Josh waited with his family for what seemed like a lifetime. He watched with empty eyes as people came and went, voices filling the room without solid words. He didnt care about any of them, what had happened or if they would be okay, he only cared about Drake. Deep down, he knew that this was wrong, but right and wrong meant nothing to him as he waited.
He read Drake's note so many times that he had it memorized, every word of it hitting him hard. He was ashamed of himself, for not seeing just how much Drake had been hurting all this time. Everytime he closed his eyes he saw that gash in Drake's wrist, could still feel his blood on his hands. There had been so many cuts there... How could none of them have noticed? How could he have not suspected more?
drake lied, sure, but Josh had always seen into those lies, had always known more. The one time Drake had really needed him, he had ignored the signs and turned away from Drake. In his effort to be angry, all he'd done was hurt Drake more.
Whoever had done this had threatened to hurt them, and thats why Drake had suffered in silence so long. There had been so many bruises on his chest, so much pain. If he would have just listened from the start, if he would have taken Drake more seriously, then this wouldnt have happened.
Josh watched the doctor stop to talk to the receptionist, watched her braceleted hand point in their direction and suddenly, everything around him became real again. His fingers twitched as the doctor tiredly made his way over to them, his deep eyes on his parents.
They were all on their feet in secounds, ready to question the doctor. Audrey and Walter stepped forward, afraid of the grim look on the doctor's face.
"Drake?" Audrey asked on a trembaling breath, her hands squeezing Walter's fiercly.
"Your son is alive." He assured them. "However, he is very badly hurt. One of his ribs was fractured, and there are countless bruises and swelling over his chest and back. He wouldnt tell me who did that to him, but whoever it was might have killed him if it went on any longer." The Doctor stared at Audrey and Walter, looking for any signs that they had hurt the boy. He'd seen parents hurt their children before, and it was his job to make sure. He shook his head, he knew the signs of abusive parents, and they werent present now.
"Can we see him?" Audrey was desperate. Drake was alive, and for that she was thankful, but she needed to see him breathing, to know for sure.
"Your son tried to kill himself." The doctor said blatently. "Now I dont know whats been going on to push him so far, but judging by what I saw, someones been very rough with him." He was trying to be kind, for the sake of the other children present, but he needed to stress the dire situation at hand. "Its evident that this wasnt his first go at self injury, and it may not be the last. I heavily suggest that you try to get him to open up to you, or get him professional help."
Audrey shook her head, fresh tears falling from her eyes. She'd been trying to deny that Drake had attempted suicide, to hold onto the side of him that she knew was stronger then that. Hearing the Doctor say it out loud shattered that memory, made it all too real for her.
"Id like to see my son now." She was trying to be strong, despite the way she felt. She wanted to break down, to make the doctor tell her why this had happened, even if he didnt know. She held herself together, not for the doctor, but for Josh and Meghan.
The doctor nodded, leading them through the hallways into a small room. They waited outside that door, dreading what they might find inside. They had all seen Drake before the ambulence had taken him, bruised, bleeding. Those long moments that had passed as the paramedics fought to restart his heart. They had come so close to loosing him.
"He's had a rough night." The doctor warned. "Dont stress him out."
They each nodded, slowly entering the room.
Drake looked up as his family entered the room, instantly lowering his gaze in an attempt to hide his face. He was ashamed of himself, of what he had put them through. He wanted to die, had been so close to finally being away from all of it. He knew that they didnt understand, that they were probably angry with him for what he had done. He was ready for that anger.
He was suprised when Audrey pulled him into her arms, sighing heaily as she hid her tears in his hair. She held him tightly, but was careful not to squeeze his chest.
"I was worried I'd loose you." She whispered.
"I'm sorry." Drake replied softly. He wasnt sorry for what he had done, but for how it had hurt her.
Audrey pulled away from drake, truly looking at him for the first time in what felt like forever. There was a nasty bruise on the side of his face, and his lip was split again. She could see some of the bruises on his chest through the top of the loose hospitle gown. She reached down for his hand, trying to avoid the thick bandaging on his wrist. She wasnt ready to see that, to accept what it meant.
"Im so sorry Drake." She said, looking into his brown eyes, seeing the hurt that had been there all this time. "I should have listened more, should have done anything-"
"Stop." Drake said, voice quiet but sharp. "Its not your fault. I lied to you, you should be angry."
Audrey shook her head. "Anger is what led you to this." She guestered to the hospitle room.
"I wanted to die." Drake said simply, letting the words hit her, hit all of them. "Why couldnt you just let me go?"
Audrey stared at him, shocked. she didnt know what to say as she looked into his eyes, saw the tension and honesty in his face. She shook her head, letting the tears fall as she gripped his hand tightly. "You're stronger then that." She whispered. "I know you are."
"I'm not." Drake whispered. "I wish you'd have let me die, i want this pain to stop."
Audrey let her features harden. She wasnt going to let him die, and she didnt want him to think about it any more. "We know whats been happening Drake, and we're going to help you through it."
"You cant." Drake turned away from her. "No one can."
Hesitantly, Audrey stood up and walked toward Walter, needing support. She didnt know how to handle Drake's negativity and she was afraid of upsetting him. He was so fragile now, anything might set him off.
Sencing Audrey's distress, Walter wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulder and lead her out of the room. He knew that she wanted to cry, that she was trying to hold it in for their son's sake. Once they were outside, she fell completly into Walter's arms, burying her head in his shoulder and she cried.
"I dont know what to do..." She managed between sobs.
"I know." Walter replied gently as he ran his hand through her hair. "I dont either."
"There's so much pain in him, on him..." She exclaimed, remembering every bruise she'd seen. "Are we bad parents for not seeing it sooner?"
Walter shook his head, his own tears falling. "Drake's always been good at lying," He didnt want to sound cruel, not now. "He knew how to hide it. It's not your fault."
Audrey shook her head, unable to belive Walter's words. She felt like a terrible parent. All this time, he'd been suffering while she'd been getting upset. She'd been so quick to assume that he was being rebelious that she hadnt tried to see what was really happening.
Meghan walked up to Drake, part of her was still so worried, afraid of how close he'd come to dying. The rest of her was upset at how determined he was to give up. "You're not alone anymore." She said sternly. "we can get the guy who did this, make him suffer." Her eyes gleamed with tears and intent. She was determined to hurt whoever was responsible.
Drake sighed heavily, trying not to let his frustration show. He didnt want his family anywhere near Cody. He was fully aware that Meghan could take care of herself in almost any situation, but Cody was more a monster then she could ever be.
"You cant beat him." Drake said.
"that sounds like a challenge." She replied, determined.
Drake glared at her, his fists clenching. "Just stay away from him!" He growled. "I'm not worth you getting hurt over."
Meghan starred at him, taken back by how harsh his words were. She took a hesitant step back, trying to keep her tears from showing. "You're worth it to me." She whispered.
Drake shook his head, unwilling to voice his opinion any further. He knew that Meghan wouldnt understand, she was stubburn, like he was. Drake watched her step away, saw her fighting with the tears in her eyes and he felt his heart sink. He hadnt meant to be so harsh, but he didnt want her to get hurt. He couldnt protect himself, but he was determined to protect her.
Josh stared at Drake, unsure of who he was looking at. Drake would never raise his voice at Meghan, there were always consequences. But he was noticing a lot of changes in Drake right now, from the way he talked to the distant look in his eyes. It wasnt like him, wasnt him. Josh remembered every word of Drake's suicide note, heard them repeating in his head. So much honesty... It hurt to see the raw honesty Drake was exhibiting.
He just wanted his brother back, the way he used to be. He'd do anything just to see Drake smile, even if it was fake. Seeing Drake die for those few secounds had shaken him up, made everything so much more real. Josh knew that the extent of Drake's pain wasnt evident in the bruises on his skin, or just the loss the self esteem he'd gained. It was deeper, hidden behind the lies he was still holding onto to protect himself.
Josh waited until meghan left the room to approach Drake, holding up the note he'd left them. he hadnt shown it to anyone else yet. "I read your note." He said softly.
drake looked at the paper with wide eyes. He could barly remember what he had written, but he knew that he had said enough. "So?" His voice shook.
"You said that you were sorry for the lies, that you didnt want to lie anymore. You dont have to lie Drake, I'm right here, and if you dont want to trust anyone else, then trust me." Josh was all but begging.
Drake bit his lip to hold back his tears, focusing on the pain. "It's not that easy."
"Yes it is." Josh argued, trying to stay calm. "do you know how hard it was to watch you try to kill yourself? To see you die and have nothing but hope as the paramedics brought you back?"
"I died?" Drake said almost too sodtly to hear.
"Yes!" Josh exclaimed. "It was the worst thing I'd ever seen. I've never felt so useless, so powerless in my life. I was terrorfied."
"I'm sorry that I hurt you." Drake replied mechanically.
"If you're really sorry, then let me help you." Josh pleaded. "I cant take away all of your pain, but I can help keep it from happening again. Just tell me who did this."
Drake felt his heart beating as Josh's words sank in. He'd do anything to make the pain stop, but if cody found out he told, then he wouldnt be the only one hurt. He couldnt see anyone else hurt because of him, he wished that they would understand that.
"I cant Josh, please belive me that I cant." It was Drake's turn to beg.
Josh cast his eyes to the floor, squeezing the paper in his hands. "You can." He said softly. "You have all the strength you need to fight this burried deep inside of yourself. I dont know what he did you make you loose sight of that."
Drake stared at the bandaging around his wrist, remembering every hit, every word that had led him here. He could barly remember the person he'd been before all of it. Couldnt fathom the strength that everyone still tried to see in him.
"Please," Drake begged. "Just leave me alone."
"No." Josh put his foot down. "Not until you let me help you."
"drake, I believed you when you said you were sorry. I'm sorry i was so hard on you while all of this was happening. I didnt let go of my anger, I hurt you. I want to help you know. Please."
"Go away!" Drake yelled, his entire body shaking. He couldnt handle this, not now. He needed to be alone.
Josh shook his head, whiping the tears from his eyes as he turned toward the door. He bit back the words he wanted to say, knowing that Drake didnt want to listen, and he left the room.
The doctor was standing outside with his parents, talking about the injuries Drake had recieved and the best ways to help him heal. Once Josh was outside the room, Audrey asked the doctor when they could take Drake home.
"I'd like to keep him overnight for observation." the doctor replied. "I want to make sure that he's okay, and that he doesnt try to hurt himself again."
Audrey nodded, understanding what he ment. They didnt want Drake to try and kill himself again, and the doctor didnt trust them to be there to save him if it happened again. She swallowed her anger at the unspoken accusation, nodding her head.
Audrey and Walter thanked the doctor befor ushering Josh and Meghan out to the car. They'd had an emotionally exhausting night, and they, as well as drake, needed rest. Tomorrow they'd be back, and if the doctor permitted it, they would take drake home, and they would do everything possible to get him through this.
Once he was alone, Drake let himself cry. It'd been so hard to be so cruel to them, knowing what he'd put them through. They were all so worried, so hurt, and it was all his fault. Every one of them wanted to know about Cody, to find him and stop him. But he couldnt be stopped, it couldnt be that easy.
Drake let his mind wander to earlier that night, how close he had come to finally being free from his personal hell. He couldnt remember what he'd written in his suicide note, almost everything was a blur to him. He was sure the pain killers he'd been given had something to do with his unstable memory. He lost rtack after he'd swallowed the pills and cut his wrist. The last thing he remembered seeing was Josh, that look of fear and horror on his face. He'd seen Josh's mouth move, heard the rising pitch of his voice, but most of the words were lost to him.
Josh had said that he needed him, but Drake found that hard to belive. Josh was strong, and he was better off without him. He would onlt hold him back, drag him down into trouble and hurt. Josh had said he was sorry, and Drake could still hear the desperation in his words. It had been surreal to hear all of Josh's emotions pour out, so raw and unhindered. He didnt want to remember everything that Josh had said, because he didnt want to think about how much he'd hurt Josh.
Drake layed down, feeling the pressure of his fractured rib as he tried to take deep breaths. He needed to breath, even if he didnt want to. The courage he'd had when he'd slit his wrist was gone from him now and he was sure that he wouldnt be able to find it again. It had taken so much to reach that breaking point. How much more would it take to get there again?
He shuddered as he thought about Cody, what he would do to him when he found out about what had happened. He'd be furious, he'd laugh. Cody was expecting to see him tomorrow, and when he didnt show up, that hurtful anger would grow. He'd almost killed him tonight, and Drake was sure that the next time Cody had him, he wouldnt be so kind.