrew is lying down and the orderly is gone, Lester sits on the edge of the mattress and runs a hand through Andrew's dirty-blond hair. He doesn't care who's watching, or if he gets into trouble. He wants to comfort Andrew, to make sure he's okay and to protect him. From the migraines. From himself.

 

"How you holding up, boss?" Lester asks as Chuck, stroking Andrew's temple with his thumb. "Any better?"

 

"That feels nice," Andrew slurs, leaning into Lester's hand.

 

Lester huffs a laugh. "I'll take that as a yes. Get some sleep, okay? I'll just be right over there, in the bed beside yours."

 

"No," Teddy says and makes a vague grab for Chuck's arm. He opens his eyes just long enough to give Chuck a pleading look, then snaps them shut again against the flickering fluorescent lights in the basement. "Stay."

 

Lester sighs. He thinks about it for a moment, absently playing with Andrew's sweaty locks. This could get him fired. This could definitely get him fired.

 

"Okay," Lester finally whispers and lies in the narrow space Andrew makes for him on the uncomfortable hospital mattress.

 

Teddy rolls onto his side, slinging an arm over Chuck to pull him closer and burying his face in his chest. Chuck leans down to press a lingering kiss to his forehead.

 

"Don't worry, Ted," Lester murmurs, lips brushing against Andrew's skin, "I'm not going anywhere."