Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with the WWE. And I keep forgetting to put this, but I own Cailin, and purplelygoodnes owns Izzy!
Author's Note: Thank you for the reviews! Here's another quick update since I know you're all wanting to know who got bit by the snake. Well, you're about to find out! Thanks to Graelam again for help with giving me some of the effects of snakebite. You're awesome! Lol. I hope you guys enjoy it!
Capri Heller walked along the dusty street with her flashlight to guide her way. Though Ben, her loving but oftentimes overprotective fiance, had suggested against it, she wanted to stop in to check on the two men that were going to be using one of the rooms she rented out. He had told her that it could wait until morning, but she felt bad that the room only offered one bed for the both of them, and she wanted to see if there was anything she could do to help them out in any way.
Building number three came into sight, and Capri approached it, knocking on the door. She waited patiently, brushing some blonde hair that had come loose from her ponytail out of her face as she looked at the night around her nervously. She wasn't quite sure what to expect with these two men since she hadn't met them and everything she knew about them had come from Izzy and Cailin. Both men seemed nice and responsible for the most part, but one never knew for sure until they actually met.
When she got no answer, Capri tried knocking again and waited for about the same amount of time. When she didn't get an answer again, she pulled out her master set of keys, finding the one that belonged with building three and quickly unlocked the door before pushing it open.
Capri gasped with surprise when she saw that both men were gone.
"Mike, back away!"
The words echoed in Mike's mind as he was pulled back a bit by John at the same time the snake struck Though it happened very quickly, time seemed to slow down a bit for him as he watched the serpent's fangs sink into his best friend's forearm.
"John!" Mike grabbed his arms and pulled him away from the bush to avoid a second strike from the snake. The older man allowed him to pull him along, holding his arm close to him. "John? John, are you okay?" He knew how stupid the question was since his friend had just been bitten by a deadly snake.
Surprisingly, John nodded. "Yeah... yeah, I'll be fine," he answered through gasps for breath, his face contorting into a look of pain. "Let's... let's just go back..."
Though he had set out to find the car, going back to River Springs now seemed to be the only option. Otherwise, John probably wouldn't make it... "All right, let's get back to town," Mike muttered.
As he looked at the road in the direction they had come from nervously, the only sound John's ragged, uneven breathing, Mike tried to remember everything he could about how to treat a snakebite when there were no materials. All he could think of was to keep the bite below the level of the heart, try not to move the area as much as possible, and to create a light band on either side of it to try to prevent the venom from spreading...
Sighing, Mike unwrapped his bandana from around his neck. John watched with surprise as he quickly tore it in half and began to tie each piece around his arm on either side of the bite.
"You're using your bandana?" he said with a slight smile.
"Shut up," Mike told him, hesitating for a moment when he heard John gasp with pain at his arm being touched before finishing. "Let's just get back to River Springs as quickly as possible."
Though he tried to act as though he could handle the snakebite by walking on his own as he and Mike slowly made their way down the road toward town, the effects of the venom were catching up to John quickly. His breath was coming shortly due to the pain in his chest that was steadily growing worse along with the intense pain in his arm. He could feel the muscles in his arms and legs tightening as he continued to walk, slowing him down as they entered a sand-filled area, and the loss of balance that had been creeping up on him made walking even more difficult.
Finally not able to continue on his own, John closed his eyes as he stumbled a little in the sand, starting to fall. Mike, who had stayed right beside him, threw his arms out and caught him before he could hit the ground.
"John, come on, Man," he muttered anxiously as he supported him, seeing in the moonlight that his face had completely drained of color. "We need to keep going..."
Mike felt dread flood through him at the quiet statement, and he carefully lifted John's bitten arm to check on it. He bit his lip nervously when he saw that the area was swelling. "Shit..." he muttered, sighing with worry. "John, is there anything else that hurts?" He tried to remember everything he could about snakebites to try to see how much time they had.
John slowly nodded, not wanting to worry his friend further but knowing the truth would be critical in this situation. "My... chest..." he told him, the only words he was able to get out through his gasps.
Very worried now, Mike put John's uninjured arm around his neck and wound his arm behind his back to support him. He knew he had to get the other man medical attention soon... "Okay, work with me, John," he said, beginning to lead him along. "We'll get back faster if you walk too, okay, Man?"
Mike sighed, not encouraged by the response. "Just hang in there..."
As they continued to slowly walk along the unpaved road, Mike's nerves got higher and higher. He hadn't realized how far away from the town they had gotten, and he knew that time, much like John's strength, was quickly slipping away. But, he knew that if he just kept going, they would get him back to the town in time to get help. He wasn't even going to consider the alternative.
They didn't walk for too much longer before John's strength completely left him, and he leaned entirely on Mike for a moment before slumping toward the ground. Mike tried holding him up, but found he had to lower him gently to the ground so he wouldn't harm him further. Breathing hard, he sunk to his knees on the road next to his best friend, looking around them anxiously before his gaze rested on John. They couldn't have been too far away from the town...
Then, Mike looked up again, narrowing his eyes when he noticed something off in the distance. They were lights, which appeared to be from buildings...
"John," he muttered with a slight laugh, shaking him gently. "John, I can see the town. Come on, Man, we can make it!"
But John didn't move to look at what the other man saw. Instead, his weary gaze had rested on a cactus rose in the sand beside the road. It was so beautiful, yet so simple. As he continued to stare at the desert plant, he couldn't help but think of Cailin, so sweet and beautiful in her own way. He remembered how they had almost kissed at the restaurant, wishing they hadn't been interrupted since it appeared that had been his only chance...
Mike sighed with concern as he looked down on John when he didn't respond. "Hey, come on, look at me," he said, carefully turning his face toward him. He was alarmed to see that his eyes were exhausted and distant, struggling to stay open. He was instantly very nervous, remembering that it was possible for a snakebite victim to go into shock due to the pain from the venom... "John, hang on. Stay with me. We're almost there, okay?"
"... Mike..." That was all John could say before his eyes slowly closed.
His anxiety spiking, Mike immediately put his arm under John's back, carefully lifting his upper body so he could pick him up into his arms. "No, I'm not letting you die," he told him, not sure if he could hear him or not. "Not when we're this close..."
Suddenly, a bright light hit him in the face, and Mike raised his other hand to cover his eyes so he wouldn't go blind. The first thought that ran through his mind was the confrontation they had with Damien's gang earlier that day. He remembered how they usually patrolled the area at night. If anything could make the situation worse, it was this.
That had been the last voice he had been expecting to hear, and he had never been happier to hear it. Mike lowered his hand, squinting as he tried to look past what he now realized was a flashlight beam. "Izzy!" he called, waving to her. "Izzy!"
The light was lowered from his face as it got closer, and Izzy knelt down next to him, throwing her arms around him in a quick hug before she turned her attention to John. "What happened?" she asked anxiously.
Mike looked back at her, shocked by the hug. But his best friend's life was more important than trying to figure out her actions and how she had even found them. "There was a snake..." he began.
Izzy's eyes widened with fear before looking over her shoulder at the two other flashlight beams. "Ben!" she shouted. "Hurry!"
Everything was pretty much a blur to Mike as he watched Izzy's older brother join them, Cailin right behind him. When she saw John, she bit her lip with clear worry.
"Snakebite," Izzy told Ben quietly as he checked for John's vitals.
"Okay..." Ben carefully lifted John's arm to check on the swollen area. "Cailin, Capri's at our house next to the medical center. Go to her and tell her to prepare the anitvenom."
Cailin finally tore her eyes away from John's pale face and nodded to Ben before running in the direction of the town. The older man then picked up John into his arms and followed after her, ensuring that the affected area wasn't moved as much as possible. Mike remained kneeling on the ground, staring after them in shock. He still couldn't believe any of this had happened, but at the same time, he felt relief that help had arrived...
He was brought out of his thoughts when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder, and he looked over at Izzy, seeing her concern. "Come on," she muttered. "Let's go check on John."
Mike nodded with a fresh sense of determination as he got to his feet with Izzy next to him, and together, they ran down the road toward River Springs. "Where is the medical center?" he asked once the wooden buildings came into sight.
"Not far," Izzy answered, leading the way through the dusty streets. "It's closer to the desert for this reason..."
She led Mike to a larger building, holding the door open for him before beginning to walk down the hall past a few wooden doors. Mike walked behind her, wondering which room John was in.
Then, a door at the end of the hall opened, and a woman with blonde hair tied messily behind her head and a pale tint to her face walked out, her eyes cast downward as she came in their direction. She appeared to be shaken up.
"Capri," Izzy said, rushing over to her. "Is John in there? How is he?"
The woman gave her a small smile, her gaze saddening when an anxious Mike joined them. "Yeah, he's in there," Capri replied quietly. "It's too early to say, but personally, I think he may pull through. There isn't too much to do now except to make him comfortable."
Mike wasn't going to accept that answer. He walked past the two girls to the door Capri had left, opening it and stepping into the room. His gaze faltered at the sight.
John was lying in a bed on the far wall, appearing to be resting a bit more peacefully, though his face was still very pale. Ben was sitting in a chair beside him, tending to the bite on his arm, while Cailin stood by a counter, wetting a cloth under warm water from the sink. She looked up when she heard the door open, giving him a sad smile.
"Is he going to be okay?" Mike asked hesitantly.
Ben sighed as he turned to look at him over his shoulder. "The antivenom's been applied," he answered. "All we can really do now is wait and see. If he makes it through the night without any major complications, he'll be fine, but there's no saying for sure. Snake venom can react differently from person to person. Don't worry. Cailin and I will be here all night, keeping our eyes on him."
"Okay..." Mike felt a bit better by hearing Ben's confidence, but he had noticed that he really hadn't given him a definite answer. He moved his eyes to Cailin when she placed her hand on his shoulder.
"We'll do everything we can," she told him quietly, strength in her tone.
After a moment, Mike returned the smile. "Thank you, Cailin."
"Now, it'll be a bit easier for us to work if we had no one else here," Ben told him kindly. "If you could please step out... We'll keep you updated on any changes in his condition."
His first instinct was to argue with him, to stay with his friend since it was his fault that he was in this situation. But, Mike knew that it would be in John's best interest, so he reluctantly nodded and left the room.
Mike sighed as he stepped out into the hallway, seeing that Izzy and Capri were gone as he leaned his head against the wall and closed his eyes. Had they gotten John back to the town in time for them to save his life? He wasn't sure, and that uncertainty was tearing him apart. He heard a door open from the other end of the hall, but he ignored it. They wouldn't have even gone out into the desert if it hadn't been for his impatience to find a way out, and now, his best friend was paying the price for that mistake...
At the sound of the quiet voice, Mike slowly raised his head and looked up, watching as Izzy hesitantly came up to him. "Hey," he muttered, turning to completely face her.
Izzy sighed, her sorrow-filled gaze shifting around before landing on his face. "Look, I'm really sorry about John," she said. "But Ben is an excellent doctor. He's in good hands. I usually help him out since I'm entering the medical profession myself, but we figured someone should keep an eye on you, so Cailin's taking over for me..."
Mike gave her a slight smile. "Thanks, Izzy, but..." He sighed, worry replacing his smile as he gently grabbed her upper arms. "Izzy, I want you to answer me honestly. I believe you about your brother, but... Did we get John here in time? Will he be okay?"
"Well..." Izzy looked up at Mike nervously, unsure of how to answer his question. She wanted to tell him that yes, without a doubt, John would be all right. But there were various factors involved, so she knew it wouldn't be fair to do that... "It depends on the size of the snake, the kind of snake, the length of time since the bite, how it was treated..."
"What does the size of the snake have to do with anything?" Mike asked.
Izzy sighed. "The younger a snake is, which is determined by its length, the less they control the venom used in a bite," she explained. "Do you know about how big it was?"
"Not too big..." Mike muttered as he tried to remember. "It was dark and happened so fast... I'd say no more than a foot and a half." His nerves spiked when he saw Izzy bite her lip. "That's bad, isn't it?"
"Not the worst, but it is dangerous," Izzy said. "And I don't think you would know what type it was..."
Mike rolled his eyes. "It was a snake. A fucking rattlesnake," he told her. "That's all I know." He sighed, covering his eyes with his hand when he realized he wasn't being much help. "Oh, God... John's going to die, isn't he?"
Izzy sighed as she reached forward and placed her hand gently on his arm. "You don't know that for sure," she tried to assure him. "As long as the antivenom was applied, he should be fine..."
"See, what I heard was the word should." Mike lowered his hand to look at her. "What if it's not enough or not in time?"
"I think you know the answer to that," Izzy murmured, not wanting to voice aloud what would happen. "But John wasn't quite in shock when he got here, which is a good thing. I think he'll make it." When Mike didn't say anything, she sighed. "But what were you thinking, going out in the desert at night when you have absolutely no idea where you are?"
Mike suddenly looked up at her, anger flaring in his eyes. Izzy gasped and took a small step back. She had asked the question out of concern, but clearly, he hadn't taken it that way. "I know the decision was a stupid one," he told her. "Believe me, I do. I'm the one who had to watch my best friend get bitten by a damn snake and suffer with it!"
Izzy then got her confidence back. "Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you left!" she replied with just as much intensity. "If you had... John probably wouldn't be in this situation!" She hated dragging the hurt man into the discussion, but it had just slipped out.
"You know what I don't get, Izzy? Why do you hate me so much?" Mike snapped angrily. "What did I ever do to you?"
A thin line of tears appeared in Izzy's eyes as she looked back at Mike's fierce gaze. Could she tell him the real reason? Before she could question it, she cried, "You made me love you!"
Mike's eyes widened with shock. That had been the last thing he had expected to hear. Before he could try to think of a response, Izzy turned and walked away from him, pushing the door of the medical center open and allowing it to slam behind her as she stepped out into the night. He stared after her, wondering if he had heard her correctly. "You made me love you!" That was what she had said... He couldn't believe it.
But what he couldn't believe more was the thought that was now on his mind. He also knew that he couldn't deny it anymore, regardless of how he had tried to convince himself otherwise...
Sighing, Mike hurried in the direction Izzy had gone. He knew that he had upset her, but he certainly hadn't meant to. She only cared about both him and John. He couldn't believe he had snapped at her for that. She certainly hadn't deserved it...
When he opened the door and stepped outside, Mike saw that Izzy was sitting at the edge of the porch, her knees pulled up to her chest as she drew shapes in the sand with a stick. Even though her back was to him, he could tell by the way her shoulders were shaking that she was silently crying.
She flinched at the sound of his voice, but she didn't say a word.
Mike sighed, slowly walking forward and sitting beside her. Izzy turned away from him a little, but otherwise didn't move from her spot. Not exactly sure how to proceed, he sighed as he looked down at his hands.
"Listen, Izzy," Mike muttered, moving his gaze to the road that stretched in front of them. "I know I can be an asshole sometimes... Okay, more than sometimes. But ever since I accidentally put you in that chokehold when we first met... You've kept me on my toes too. I can honestly say you're the first girl I've met that has been able to drive me crazy. Aside from all our bickering, aside from all the times I pick on you... I do care about you. A lot. And..." He paused, unsure of how to say the last part.
When he didn't say anything else for a long moment that continued to drag on, Izzy slowly looked up at him, wiping the tears from her eyes. "And what?" she asked.
Sighing, Mike looked back at her, meeting her gaze. "And you made me love you too," he answered quietly, a small smile on appearing on his face.
Izzy looked back at him in disbelief, able to see the sincerity of the statement in his eyes. Then, the words slowly sank in, and she covered her face as more tears began to fall. Mike leaned over, wrapping his arms around her securely as he pulled her close to him.
"Hey, it's okay," he said with a laugh. "I thought saying 'I love you' was a good thing."
"I... I know..." Izzy muttered between her tears, wrapping her arms tightly around him and burying her face in his chest as she tried to stop crying. "But... I didn't think you felt the same..."
Mike placed his chin on top of her head. "Well, I do," he told her. "Get used to it, because that's the way it is."
Izzy laughed a little herself, wiping her tears away and loving the secure feeling of his arms around her. Mike then tilted her face up toward him, wiping away the stray tears that still lingered on her cheeks with his thumb before leaning forward and placing a soft kiss on her lips.
Though it was a quick kiss, Izzy smiled broadly as she kissed him a second time before laying her head on his shoulder and taking his hand in hers. It hadn't been easy to admit that she had fallen in love with him, especially to herself. But now that she knew he felt the same, it had been one of the best things that had ever happened to her.
Mike sighed as he held Izzy close, resting his cheek on her hair. He truly did love her, and a great weight seemed to have been lifted from his shoulders now that she knew. And though he was still incredibly worried about John, he knew that waiting for any news, regardless of what it would be, would be more bearable with her.
Cailin sighed as she turned off the lights in the room so that it would be easier for John to sleep. His body was still fighting against the effects of the venom, a battle that was noticeably taking its toll, and she wanted to help out as much as she could. The moonlight coming in through the window provided a gentle light, and it was enough where she could still keep her eye on him where it wouldn't bother him.
She sat down in the chair beside the bed that had long been occupied by Ben, who had gone home for a short time to check on Capri since she hadn't been feeling well. She looked down at John, noticing that he appeared to be resting more peacefully than when he had arrived, which was encouraging to her.
Cailin leaned forward and delicately brushed away some stray hair that had fallen into his face, hoping not to disturb him as she couldn't suppress a yawn. She had been nearly asleep when Izzy came to her door to tell her that Mike and John were missing, and she had entered the desert after going through the entire town to search for them. What they had been doing out there, she didn't know, but she was just relieved that they had gotten them back in time.
Then, Cailin gasped quietly when she thought she saw him move a little. "John?" she asked in nearly a whisper, leaning forward. She wasn't sure if he had truly moved or if she was just tired, but she wished that Ben would come back in case he was in more pain or needed something. Just in case, Cailin took his hand in hers and gave it a slight squeeze.
"It's okay," she told him, unsure if he could hear her. "You're not alone. Are you feeling any worse?"
Cailin waited for a moment, watching for any more movement or any sign that he had heard her. She sighed when there was nothing, slowly leaning back in the chair as she started to release his hand.
But then, she paused when she thought she felt John squeeze her hand ever so slightly, but it had been so weak that she barely felt it. Her eyes moved back to his face, wondering if he actually was starting to become more aware. But his eyes were still closed, his expression reflecting that of a boy in a peaceful sleep.
A small smile appeared on Cailin's face as she gently set John's hand back down and ran her fingers lightly over his cheek before she leaned back in her chair, sighing and closing her eyes. Never had she wished more that morning would come.
Ben quietly opened the door of the room in the medical center where his newest patient was, relieved that Capri had finally fallen asleep. Her stomach had been bothering her for the past few days, and on top of working hard, she had been completely worn out. Sleep was something that she desperately needed, and he was glad she was getting it.
But when he saw the sight before him in the moonlight, he couldn't help but smile.
John was the same as he had left him, but Cailin was now leaning forward on the bed, her head resting on her arms. She was sound asleep.
Laughing quietly to himself, Ben approached the bed, checking on John's vitals. Finding no drastic difference, he grabbed an extra blanket from the shelf and covered Cailin with it, making sure that she was at least as comfortable as she could be.
"Good night," he muttered, his smile lingering.
Then, Ben sighed as he looked down on the sleeping pair. If John had lasted this long, he had a good chance of pulling through. But as he pulled up another chair and started to look through that day's edition of the newspaper, he knew it was still going to be a long night.
Author's Note: Hehe, I love both of these pairings! As said on my Twitter, the song for Mike and Izzy is "You Found Me" by The Fray, and the song for John and Cailin is "Run to You" by Bryan Adams. Hope you liked it!!! Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!