A/N: So...funny story. I was at the beach the other day and my mom's friend was all, "Yeah, this one chick got hit in the thigh with a firework and it hit an artery and she was bleeding out." and all I heard was
firework and bleeding out. Instantly, my RP ideas were like, WHOA, ALTERNATE ENDING GUYYSSS! Except in this one, it has the same sort of ending, it sticks with the episodic arc and all. But it just has some necessary Evan whump. Anyways, guys, tell me how you feel about this! Oh, and major thanks to my always eccentric, always EXCELLENT Mrs-N-Uzumaki or S-Boogie. She is the best friend you want when you're feeling doubtful of yourself and the one that finds humor in any situation. Okay I'll stop gushing!
The thing is, Hank never fully expects his brother to be okay.
Evan is a little loose, a little too easygoing sometimes. Like he's so stupidly careless with his own life even though it should be the other way around. Because, for Hank, the grand scheme of it all is that life doesn't always seem to matter so much when you're right in the heart of it, trying to keep it from escaping someone on the table.
Evan worries Hank, sometimes. (All the time).
He's not thinking about Evan at all, watching the fireworks with Jill. He's thinking about what a night this has turned out to be, how Jill's smile seems more radiant and how even some of the richest Hamptons socialites could be something more than fast cars and expensive lunches at the country club.
But then there's a resounding boom and the ground shakes beneath Hank's feet and the first thing, the only thing that pops in his mind, is Evan. Evan can be smart and attentive when he wants to be. He can even be someone that Hank finds himself in awe of, at those rare moments. But when things like this happen, Evan morphs from a Brooklyn accountant-turned-CFO to this fragile being, his brother, that is all soft edges and small smiles and so capable of breaking that it's impossible not to want to keep him away from the sharp corners.
"EVAN!" Hank shouts, running into the chaos.
Jill is on his heels, yelling something about people being hurt and Hank knows, Doctor Hank Lawson, anyway, that he has to attend to them. But he can't. Not yet. Evan's out there. Evan's in that fray of designer dresses and manicured feet pounding the equally well-manicured lawn to get away. Evan needs his help.
"EVAN LAWSON!" he shouts again, aware of how timid his voice is compared to the noise encircling him. He ducks around people; dodging glances, running forward with no exact location in mind. He's pretty sure he lost Jill a few feet back, after some well-known philanthropist clutched his stomach. But he'll worry about that when he can actually feel again.
Hank isn't exactly sure how long he runs himself ragged, shouting his brother's name, until he sees a strange commotion off to his left, nearly lost in his peripheral vision. A blonde woman with a torn dress is fluttering over someone while a much younger girl, most likely a child, is hanging onto her arm.
And then Hank's heart plummets to his feet.
Because, that man, that man clutching his thigh, screaming, is Evan. And for a moment he literally stands there, lost in the fact that he nearly overlooked his brother, who he's been searching for this entire time. How could he have missed the raw sound of his brother's pain?
And then suddenly his legs are pumping and he's dropping to his knees and effectively shoving the concerned woman out of the way. She doesn't seem to mind though, as she shouts in his ear,
"Kid got hit by a firework," she yells. "I think it hit his femoral artery."
Hank doesn't bother correcting her that this kid is his brother and how in the hell does someone get hit by a firework and how does some rich Hamptons woman know anything about femoral arteries?
"I'm a doctor." she says, noticing the look on his face.
Hank just nods, accepting this and then looking at Evan. His brother's eyes are squeezed shut in pain and he's gripping his thigh with both hands and even before he yells out in pain, Hank knows he's going to.
"Evan?" Hank shouts, putting a hand on his shoulder. It's not like the most important thing in the world for Evan to open his eyes, except that, yeah, it kinda is. Hank needs to look into his brother's eyes for confirmation. If he can just see what's being portrayed in those cerulean blue orbs, then he can dive into this, full force.
Evan's eyes twitch, like they physically hurt to open, and maybe they do. Little by little, they finally do. He stares at Hank for a full ten seconds before mumbling, "Hank…?" and his voice. It's all soft and hopeful and Hank instantly feels guilt curdle in his stomach for doing this in the first place. Because, duh. Put the equation up on a board and see the end result: Hank didn't want Evan to bring in new inventions for HankMed, Evan wanted to, Hank resigned and Evan was left alone. Hank – Evan = Evan hurt and vulnerable and Hank battling guilt and regret and desperation, things that want to claim him, but he can't let them, because he needs to save his brother. His brother, who is bleeding out on the grass right now and he's not doing a goddamn thing.
Then, he jolts to awareness and takes off his belt, pushing Evan's hands away and tightening it around the wound. Evan howls and the blonde doctor takes one of his hands, even though Hank never asked.
Somewhere amidst all the flurrying hands, quick movements and whispered medical directions, Evan clutches Hank's sleeve. It's a small, weak movement – barely noticeable. But Hank notices and looks down at his brother who is just panting and blinking. He's not even saying anything, not even trying to and still Hank knows.
"You're going to be fine," he promises hastily, wanting and not wanting to deal with this right now.
Evan just looks up at him like he really doubts it and Hank can't right now – he just can't. Because it's not just about Evan bleeding onto the ground, more like how the ground and the blood wouldn't even be here if they had just stayed put. But they hadn't and now here he is and so is the blood and Evan, beautifully broken.
Jill is suddenly by his side and saying things like "paramedics" and "hold on" and he thinks how it's almost unfair that he's getting all the encouragement for just holding his brother together.
Then the paramedics swoop in with their bags and their questions and the taller one is asking, "Sir? Sir, can you tell us the extent of his injuries?"
Hank just wants to ask, "Which ones?"
Hank doesn't know how many hours pass before he gets to see his brother. The only things he knows are that of the two hundred plus people attending the celebration, only five Hamptons residents were seriously injured and a random smattering escaped with cuts and bruises. He also knows that the fireworks were handled by someone that didn't have a license and that they're somewhere in the local jail. He knows that Jill's been floating in and out, carrying coffee cups and snacks and speaking in soft tones.
Above all, Hank knows that Evan will be okay.
Except that yeah, that's a total, complete and utter lie.
Hank doesn't know that. He knows that medically, Evan will most likely be fine. He knows that physically, he'll heal within a couple weeks. But he wonders about all the other variables. He wonders if Evan will want to talk to him. He wonders what he will say.
Guess there's his answer.
"Please," Hank says faintly, rising from the chair. "Call me Hank."
Evan is awake when Hank tentatively steps in the room.
What's damaged on Evan is covered. Mostly. Beside the leg, he has a small bruise forming on his forehead from smacking it so roughly during the explosion. His legs are draped in the hospital-issued blanket and he looks alert when Hank walks in.
For a moment, Hank just stands in the doorway and Evan stares back.
Hank clears his throat and says, "Hey," feeling a sort of half-smile stretch across his face at the sight of his brother.
Hank slides further into the room, letting the door click shut behind him. He finds a chair, settles down and asks, "How are you feeling?"
Evan forces a chuckle, eyes shutting with the weight of the day. "Like I got hit with a firework."
Hank chuckles, too. "Well…technically you did." His eyes then cloud over with concern. "But…you're okay?" he doesn't exactly know how to ask, other than blatantly.
Evan's eyebrow lifts in amusement at Hank, like he's wondering why his brother would be so concerned with his well-being in the state they've been in. "Yeah…I mean…it hurts really badly whenever I breathe…or move…but I'm okay…" his voice lingers on the word okay, like he's not exactly sure he knows what that means.
"Okay." Hank nods. There's a moment when he thinks, is that it? He watches his brother bleed out at a party that ends in destruction and all he gets from it is…okay? But what tumbles unbidden, is, "I'm really glad you're… okay." Because really glad is about as good as he can expand on it.
And then Evan looks like he's about to say something, but Hank cuts him off.
"Because I thought…when I saw the explosion…" he shakes his head. "I just…" he looks down at his shoes, almost embarrassed at his lack of proper words. There's practically a tsunami of things he can say, and they are just sitting there, waiting patiently on the tip of his tongue and there is absolutely no way Hank can do them justice. He just doesn't have the strength.
"You know," Evan says in that voice like everything is carefree and normal again. "Right when I was about to close up the HankMed booth, I was holding all these temporary tattoos…"
Hank looks amused.
"But when I got knocked back, they flew out of my hand." Evan looks playful. "Can you imagine? My face, covered in tattoos?"
Hank allows himself a real laugh. "I've seen worse before."
"It would have been a travesty, that happening to my face." Evan continues.
"It would have been temporary." Hank conceded.
"Beauty is fleeting, Hank."
Something settles in Hank, then. The way the somber statement brings him stumbling back down to earth. Like he and Evan would actually solve all of this. "Anyway…" he clears his throat. "I'm…uh…"
The corner of Evan's mouth twitches. "Hank," he says gently, like he knows. Which, yeah, he probably does. Evan may act like a child but he knows more than he lets on. "Thanks."
Hank looks up again, at the face that he's seen throughout his entire life and only now is he looking at it, regarding it, in the way that it really is: expressive and open and sincere and maybe a little bit of something else that's hidden. "You're welcome." He thinks he says. Or maybe he doesn't. The words are so faint he barely hears them.
What's relieving is that neither brother mentions the fact that they've both been dodging each other, dancing around in their normal routines so they won't have to come face-to-face in the kitchen or bump into each other on the estate. It's relieving because all of that has been put on pause, like it doesn't matter right now. Hank actually feels like he can laugh, finally and doesn't miss the way Evan's eyes light up.
It's not an apology. There are no white flags of surrender, no declarations of putting HankMed back together again.
There's something there.
There's a slight fissure in the structure they've crafted. Like maybe there can be some relief. Maybe their irreparable bond really is irreparable.
Maybe there is hope.