Pounding Heartbeats 1: Everyday People
By Maureen

Standard disclaimers apply. Oookay, I know a lot of people are going to be upset over this m/m pairing. This is for all the H/T shippers (all one of me). If same sex pairings bother you, don't read any of this fic. If Hank/Tyler pairings bother you, don't read this fic. And if you do read this fic and get offended, well, I warned you so tough rocks.

This ties into Silent Heartbeats and focuses mostly on Hank and Tyler (duh), yes; Jamie and Catie will be making appearances. Since PH and SH will be overlapping, expect similar events from different points of view and/or the same dialogue. However, not everything will be the same as different things happened to H/T than to Jamie. Oh, and there will be more Val in this (I think).

***

"So are you going to check on Jamie tomorrow morning?" Val asked Tyler as their shift ended. Being called to their friend's house had been unnerving at best and everyone had been shaken up.

"Yeah," Tyler replied, "Hank said something about us all going together." He hoped he appeared calm on the outside, but secretly thought Hank Beecham was hot. Of course, he also knew that Val had an ΓΌber crush on him and did not want to hurt her feelings.

"Meet you at the hospital about 8:00 then?"

"Sure, we'll be there." What Tyler neglected to mention was that he was going to spend the night over at Hanks house. With both of the Beecham's working late and Tyler's hatred of William, he frequently slept over on the weekends. His crush on Hank didn't factor in at all, and if he kept telling himself that he might actually begin to believe it. Too bad Hank was straight.

"Ready to go?" Hank asked, hitting his friend on the back enough to be manly but not hard enough to hurt. It had just started to pour and both were quickly soaked to the bone.

"Yup," he replied, picking his backpack up from the ground and climbing into Hank's Honda Civic. It made sense for sensible Hank to drive a sensible car. "Lead on, Mac Duff."

Hank laughed at the lame joke, a joke only a good friend would laugh at. Tyler's jokes were always rather pathetic. But the rest of Tyler...Hank didn't think the rest of Tyler Connell was pathetic or lame. Just the opposite. He was convinced that he was one of the best male specimens in Kingsport. Too bad Tyler was straight.

They were quite late arriving at Hank's house.

***

The next morning they stopped over at Tyler's house so he could pick up some money and they grabbed one of his mothers t-shirts and scrunchie out of the clean laundry since Hank figured that Catie was still at the hospital. Before they reached the hospital they made another stop at a local donut shop for her breakfast. Yet another reason for Hank to be the hottest guy ever; he was caring and considerate.

He also bet $5 that she'd be there.

In the hospital they met up with Val, and even though she had a perky smile plastered to her face, it was plain that she was upset that she hadn't thought to bring some basic toiletries or breakfast to her best friend.

After Catie had washed up and had eaten the quartet made their way to Jamie's room. He lay in the hospital bed looking as though he was about to die. In addition to the IV feeding him both blood and antibiotics and the tube in his nose helping him to breathe, de rigueur for almost any hospital visit, were heart and brain wave monitors.

"Will he be okay?" Catie asked softly, smoothing back Jamie's black hair, it lay in soft bangs against his forehead since there was no more gel to hold it in its usual short spikes.

Hank had immediately gone to his medical chart and was looking at it carefully. "I think so, but he's been hurt pretty bad."

Catie took one of his lifeless hands, and squeezed it hoping for a reaction. Nothing. "Come on Jamie, wake up, man," she whispered, "you're a fighter. Don't quit now!"

"He's not quitting, Catie," Hank replied, glancing up from his medical chart. He couldn't understand it all, but it looked like the doctors had Jamie sedated while his body healed a little more. "He's sedated."

Hank and Tyler stepped out then, letting the girls have some time with their friend privately. "Tyler, about last night..." Hank began.

"Don't apologize. I liked it."

"You did?" Hank replied, confused.

"I didn't exactly say 'no', remember. So...does this mean we're 'going out'?" Tyler asked quietly. Somehow, he didn't picture asking another person out, especially a guy, in a hospital! This was way too soap-operaish for his tastes.

"I think so," Hank told him, giving him a quick kiss on the lips. Tyler returned it in full.

Just then, Val and Catie walked out of the room. "Oh my god!" Val exclaimed, shocked at the scene in front of her. She was a good girl, and good girls did not see her two closest guy friends making out!

"I knew it!" Catie crowed to herself., "but I didn't think it would be together. Ah well."

"Explain yourselves," Val demanded, upset.

"We'll explain over lunch, okay?" Tyler told her in his most soothing voice, trying anything to stall for time.

"Fine!" Val spat. Catie stood there shocked at her best friend. Since when had Val been able to be so cruel to anyone?

"I'll ride with you, Val, okay?" Catie said, hoping she could calm the taller girl down before she did something rash.

"Alex!" Tyler exclaimed, surprised, "what're you doing here?" he asked before kicking himself.

"Doctor Sanders called letting me know you guys were there and he said he had some things to discuss with me." With the last sentence four sets of eyes gazed at him hopefully, thinking perhaps he knew something they did not. "I don't know anything yet. Where are you guys headed?"

"Lunch. Don't know where yet though," Hank said.

"Meet me at the station after you eat then. I promise not to hold anything back."

"Alright. See you later then." Hank said as they left, towards the parking garage. Each was silent wondering what it was that Dr. Sanders could want to speak with Alex about. And the recent turn of events between Hank and Tyler.

***

"What the hell were they thinking!?" Val seethed as she waited at the traffic light.

"Maybe they like each other?" Catie suggested innocently. She didn't see anything wrong with a same-sex couple. Of course, she had gay friends already.

"But Tyler likes me!"

"He's kissing Hank though, not you," the glare Val gave Catie almost made her wish she wasn't sticking up for the boys. However, she was an advocate of equality for homosexuals and she was not going to be accused of hypocrisy.

"I never noticed!" she said sarcastically, pulling into the parking lot.

The boys were already inside waiting for them in line. Since it was still a little early for the lunch crowd the line moved quickly and the did not have much time to talk other than ordering their food.

Once everyone had their food straightened out on the table, Val broke the uncomfortable silence with, "So you're gay now, is that it?"

Hank nodded. Tyler didn't. "I still like girls too."

"You like me?" she asked.

"Are you always this harsh when you're pissed and I just never noticed or what?" Catie asked, before Tyler could turn any more red. She was appalled at how her friend was acting.

"Catie, stay out of this!" Val ordered.

"No way. This involves me just as much as it involves you." Catie's voice softened, "Look, I know you're worried about Jamie, we all are, but don't take it out on them. I doubt they planned to come out of the closet now, like this."

Tyler began to breathe again, thankful for once that Catie was open-minded. From what he understood, there were many gay and bisexual Goths.

"I do like you, Val, as a friend. But I like Hank in a, in a..."

"Sexual," Catie supplied.

"Yeah, that way," he couldn't say it.

"We never meant to hurt you, Val. Honest." Hank spoke up, taking Tyler's hand in his.

"How long has this been going on?" she asked.

A small smile played on both of their faces, "Since last night, actually. Not long. We never intentionally deceived you."

Val looked at them for a minute before turning to her food. She didn't like it, but she could at least try to be happy for them. Maybe. Lunch continued, mostly with idle chit-chat between the boys and Catie, they discovered that they weren't on separate planets after all, merely opposite sides of the same globe.

***

An hour later they pulled into the stations' parking lot, anxious to hear what Alex had to say.

Alex was already back, working on some paperwork in his office. When he heard the door open he called out, "Come on in here, kids, I've got some important news." Once everyone was seated or standing where they will, he began. "Mr. Waite is missing. I've already called the police department and filed a missing persons for him. Also, Dr. Sanders has filed for a search for him in order to press charges against him for what we think he did to Jamie. Child Protective Services have already been contacted and they are going to send a caseworker to visit with Jamie once he regains consciousness. Dr. Sanders suggested that I petition to become Jamie's legal guardian. I've already agreed to do so. Any comments?"

"That's great Alex!" Catie exclaimed, "Well, not the bit about his father, but about you being his guardian!"

"Yeah," Hank concurred, "that is good news. Except...well, what does Jamie think of all of this?"

"He still hasn't regained consciousness yet, but we'll ask him once he does. I have no clue how I'm going to handle this," Alex said ruefully, "and I never thought this would be a part of this job. But, what the Hell, he needs someone and he is a good kid. Rather him here than in some foster home where God-know-what could happen." Seeing their shocked expressions at his candidacy, he waved his hand towards the door, motioning for them to leave.