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God Help Me

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It hurt to breathe. 

He gasped loudly, his lungs screaming for air, his body shivering. His throat was raw from screaming and crying. 

It hurt to breathe. 

A lot of things were hurting at the moment. His head, his eyes, his ears, his throat, his ribs, his stomach, his heart. 

His head hurt from the explosion, his eyes from the bright lights. His ears had a persistent ringing from the explosion, his throat hurt from screaming and trying to get air. The wind had been knocked out of him, and his heart was hurting from the knowledge that the person he cared about most in the world, besides his son, was at the nexus of the blast. 

What was he going to tell his team, to Internal Affairs, to their family? 

It hurt to breathe. 

Strong arms were around him, preventing him from running back into the rubble. He struggled, but he was weak. He vaguely heard his name. 

He felt tears sting his face and eyes as he clawed at the air and gasped, a single word being uttered. A name. A name that’s crossed his lips many times, but never like this. 

“Get him to the ambulance! We need to take care of him!” 

He was irrelevant. What mattered was getting to the center of the blast site. To get to where the man he loved was. 

“I need help over here!” the person holding him back yelled. 

Strong, soft hands gripped his wrists and he fought to free himself from that grip. 

“Do not make us cuff you to the fuckin’ gurney,” said the person holding onto his wrists with iron might. “We will do it, you know we will. You need medical help!” 

All he could say in response was that name on his lips. 

“We’ll find him, I promise, but for right now, focus on you.” 

He couldn’t. 

It hurt to breathe, and it would for a while.