Title: Mad World
By: St. Minority
Characters/Pairings: Gilbert/Sam, OC's
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, I make no profit, etc.
Warning: Character death, angst, sadness
Summary: One night to lose everything.
A/N: A bit inspired by Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss" as well as "Mad World" by Gary Jules, where the title came from.
The distinctive sound was dull at first as it reached its highest pitch and then fell to its lowest. Lights flashed in all of the millions of pieces of shattered glass strewed about him. Red and blue. Red and blue. Siren wail.
Gilbert tried to raise his head, though hurriedly aborted the action due to the excruciating pain it caused. His whole body was encased by agony. He moved his leg slightly, eliciting a feeble wail to escape past his swollen, busted lips. The engine of the emergency vehicle replaced the noise of the sirens that abruptly turned off. It was close; slowly, he turned his head a little to the side to decipher what had come for him and who was making their way toward him. A sudden realization shot through him, and he instantly started to extend his arm to what had been the passenger side's seat. He cried out at the anguish it caused him, but refused to stop inching farther and farther. After groping around for a few seconds, he felt a limp, bloody hand, which he grasped desperately.
"Sam?" he whispered as loudly as he could; it was almost inaudible. "Sam? Can you hear me?"
Nothing but the distorted shouting of the medical crew and firefighters reached his ears.
"Sam, I'm so sorry. I love you."
From the corners of his heavily bruised eyes, tears leaked from them to slide down his terribly battered face.
"He's conscious! Can you hear me, sir? I need you to focus."
The words were difficult to understand, making him unable to respond with more than a small whimper.
"Can you tell me your name? Sir, stay with me. I need you to keep your eyes open, alright?"
"There's someone over here on the passenger's side. His legs and half of his torso are….need to pry this all off of him."
Gilbert grimaced and groaned weakly in pain as he was carefully, cautiously pulled from the wreckage. A neck brace went about his throat before he was eased onto a stretcher.
"Is he going to be okay?" he questioned faintly. "Sam?"
"Just concentrate on staying awake for me, alright?" the person clad in an EMS uniform said to him as he was lifted onto a gurney and pushed into the back of the ambulance.
A needle was poking around his left arm in search of a vein for the placement of an I-V. An oxygen mask went over his mouth, and the last thing he knew before total blackness was the howling of a siren.
Sam was beaming with the utmost happiness and could not stop voicing his amazement, enjoyment, and his favorite acts performed at the magic show they had just attended. Gilbert simply grinned and listened, agreeing here and there while nodding his head. He knew of Sam's fascination for tricks and entertainment, and he was pleased that he was able to get tickets for the event held in the city twenty minutes from the small town of Endora. The show had been great, but his favorite part was merely hearing Sam talk about it afterward with such delight and seeing the appreciation for being taken to it in his eyes.
"Thank you for this, Gilbert," the younger man said gently.
Gilbert took his lover's hand in his as they continued walking toward the nearest diner for something to eat. "You're very welcome. I'm really glad you liked it."
"I loved it." He placed a quick kiss on Gilbert's cheek and let out a small giggle. "I love you."
"I love you too, Sam."
The monitor conveyed a steady heartbeat, being the first noise to reach his ears. He was thoroughly exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep, yet he was anxious to find out where he was. Leisurely, his eyelids fluttered open to reveal a dark hospital room. He was lying on his back, and his body throbbed and ached from the waist down. Gauze was wrapped around his head as far as he could tell; a standard hospital gown clothed his otherwise naked body; his left forefinger was covered with a little metal encasement to help monitor his pulse; and the needle embedded in the more visible vein of the top of his left hand led to the I-V bag hanging above him at the side of the bed.
The reason why he was there was unclear; he could not remember much at that moment.
Gilbert sat across from Sam in the booth they had at the relatively busy diner and watched amusedly as the younger man arranged the sugar and Sweet 'N Low packets according to color in their small container. He set the banana split dish in front of Sam and had a burger and fries for himself.
"Hey, come on. I think they're fine the way they are," he said with a smile and pulled his lover's arm away from the packets.
"Oh. Okay." Sam continued to stare at them for a little longer as if making up his mind before taking up his spoon and scooping some ice cream onto it. "Thanks for this," he stated cheerfully.
"You're very welcome."
"Do you want a bite?" he asked with his mouth full.
Sam took up another good amount of the vanilla ice cream with a piece of banana and held it out to Gilbert. Gilbert leaned forward, closed his lips around the spoon, and pulled away to savor the taste. He nodded in approval and gave a light chuckle, causing Sam to laugh in response. Sam fed him a few more bites, making a handful of people around them observe them with disapproval. After several minutes, Gilbert started to toss a couple of fries individually at his lover to see if Sam could catch them in his mouth. Whenever he was successful, Gilbert kissed him as a reward.
"Hey, Gilbert?" Sam voiced a short period later after they had ceased their somewhat childish antics.
"People keep looking at us."
The older of the two glanced up from his plate to Sam's slightly embarrassed expression before gazing about the area. It was obvious that some were making fun, while others merely gave them scornful looks. Sam's head was bowed, though he lifted it when he felt his lover grasp his hand tenderly.
"Don't worry about them," Gilbert said gently, trying to mask the anger he had. "You're not doing anything wrong."
Sam's beautiful eyes that Gilbert loved so much darted about nervously, revealing his discomfort.
"Do you wanna leave?"
"But you're not finished."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Let's go. It's getting late anyway."
Gilbert followed closely behind Sam as they made their way to the door. Once the younger of the two was out, Gilbert raised his middle finger in the air for the public to witness before exiting himself.
There were footsteps echoing in the relatively vacant hallway just outside the room he was in, and he turned his head very slightly to view whoever it was through the window. The woman entered, dressed in blue scrubs with a white doctor's coat over them, and crossed to stand at the side of his bed. She smiled kindly down at him, to which he attempted to return the gesture; however, his countenance was excessively bruised and beaten that his lips could do nothing but quirk upward minutely to grin.
"How are you feeling?" she asked quietly.
"Tired," Gilbert whispered intensely softly.
"Do you have any pain anywhere?"
"Not much anymore."
"Can you tell me your name?"
"I'm Dr. Thatcher, Gilbert. You're at St. Francis hospital, recovering from surgery. Your left hip was broken and your left leg was in bad shape; we performed surgery in order to repair them so that they will function as normal. There was a deep laceration on the left side of your head that required stitches, a few of your ribs are broken as well as your right wrist."
As he listened to her speak, tears overwhelmed his eyes and escaped out of them from the corners of his eyelids. Visions of the horrendous accident flooded his mind, prompting him to ask, "Where's Sam? How is he?"
"He was next to me."
"I'm not sure. He was brought into the emergency room while you were being operated on."
"Is he in pain?"
She pulled out a tissue from her pocket and dabbed the wet trails left by his tears. "It doesn't look good," she voiced solemnly.
Gilbert shut his eyes tightly and exhaled a trembling breath. "Oh god," he said in a strangled voice.
"He was compressed between the ground and the crushed front. He was trapped from the waist down under the wreckage. They had to cut through the metal before they could get him out safely."
"Oh my god. It all happened so fast, I….I could only hold him….I couldn't get him out."
Smooth fingers began to stroke his tangled, bloodied hair in a comforting manner as he wept silently. Neither said a word for a long period; there was nothing but the heart monitor producing sound.
At last she questioned, "Is he a good friend of yours?"
He swallowed to clear his constricted throat before he could answer. "I want to spend my life with him. I love him."
"Ooo, Gilbert, wait."
Before Gilbert had a chance to say anything, Sam took the keys from his hand and raced for the truck not far from them.
"Sam! What are you doing? Wait up!"
Sam went to the driver's side, smiled proudly, and stood with his shoulders back as Gilbert made his way to him. He put his finger to his lover's lips when Gilbert tried to speak before unlocking the door and standing to the side to allow the older male to pass in front of him. His hand grasped the handle, and he opened the door with a courteous bow, grinning up at Gilbert who had started to laugh.
"You're so sweet, Sam. Always the gentleman."
Gilbert tilted the younger man's head up and kissed him in such a way that sent pleasant tingles all throughout Sam's body, making him feel as if he had a case of butterflies in his stomach and was falling in love with Gilbert all over again. When they pulled away after several slow, vehement kisses, Sam ushered his lover into the truck, shut the door, and meandered to the passenger's side to get in. Instead of turning on the car as he had expected the red-haired man to do, he found himself leaning against the door window facing Gilbert as his friend crept toward him to press their lips together once more. Hands were gliding up and down his chest, making him moan ever so softly into his lover's warm mouth. The touch soon changed to fingers working on unbuttoning his vest and shirt in order to have contact with his bare torso. He tangled his own digits in Gilbert's hair, closing his eyes as he trembled beneath him.
"What if….What if we get caught?" he breathed whenever Gilbert pulled away for a second.
"I'll just say, 'Officer, it was a life and death situation. I had to give him mouth to mouth'." Gilbert drew back to gaze at the brown-haired boy's tranquil countenance, grinning contently at Sam's somewhat shocked, yet shyly amused expression. "I love you, Sam," he whispered after a brief moment.
Sam smiled and brushed his fingertips against the man's cheek above him. "I love you too."
He did not remember falling asleep, but he knew he must have due to the new hospital room he found himself in. It was much smaller, intended for only two patients, and the lighting was a little brighter. His gaze flickered to the door to discover Dr. Thatcher standing right outside conversing with another doctor; there were also a few police officers present around the two. She glanced at the window, and he did not miss the gloomy expression she had. It caused him to feel utterly uneasy and more excessively worried about Sam.
After a couple of minutes, Thatcher entered alone and stated quietly, "You're awake now, I see. Very good."
"How's Sam?" His voice was hoarse and incredibly soft.
There was a moment of hesitation before she answered, "I'm not sure, Gilbert. I think he may have gone up to surgery."
Something was off; he was not sure whether she was telling the truth or not. She continued on before he could comment on it, however.
"Is there anyone we can call for you? Family? Friends?"
"You can call, but they won't be able to come. No car."
"Well, we can send over some officers to pick them up. Where do they live?"
"Endora. Twenty minutes away."
"Okay. I'll see if we can't get them here for you."
The three police men she had been with entered at that moment and stood near the closed door as if waiting. Gilbert looked at them suspiciously, feeling somewhat unnerved by their silence and the stern expressions they had.
"Gilbert," Dr. Thatcher began, "Since you're awake now, these men would like to ask you some questions and hear your account about the accident."
"No. Not until I see Sam."
One of the three stepped forward and said, "Sir, we can't wait any longer. We need to hear what happened in your own words before you forget anything about it."
"I won't forget," Gilbert replied curtly. "I want to see Sam. Then I'll answer any questions."
"Gilbert, I don't know if it's best that you see him right now," Thatcher interjected.
A resounding silence sounded in the room for a lengthy period as Gilbert stared from the ceiling to Thatcher over and over again. He did not wish to believe what he knew had to be true now – could not believe it. The pain he had had from his injuries was becoming less and less as his heart shattered in grief. Tears started to leak from his eyes, and he had to swallow numerous times before he could at last speak.
"Sam's dead, isn't he?" he whispered.
There was a pause before Thatcher nodded her head. "Yes, he is. I'm sorry, Gilbert."
Everything seemed to dissipate around him as he attempted to recover from the harsh reality. He shielded his face with his hands and began to sob.
"His injuries were just too terrible and severe, and with such a large amount of blood loss, the odds were not in his favor. They worked on him long and hard and did everything they could, but it was all too late."
"Was he in any pain?" he forced out in a choked voice. "Did he suffer?"
"I don't think he could feel anything. He was unconscious from the moment he was freed from the wreckage to when he died."
"How bad was he?"
"Both of his legs were crushed. His pelvis was broken, along with his right arm and a number of his ribs; he had an extensive amount of internal bleeding; his skull was fractured, and there was a deep laceration on the side of his head. He really didn't have a chance, Gilbert. I'm so sorry."
"Oh my god," he cried, his entire being overwhelmed with sorrow. "It should've been me. It should've hit my side, not his….He should be lying here alive, not me….Oh my god. Not Sam. Not him."
Thatcher held Gilbert's hand in hers and stroked it soothingly. She knew it was probably not the best thing, as she had stated before, for him to see his lover's body, but she felt it more wrong to keep him away.
"Look, um….They're cleaning him up and….I'll take you to him if you still want to see him."
"Yes. Please. Please, take me to him."
It was an extremely agonizing process to be lifted from the bed and eased into a wheelchair. His broken leg extended out in front of him on a long metal piece that attached to the chair. Dr. Thatcher pushed him down the hallway with a nurse at her side, who was wheeling the pole that his I-V was hanging from. Many other patients were sitting in wheelchairs outside of their own rooms and meandering about the area, along with doctors and nurses flying from one place to another. Although it appeared that everyone was making noise, Gilbert could not hear anything but the pounding of his heart. He felt as if he were being moved in slow motion. People glanced at him, yet he kept his eyes gazing straight ahead. One couple, though, was able to catch his attention. They were standing in front of one of the emergency rooms, holding each other tightly and weeping. He knew what the doctor had told them, judging by their reaction; someone they cared for had passed on. It made tears form in his eyes, and he immediately felt immense empathy for them.
Thatcher turned a corner and took him to the first door on the right. She looked at him dolefully and silently advised him to prepare himself. He gave a nod, and she pushed the door open with her back, pulling him in after her.
There was only one bed present in the room. The obvious shape of a figure was lying on it, covered with a white, slightly blood soaked sheet. A fluorescent light was turned on above the bed to shine in the otherwise dark space. It was cold, or at least Gilbert felt that way, and he shivered imperceptibly as he was taken to be beside the deceased. Anxiety was building inside of him, making him wonder if he would be able to handle it after all or not. As if in tune to what he was thinking, Thatcher inquired, "Do you still want to do this?"
After a moment of indecision, Gilbert nodded his head. With the go ahead, Thatcher grasped the top of the sheet, lifted it up, and pulled it down to his lover's shoulders. Gilbert closed his eyes and turned his head, trying to hold back a cry of deep anguish. It was no mistake. It was no heartless joke or a cruel game of pretend. Sam was not alive anymore; his pale, expressionless face and the absolute stillness of his body proved this.
"Oh god," Gilbert choked. He exhaled a shaking breath and whispered dejectedly, "Oh my god."
There were not many cars out as they drove along the two lane highway that cut through the countryside. Traveling where there was nothing but open land everywhere made it seem like the night was completely black. Sam was staring out the window to see the thousands of stars burning dimly. Gilbert turned his head to look at him every now and then, smiling at how Sam moved from the door window to the windshield numerous times to gaze at the sky.
"What are you searching for?" the red-haired man asked kindly.
"A shooting star. I want to make a wish."
"Why don't you just choose from the many stars already glowing?"
"It's not the same. It wouldn't come true that way."
"What would you wish for?"
Sam grinned, brown eyes sparkling merrily as he replied, "You to be with me forever."
Gilbert reached over and linked his fingers with his lover's securely. "You don't have to wish for that. It's already come true."
"I just want to be sure nothing will happen to ruin it."
Gilbert gave a small laugh, kissed his lover's hand, and let Sam conduct his hunting without interruption. Not two minutes later, the first pair of headlights to be seen on the highway shone far off in the distance, growing brighter as they continued toward the two men in the other lane. The vehicle they belonged to moved to the right then jerked to the left a few times, making Gilbert frown with concern.
"What are they doing?" Sam questioned curiously.
"I don't know."
As the two cars neared each other, the oncoming one started to swerve more often.
"Gilbert," Sam spoke quietly, his voice quivering a little from fear. He grabbed the older male's hand and squeezed it nervously.
Both were traveling at high speeds, there was no chance of avoiding what was to come. The car crossed the dividing lines and into the other lane.
The sound of shattering glass, crunching metal, and tires screeching echoed in Gilbert's ears. He swallowed hard before opening his eyes to take in Sam's swollen and bashed countenance. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks as he surveyed the damage. Slowly, he raised his arm and began stroking his lover's brown, grimy, bloodied hair affectionately.
"He looks so peaceful," he gasped between his sobs. "Like he's just sleeping….God, I wish he was. So beautiful…." He paused as he attempted to gain control of his uneven breaths. There was not much success. "Hey Sam….It's too bad you couldn't find one of those shooting stars, huh?" he said with a tiny laugh. "I really wish you had. I don't want to be without you. I can't….I should've been the one who died; not you. It's not fair….I love you, Sam. And I'm sorry. Please, forgive me. Please, please forgive me. I love you."
He trailed his fingers along Sam's cheek to his lips before venturing to his neck. Absentmindedly, he moved the sheet to reveal Sam's torso. The pallid skin was marred with an extraordinary amount of bruises and cuts. The sight made him cry out as if he had been stabbed. A delicate hand was pressed to the younger male's chest and inched along to his arm, stopping only when Gilbert could entwine his fingers with Sam's.
"I miss you so much already. I love you."
"Gilbert? Gilbert. Can you hear me? Please wake up."
The sound of his lover's voice was vague and distorted, yet it became clearer after a minute or so. Wearily, Gilbert opened his eyes to find himself slumped over the steering wheel, his hair showered with bits of broken glass, and his hand cocooned securely in Sam's own. He raised his head leisurely to stare at the younger man, discovering that his face had blood smears on it and was colored shades of purple and black.
"Sam, are you okay?" he croaked.
"My head and chest really hurt but other than that, I think I am. Are you? You've been unconscious for a couple of minutes."
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay."
Because he had tried to turn the truck to get out of the way before the crash, the automobile was now positioned more sideways than straight on the road with the passenger's side facing the direction in which traffic would be coming in their direction. He stole a glimpse at the unmoving car pressed against his side of the truck, noting some movement from the four occupants in it.
Abruptly, there was a flash of lights far away that were growing brighter with every passing second. It was coming toward Sam fast, and Gilbert began frantically trying to free himself from his seatbelt.
"We need to get out," he said shakily.
Sam glanced to catch sight of what had his lover afraid; for a moment, it paralyzed him in terror. His fingers fumbled over the buckle, but it was stuck, causing him to panic tremendously.
"Gilbert, I can't get it," he voiced, frightened. "I can't get it."
"It'll be okay. Calm down. Just keep trying, alright?"
Gilbert was still working on getting his unbuckled and was finally able to after a couple of minutes. Hurriedly, he started pulling on Sam's, his hands trembling greatly. Sam constantly looked from Gilbert to the gaining vehicle; he began to breathe shallowly and pleaded for the red-head to liberate him.
"Don't cry, Sam. It'll be okay. I promise," Gilbert attempted to reassure him. "I'll get you out of this."
"I don't wanna die, Gilbert. I don't wanna die."
"Shh….Calm down. We'll be alright."
Gilbert cursed wildly as he continued trying to get the seatbelt off of Sam. The lights were so bright now that it seemed as if it were the sun blazing. There was a deafening horn as the semi-truck barreled toward them, and Gilbert stopped from the sudden feeling of Sam's quaking hand on his own. He gazed at Sam, witnessing the horror, sadness, and acceptance in his dilated amber eyes. The younger man was sobbing, and Gilbert blinked several times to release the tears that had welled within his own eyes.
Without a word, Gilbert wrapped his arms around Sam and hugged him to his chest snuggly.
"I….love you….Gilbert," Sam forced out as he breathed uncontrollably.
"I love you too, Sam. I love you so much."
Gilbert closed his eyes mere seconds before the semi slammed into the passenger's side. There was a painful scream that came from Sam, and the two flew apart from one another's embrace as the truck began to roll. The seatbelt came undone at last from Sam, causing him to be flung about inside the vehicle. When the truck came to a stop several minutes later upside-down, he was sprawled out unconscious, trapped between the flattened bottom front of the truck and the hard asphalt of the road. Gilbert lay with his head out the doorframe window, and his left leg was folded in a position not normally possible.
The brilliant luminosity of the semi-truck's headlights was visible for a minute longer before everything went entirely black.
"What happened to the people in the other car?" Gilbert inquired faintly, his fingers still running through Sam's brown locks. "Are they alright?"
"They'll be fine. They're still rather shaken up a bit over it. Once we discharge them, I'm fairly certain the police will arrest the four of them."
"Drunk driving. Their alcohol level was way above the legal limit. I'm very surprised they hadn't gotten into a wreck before hitting you."
Gilbert clenched his teeth, a wave of intense anger overwhelming him. "Wish I could return the favor and kill one of them," he mumbled vaguely.
"The truck driver's fine as well. He's in a state of shock over it too." Receiving no reaction from the distraught man, she continued on. "Listen, I'll give you some time alone in here. You can take as long as you need. I'll come and check on you periodically."
"Thank you," was the whispered response.
He heard the door close seconds later, and the room felt absolutely suffocating with its silence and dimness now that he was alone. Delicately, he brought Sam's hand to his lips and kissed it softly a number of times before cradling it in his lap.
"Good night, Sam," he murmured gently. "And goodbye. You know I'll always love you."
Eyelids fluttered shut, and for the last time, Gilbert fell asleep beside his lover. Soon, his mind escaped from the mad world he was living in; he dreamed of Sam and himself lying together outside, watching and wishing on the many stars that darted through the night sky.
The magic Sam had loved existed now only in Gilbert's sub-conscious; it was the single place where they could be together eternally, just as Sam had desired wholeheartedly.