Max sat next to the hospital bed, his head bowed. He rarely left the hospital now, preferring to keep vigil over Dani. His parents were worried about him spending so much time alone at the hospital. They didn't realize he was rarely alone. They knew Allison had visited the hospital the previous weekend and was planning on coming back the following weekend, even though she and Max had broken up several years ago.
Dani had someone else keeping vigil over her, though. Max raised his head then to meet his eyes.
"You warned me before, and I thought I listened and learned that lesson. But…" Max shook his head and dropped it in his hands. "I never realized just how much it would hurt, the idea of losing her."
"She's a fighter, Max. Always has been. Don't assume she won't make it." Max felt tears roll down his cheeks, hoping she would pull through while a part of him was certain she wouldn't. Prayed that she wouldn't.
Binx watched Max as he slept, before looking at Dani again. She had grown so much over the years, yet hadn't changed in appearance very much. He still thought she was beautiful, even now as she lay battered and bruised in the hospital bed. Every day since that fateful Halloween, he kept his promise and had watched over her. He was riddled with guilt at not being able to prevent the car accident or to protect Dani. The only comfort he felt was in the fact that she purposely steered the car so that she took the worst of the hit, instead of her passengers. She made that decision herself, and it was one that the police said saved the passenger's lives. Naturally, the drunk driver walked away from the accident while Dani was left in a coma. It was uncertain if she'd ever wake up and, even if she did, if she'd ever be the same. Binx stepped closer to Dani, gently touching his fingers to her bruised cheek.
"Stop thy guilt, Thackery. Thou could not prevent these events from unfolding."
Binx closed his eyes at the familiar voice, pained at her words. "I failed to save you, and now I might have failed to save Dani." He turned and looked at his sister. "What good was any of what I did eight years ago, if she still might be lost?"
"Thee knows such as I that she will not be lost." Emily shifted to stand by her brother, and then glanced down at Dani. "She hadst an opportunity to live, one she would not hadst if you hadst not saveth her then. Mayhap she was not destined to live a long life." She glanced up at him, a soft smile on her face. "Withal, she saveth thee as well. They all saveth thee."
Binx moved back to the corner he occupied most of the time, his arms wrapped around him. He bowed his head in thought, not wanting to accept that Emily might be right. He would trade all eternity for Dani to live a full life. It pained him sometimes, seeing her live a life he never had a chance to, but he had also been happy and proud that she took full advantage of life and experienced all she could. It was a promise she had made to herself to help her deal with him moving on, that she would live life to the fullest for the both of them. Every day after that, she worked to fulfill that in some way or another.
He heard Max stir and he looked up, realizing Emily had left him to his thoughts. The rising sun was slowly pouring light into the room, and for the first time Binx noticed a glimmer hovering over Dani's still form. He glanced at Max, and realized her brother either didn't see it or didn't want to see it. Binx quietly sighed, resigned to what it meant.
Dani held on for another week, and Binx stayed by her side. Max seemed to realize that she wasn't going to make it and had refused to leave the room the past few days. Over that time, the glimmer grew stronger though Binx still seemed to be the only one who saw it. Allison visited again over the weekend and, realizing Dani didn't have much time left, chose to stay in town to help Max through it. The night before she slipped away, Binx gave Max some time alone with her, to say goodbye however he needed to. He finally came back in when her parents came a short time later, after the doctor called and told them they should come say their goodbyes. While they spoke to Dani, Max made his way to the corner Binx had stationed himself in.
"You'll take care of her, won't you?" Binx glanced at Max, surprised he even had to ask. The look on his face, though, made him realize that this was the only comfort he could give Max, the only thing that would comfort Max for now.
"Of course," he said simply.
A few hours later Dani was gone. Her family was in tears and held each other. Max looked up at Binx through his tears, watching intently. Binx met his eyes, saddened for his friend. Slowly the glimmer formed a solid shape, and Dani kissed her brother on his cheek before whispering in his ear. Max closed his eyes and dropped his head, nodding slightly before breaking down. She stopped at both of her parents, though they didn't see her, before looking over at Binx and smiling. She moved towards him and gave him a huge hug.
"I knew you'd be here for me. Thank you"
"Thank you, Dani." She pulled back from the hug, confusion written on her face. Binx smiled at her and answered the unasked question.
"Thank you for living for us."