She seemed to shed bravado the way a tree sheds leaves in the fall as the hours passed after leaving Silent Hill.
Now, waiting around in an emergency room in Brahms for someone to come set his leg with nothing left to do to keep her mind off all that she lost, she'd crumpled. It had been a gradual process, so gradual that Douglas hadn't noticed it happening until all at once he looked at her and realized that over the course of a couple of hours she'd gone from leaning back in her chair, cracking jokes to try keeping his mind off the pain in his leg, to slumping over, her arms crossed across her stomach and her hair hanging down to hide her face as well as it could without how short it was. He wanted to ask her if she was okay (stupid question; he knew damn well she wasn't) or if there was anything he could do (even stupider; like anything anyone could do would really help), but if there was one thing he knew about her two weeks watching her and a day by her side it was that she liked dealing with her issues on her own, and didn't react well if anyone else tried butting in before she was ready to open up on her own. If he brought it up she'd probably just claim weariness, and it wasn't like he could argue that she'd be tired after being up and running for well over twenty-four hours, most of that spent fighting for her life. She'd probably been running on nothing but adrenaline for hours.
But he still wanted to comfort her somehow, which was why he shoved himself to his feet when the emergency room receptionist turned her back on the waiting area to talk on the phone for awhile and he didn't see any doctors or nurses around stop him. The second her started moving she sat up straight again, her hand darting out to rest on his forearm. "What do you think you're doing?" she asked quietly. "You can't walk around on that leg. If you need anything, I can get it!"
He let his hand rest heavily on top of her head for a moment, a silent attempt at solace, then pulled away from her. "I walked all the way from the amusement park to the hotel on this leg. A few more feet isn't gonna kill me."
"You only made it that far because you had me as a crutch," she grumbled, but didn't really argue. He figured that she knew it would make her more of a hypocrite that she probably wanted to be if she bothered someone else about ignoring their injuries. He knew that she had to have more than a few that she was somehow managing to hide; he could smell the blood all over her when she was next to him, and it wasn't from the ichor her monsters sprayed when they went down. But he didn't push her about it as long as she didn't seem to be in any pain and was moving around without any trouble. "Should have left him at the park and brought the car back to pick him up. Then he wouldn't think he could be all self-sufficient." he heard her mutter under her breath behind him, but he knew that it was an idle threat even if she could somehow find a way to go back in time and carry through on it. Neither of them had wanted to let the other out of their sight for awhile after the world had gone back to normal; it was too hard to trust that they were really getting away from there safe and mostly whole.
He only went across the room, keeping an eye out the whole time for anyone who would make him sit back down or force him to sit on a wheelchair to move five feet. His leg screamed at him the entire way, but he was getting used to the feeling and he was made ample use of the chairs sitting around the room to give himself something to lean on to keep some of his weight off it. It got him a couple of dirty looks when he had to use one with somebody sitting in it (and it seemed like far more of them were occupied than he thought there would be at this time of night, a sign that the rest of the world wasn't quite as untouched by everything that had happened that day as they'd thought?), but the one plus side of being an injured old man was that most people held their annoyance back to nothing more than the looks.
There was a beverage table in the corner, offering up the same overbrewed coffee, generic teabags, and long-since emptied of anything but crumbs tray of what had probably been cookies you could find at a million other places. None of those were what he was looking for, although he poured himself a cup of the coffee for show since he knew she'd be even more bothered by his walking around on a broken leg if he didn't get anything for himself. Then he dug through the little bowl full of tea bags and artificial sweetener packets until, at the very bottom, he found what he was looking for; a package of hot chocolate mix. It was the same weak just-add-water kind that was put out to save money everywhere else, and the water the hospital provided wasn't quite hot enough but it had dehydrated marshmallow bits in it which was more than he'd hoped for.
He walked carefully when he started back, unable to do anything to prop himself up while holding a cup in each hand, but before he'd gotten more than a few steps she was at his side, reaching out to take one of the cups while she offered him her shoulder once more. "Just... ask for help when you need it, you dope," she said.
He laughed, and pushed the cocoa into her hands before she could take the coffee for her. "Got something for you. Thought it might help you feel a little more..." he trailed off, not really knowing how to finish the sentence in a way she'd accept.
She went still against him for a second, then smiled wearily up at him. "Thanks, Douglas. Maybe it will."
And, hell, even if cocoa didn't actually have any magical comfort powers, at least it was really the thought that counted.