My God, I cried when I wrote this!! I hope you like it and I hope you'll review!! Have the tissues handy!!!
Two days, fifteen hours, and 30 minutes.
That was how long he'd been here in this place.
He looked so small lying there. Dear God, had he always looked so young? So defenseless? Had he always been this weak, this…
Yes, fragile. Unnervingly fragile. He was so pale and limp as he slept that he looked like a little porcelain doll. The tubes and wires and respirators sticking out of him only added to the illusion of fragility, only made him look more helpless. The steady beep of his heart monitor was the only real sign of life in him. His hand was cold and unresponsive. He was just lying there, beaten and broken, and despite every advance in medical technology, there wasn't a soul that could save him from his fate except himself. He had to do all the work, all the healing. He had to save his own life.
But how could this battered, frail child do that in this shape? How could they expect that of him? It wasn't fair, dammit! It just wasn't fair! There had to be something they could do, something that someone, anyone could do so that this poor, delicate creature didn't have to do all the work.
But no. The only thing that anyone could do was sit around and wait for the impossible miracle.
That wasn't good enough, dammit! Wasn't there something that could be done?? Anything?? An organ he could give? Blood he could donate? A way to switch places with the boy so that he didn't have to sit here and watch this pathetic sight??
But all he could do was pray.
Pray for two days, fifteen hours, and 32 minutes.
He didn't even believe in God, but now he prayed, and he hoped that God didn't hold grudges. He begged, pleaded, cajoled, even raged and cried; he screamed out loud, sobbed in terror, made deals, and offered his soul; he did everything he could think of to do, and while the methods differed, the request remained the same.
Dear God. Please let him live.
He thought he'd seen the worst, and when the boy had survived that, he'd thought him invincible. Untouchable. Incapable of being harmed. But the worst had yet to come, and when it did, it had come with a vengeance none of them had been prepared for. It had brutalized him in such a way that the doctors weren't sure that he was ever going to recover. But he had to, dammit! He just had to! He's not allowed to die before me, he thought. None of them are, but especially not him.
And he has to do all the work himself? He couldn't even breathe on his own!! How could they expect him to heal himself when he didn't even have the energy to draw precious oxygen into his lungs?? He was so tired. He just couldn't manage on his own. He felt the tears start running down his cheeks again, shed for the boy who needed his help desperately. It wasn't fair. That should be him laying there, not this child. Anyone but this child. Why did these things keep happening to him?? Hadn't the world kicked him around enough? Was God so vengeful that now he would take this young life long before it had even truly begun??
No, please. Not that. Don't take him away. I'll give him my lungs. I will give him my life. I'll give him whatever you want, just please don't take him from me.
In the back of his mind, he was actually surprised that he felt so strongly about this. This boy had no blood relation to him, and in fact had been nothing more than a business ploy when he'd discovered him. And yet, even back then, there'd been strength in this child that he'd never seen before, not even in the grown men surrounding him everyday. As the days and the years passed and he began to see the true potential in this boy, he'd become more aware of this strength, and eventually…he supposed that he began to see something of himself in this boy. In time, he really began to care about the kid, who was growing into a young man so fast that it scared him sometimes.
Neither of them had ever really been sure when it had happened, but it had. They finally were able to admit to themselves that they cared about the other, a fact which, of course, they'd never say out loud to one another or tell anyone else, but they both knew it. They knew it whenever they saw each other. He knew it when the boy started making a habit of calling him when he reached his destinations to let him know where he was and where he was going. To outsiders, that gesture was a standard procedure for traveling officers, but to the two of them, they knew that he didn't have to do it if he didn't really want to, and for the first three years of his career, the boy had never made the effort to call him. Not once. The kid could be loose in the wilds for all he knew half the time, but finally, the boy started making the calls. That's how he knew the boy cared about him, how he knew the boy was aware of his concern for his safety.
And, boy, was it hard to let this boy walk out of his office to start the next leg of his search. They both knew the legends. They both knew the truth. They both were aware of the danger, and they both knew perfectly well that he was fully within his power to keep the boy from his search. They both knew that at any moment, he could call him back to base and order him into various, tedious missions. And they both knew that would not only make the boy furious, but miserable. So, he let him roam free. He only ever lectured him when he got hurt or had done something stupid and uncalled for. Despite those lectures, despite the seeming carelessness in his attitude towards letting a child walk away into unspeakable dangers, they both knew that these gestures were his way of letting the kid know he cared. It was okay with both of them. It was easier. He'd often wanted to say it—the things he was really feeling. But neither of them were good at handling their emotions, and so keeping it as an understanding between the two of them was by far easier on the both of them.
But he couldn't deny it now, not while he was sitting by helplessly, unable to do a thing. And God how he despised his helplessness! It wasn't fair, dammit! The one time this boy really needed his help, and there was not a damn thing he could do!! Fathers were supposed to protect their sons, and yet, all he found himself doing was waiting, endlessly waiting.
Waiting for two days, fifteen hours, and 45 minutes.
It was killing him. He reached forward and pushed back some of the loose hair hanging in the boy's face. He put one of his hands around that limp, cold, and unresponsive left hand.
Please wake up. You have to wake up. These doctors don't think you can do it, but you can. I know you can. Show these bastards what you're made of and wake up.
Nothing. The boy didn't stir. The beeping of the heart monitor was tormenting him, and he began to cry again.
You are not allowed to die before me, dammit!! Wake up!
But the boy just laid there, a half-dead porcelain doll. And then came the thought, the horrible, gut-twisting, unthinkable thought. He didn't want to think that way, but he couldn't help it, not after sitting here for two days, fifteen hours, and 46 minutes with no progress to give him hope. His thoughts careened into that dark place, and he began to think about this boy's brother.
Who will look after him when you're gone? he thought to himself. What will he do with the body he has? What will he do without you? But there's nothing you can do. You're too tired. And who can blame you, when your body is so beat up like it is now?
God wants to take you away from us. You know that, right? Well, don't listen to him. Don't leave us.
The pain was just too much. He turned away from the boy for a moment, looking out the window into the mockingly bright sunshine beyond. Why are you doing this to us? he asked. Why are you trying to take him away? Hasn't he been through enough? Hasn't his brother been through enough? I won't let you take him, you bastard! I won't! I don't know what I'll do, but I'll keep him here, somehow!! So you keep you and yours away from him!
He turned back to the boy, angrily biting back the tears.
He's my son, damn you. And a father shouldn't have to bury his son.
The tears started to flow again, and he pushed back some more of the blonde hair. In the next second, he retracted his hand and wrapped both around the boy's, closing his eyes tightly and leaning over that hand. He willed that tiny spark to stay lit with all his might, but in the end, he was just making his headache worse.
Please let me keep him, he thought in defeat. I'll do whatever you want, just let me keep him.
And that's when he felt it. A small twitch. He looked up, sure that his hopes had deceived him, but no! No! There it was again! He watched with some emotion caught somewhere between horror, relief, and awe as that left hand curled weakly around his. He'd thought he didn't have anymore tears left to shed, but his joy was too overwhelming and so they sprang up again, flooding his coal black eyes and spilling down his cheeks. He watched a little bit longer, and to his utter astonishment and delight, the boy's eyelids fluttered weakly and opened. He felt his heart stop as those golden orbs drifted over to him, fighting to focus through the haze of pain and drugs. When they reached his, they locked there, and he felt his hand get squeezed weakly. The respirator shoved down his throat didn't allow him to speak, but the look in his eyes and the strength in his hand sent the message loud and clear.
Don't worry anymore. I'm okay, and I'm not going anywhere.
He couldn't swallow past the lump in his throat and his voice had abandoned him long ago, but he didn't have to say anything. He leaned over the boy's hand again, bowing his head as his body began to shudder with the force of tears unshed.
My God, I love you, he wanted to say, but he couldn't, didn't know how.
Was too afraid.
He looked back up into those golden eyes and smiled warmly, and the smile didn't feel awkward; it wasn't forced. It was real, and it expressed the things his words could not.
"Thank you for not dying, Edward," he managed to say, voice thick with sobs. The boy closed his eyes and squeezed his hand again.
I love you, too.