The figure in the hospital bed looked to small and fragile to be Ryan. Eric froze in the doorway. He knew what to expect from what the doctor told him but it still didn't fully prepare him. Alexx gently pushed him into the room with the rest of the group following. Walking over to the bed Eric hesitantly took one of Ryan's hands into his.
"Hey Ryan, it's me, Eric. Everyone's here," he called.
"H-h-hey," Ryan rasped as he turned his head to face Eric.
"Hey, babe," Eric greeted softly.
"Ja...den?" Ryan choked out. Jaden who had been standing in the back ground looked up at his name. Moving so the other man could see him he spoke.
"Hey, Ryan, I'm here."
"Head... o...kay?" Ryan asked as he began to cough.
"I'm fine, Nick got in a lucky swing but don't worry he's in jail and isn't getting out," Jaden answered.
"G-g-good," Ryan rasped out as he coughed harder. His eyes squeezed tightly shut and his grip on Eric's hand tightened due to the pain that ripped through his throat and ribs.
"Shh, don't talk, Ry. It's going to be hard for you to talk for a few days," Calleigh advised. Ryan couldn't seem to stop coughing. He whimpered as he turned pleading eyes on Eric.
"Take a breath in through your nose, nice and slow, baby," Alexx soothed. Slowly Ryan's coughs subsided. Reaching for the pitcher of water on the table Eric filled the glass that was next to it and slid a straw into it before lifting it to his lover's lips.
"Drink," he commanded softly. Complying Ryan took a few small sips before pushing it away.
"We've got Jaden's account about what happened but we need your statement when you're ready to give it," Horatio told his injured CSI. Ryan nodded in understanding.
"Give it, now," he mouthed. He made as if he were writing. Understanding what he was asking for Horatio took out a notebook he'd grabbed before he left his house and a pencil handing both items to Ryan. Slowly he began to write his account of the evenings events. Eric read what Ryan was writing out loud so it could be recorded so in court they could prove that the recorded confession and the written one matched.
"Then Jaden came in and got Nick off of me and I..." Eric broke off reading because Ryan had stopped writing. Lifting his head everyone could see that Ryan's brown eyes were swimming with tears. He made eye contact with Jaden who understood instantly what was wrong. Turning to Calleigh Jaden gave her a similar look asking her what he should do. Noticing the look that passed between Calleigh and Jaden Ryan looked from one to the other receiving a nod from both of them indicating that Calleigh knew what was going on. Ryan remembered that she and Eric were having one of their movie and beer nights. Jerking his head to Eric he raised his eyebrows. Both Jaden and Calleigh shook their heads.
"Jaden came in and got Nick off of you and you what?" Horatio prompted gently.
"Do you want one of us to tell this part?" Calleigh questioned. Shaking his head Ryan continued writing. He turned his head after he'd finished writing the last couple of sentences so he didn't see the disappointment on Eric's face and on the rest of the teams as well. Eric read the last bit silently mouthing thank you to Jaden before he read it for the rest of the room to hear.
"Jaden came in and got him off me and I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I couldn't stop. Jaden had to make me. Then the EMTS brought me here," Eric finished swallowing hard.
"Thank you that's all we need to ensure a conviction," Horatio said confidently. A sniffle from the bed drew Eric's attention. Ryan had turned on his side so his back was to Eric.
"Ry?" Eric called softly.
"I'm sorry," Ryan responded.
"You have nothing to be sorry for," Eric assured him.
"B-b-but I l-let you down when I threw up," Ryan argued brokenly through coughs.
"Hey, look at me," Eric requested gently. Turning his head to face Eric Ryan got lost in his boyfriends eyes. Eyes that were only filled with love and concern not the disgust he'd thought would be in them.
"You didn't let me down. You've been through a very traumatic experience. We'll get through this together," Eric said leaning in and gently kissing Ryan on the lips. Ryan relaxed at the love he felt in the kiss.
"Part of getting through this, though, is you eating," Eric reminded him.
"Not hungry," Ryan mumbled.
"You need to eat. I know your throat is sore but they can give you some soup," Alexx said.
"Not hungry!" Ryan wrote getting frustrated.
"If you don't eat soon they'll have to put in a feeding tube," Eric told him. Ryan didn't respond.
"Will you eat for me, please?" Eric pleaded.
"I said I don't wanna eat. Eating makes me fat and I don't want to get any fatter. So no I won't eat, so leave me the hell alone!" Ryan wrote vigorously. Everyone could see what he was writing because they were all surrounding the bed.
"But..." Eric began. Everyone could see Ryan's temper beginning to snap.
"No, now leave me the hell alone and get out!" he wrote. Eric stood stunned trying to figure out if Ryan meant him or everyone. As if Ryan had read his mind he wrote one word.
"You." Eric turned and headed for the door tears clouding his vision.
"Ryan!" Alexx scolded gently.
"Its okay, Alexx, I'm going. I'll see you later," Eric said in a tight voice exiting the room.
"Calleigh?" Alexx questioned looking at the blonde.
"I'm on it, come with me, Handsome?" she asked touching Horatio's arm.
"Sure, lets go," he replied. Once the two of them were gone Alexx took the chair on the right side of Ryan's bed and Jaden took the left one.
"I love you but it's time for us to do the talking and you to do the listening, do I make myself clear?" Alexx asked the ex-patrol officer.
"Yes, ma'am," he wrote.
"Good," she answered before beginning to speak.
"Please god, I know he's going through a difficult time, but please don't let him push me away. I only want to help him. I love him I c-c-can't lose him now that I finally have him," Eric prayed sitting in the hospitals chapel. Clearing her throat as she reached her friend Calleigh placed a hand on his shoulder. Horatio was standing just behind her.
"Hey," she called softly.
"Hey where are the others?" Eric questioned.
"Alexx is giving Ryan her two cents and I think Jaden may add in a bit as well," Calleigh told him.
"He's got to eat I'm only doing this because I love him and care about him," Eric defended.
"I know and Ryan does to. He's just having a hard time recognizing that right now," Horatio explained.
"But how does pushing me away help?" Eric wondered as a few tears fell.
"It doesn't and he'll see how much he needs you before you know it," Calleigh said as she hugged him.
"I hope so," Eric said. Calleigh just hugged him tighter.
"Why don't we all say a prayer?" Horatio suggested. The other two nodded and began to pray.
A/n I know that Ryan is out of character but he's angry and scared. Don't worry the love birds will be fine soon. Please read and review.