Alex woke up in a complete haze, eyes bleary with crust. Where the hell was he? Where were his glasses? He felt like he had taken a spin through a dehydrator.

He could hear distantly Josie’s voice: “Oh, you’re awake.” They pushed a bottle of water into their hand.

Alex chugged it, thanking them profusely in between gulps. Then he stopped, as the memories slowly filtered back into his mind. “Oh…” He looked up at Josie, squinting as he tried to make out their face. “Last night…”

They cut him off before he could take even longer fumbling for words: “Don’t worry about it.”

He couldn’t tell if they were angry or sad. Or, god forbid, both. Actually, right now it felt especially hard to read them at all.

“Are you okay, doctor?”

Alex winced at the title. “Yeah, I guess.” Everything they were doing right now was just hurting him, and he didn’t know why. It hurt like a muscle ache, like he had worked out too hard last night and now they were pulling their joints.

“What do you want?”

He blinked a few times. Josie’s face finally came into focus. They looked completely neutral. “What?”

“What do you want between us?”

“I don’t know.” He looked down at his bandaged hands. Why were his hands bandaged? “I just… well. Um.”

“Take your time.”

“Yeah! That! I just… want to take my time.”

Josie stood up from his bedside – Alex could have sworn they were trembling, though he didn’t know why – and they walked to the door.

Alex watched them, desperate to see their face, to know what they were thinking. He thought, briefly, about wishing them a happy holidays. Was it too late for that? He pushed the thought out of his mind. Time felt excruciatingly slow.

They did not look back.