Despite his half-hearted attempts to push away from the man, Craig wasn't really that thrown when Joey continued to hold him close. By this point the teen had come to understand that hospital trips bring the cuddler out in his otherwise generally non-obtrusive guardian.

And, on top of not being that surprised by this point, the boy quickly realized that he wasn't all that offended by it anymore. After all, he was sick. That alone should give him a pass on having to keep up his tough exterior. For a couple of minutes at the very least. And the mere fact that he had managed to play it cool for so many days should count for something.

He was just so tired. And sore. And lonely. Who could really blame him for giving in to his oh-so-persistent guardian's insistence on holding him? Closing his eyes against the man's shoulder, he desperately attempted to keep control over both his haggering cough and surfacing tears. If he could just keep them both in check for a few minutes longer, maybe he would finally be able to relax…

As the teen began to sag against his shoulder, Joey cautiously shifted his head in an attempt to check the boy's breathing. He was more than a little happy to note that the change in the youth's posture was not due to any medical complication, but to his eyes drooping. A few seconds later, he lowered the sleeping teen onto the bed. Giving the boy one last look, he turned quickly and headed for the door He had things to take care of and wanted to be sure he was back before Craig woke up to an empty room.


Joey impatiently drummed his fingers along his jeans as he attempted to wait politely as the security officer slowly reviewed the map showing the way to the elevators with the extremely overwhelmed grandmother for the third time. It wasn't like he really was in that big of a hurry. After all, Craig was probably sound asleep. Lord knows he needed to be. And there really wasn't any urgent reason that Joey needed to get back to the teen's room. It had just taken Joey longer than he had planned and he was anxious to get back to the teen before he awoke alone. Unfortunately, at the rate things were going, that just wasn't going to happen.


Lazily stretching his achy back, Craig casually rolled onto his side in an attempt to find a more comfortable position. But as the IV in his hand pulled slightly at the movement, the youth became incredibly uncomfortable. After all, how could he feel anything but uncomfortable once he came to the realization that he was still in the hospital? Reluctantly prying his eyes open, he surprised himself with the disappointment he felt upon realizing that Joey was nowhere to be found.

He really must be losing it. He had wanted the man to leave him alone. Now that he had, Craig should feel happy. So what the heck was wrong with him?

Looking out through the open doorway, he couldn't help but dwell on where his guardian had disappeared to.


Finally making his way back to the boy's room, Joey was relieved to see the teen resting quietly. A smile lit the man's face at the sight. Then he noticed the half-empty glass of water on the bedside tray. The salesman sighed ever so slightly at the sight. Obviously Craig had been awake while he was alone. He had really hoped that wouldn't happen.

Since there was no use crying over spilt milk, Joey quickly and quietly went about business, hoping to at least accomplish this part of his mission before the teen awoke again.