Jake and Trevor got to the hospital, where they met Tom and his family. Jared had not gone to school either. They went up to the Pediatric ICU and sat in the waiting area, while Tom and Terry went to let the staff know that they were there and wanted to come in to visit Zach. Jake sat down on one of the chairs, while Trevor and Jared sat together on a couch. The boys nervously held hands and waited until Jared's parents came back out to let them know how Zach was doing. After about twenty minutes, Tom and Terry came out. As soon as they came in sight. Jake and the boys jumped up and walked over to them with expectant looks.
"Well, guys, we have some good news and some news that is... well, not really bad, but not the best news yet."
"What, Dad? Is Zach going to be okay?"
"Yeah, Uncle Tom, will he?"
"We think so, guys, but... okay, here's the good news. Real early this morning, while Zach was sleeping, I guess he was real restless or something, and his hand kept messing with the chest tube that they have in him, so they decided to do a CT Scan of his chest. The scan showed that the damage to his lung was healed enough to remove the tube, and so they removed it and took him off the ventilator. So it looks like that problem is resolved. He is breathing on his own and his color looks good."
"Cool it, guys, this is still a hospital."
"Yeah, sorry, Uncle Tom."
"No problem; I know I wanted to do the same when I heard the news. Okay, the not so great news. He is still unconscious. They have lowered his medication, but he hasn't awakened yet."
"Can we see him, Dad?"
"Sure, Jared. Why don't you and Trevor go in now and sit with him for awhile."
Tom took them to the door and pushed the intercom button. He let the nurse who answered know who he was and the doors opened up for them. As soon as it opened, Trevor and Jared went in and headed to Zach's room. When they walked in, a nurse was just leaving Zach's room. She smiled at them as they entered the room. Jared went to Zach's right side and Trevor went to his left. They noticed that Zach had better color to his cheeks, even under the bruises and bandages. Jared leaned over and kissed his brother on the lips and then put his hand on his shoulder, lightly rubbing it. Trevor kissed him on the lips very gently, lingering a little longer. Then he pulled a stool over and sat close to the bed and held Zach's hand, looking at his face. Jared pulled a chair up and sat on the other side, and lightly stroked Zach's hair. Tears were in their eyes as they looked at him. Trevor let go of Zach's hand and then leaned over and gently laid his head on Zach's chest, looking up at his face, watching him sleep. He put his arms around Zach as much as he could and gently hugged him. Jared put his hand on Trevor's back and gently rubbed it as he closed his eyes. Trevor closed his eyes as well, which caused the tears that were there to fall onto Zach's chest. He whispered as he lay there and listened to Zach's heartbeat.
"Come on, Zach. Come on back to us. We all need you. Please hear us. Please come back to us."
Something started to happen. Jared felt Trevor's back get warmer. As the feeling continued, he opened his eyes and thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. It seemed to him that Trevor seemed to have a very slight glow around him. His mouth dropped open as the glow began to encompass Zach as well. He moved his hand away, and sat back; his mouth dropped open, shocked by what he was seeing. Trevor was still gently hugging Zach; his eyes were still closed. The glow did not get brighter but it also did not fade away, it just stayed steady. Jared looked out of the door to where the nurses and doctors walked back and forth or talked to each other while they looked in charts or the computers on the desks. They were not looking towards Zach's room. Jared was afraid to say anything to disturb Trevor. Then his mouth dropped open even more as he watched as Zach's right hand slowly raised and rested gently on the back of Trevor's head and started to stroke his hair, they both heard the faint voice.
"Love, I'm still kinda sore there. Your fat head is a little heavy."
Trevor's eyes popped open and the glow immediately disappeared. Both Trevor and Jared looked at Zach's face. His eyes were open and the swollen one didn't look so swollen anymore. Zach was looking at them with a smile on his face. They jumped up, and Trevor felt a little dizzy for a moment; he staggered a little and put his hand down on the bed to steady himself.
Trevor leaned down and put his hands on either side of Zach's head and kissed him.
"What are... ahem."
Trevor stood up quickly and blushed a bright red. The nurse who had been in the room earlier gave Trevor a sly smile as she came in. Then she noticed that Zach was awake. Her eyes opened wide and she turned toward the door.
"Dr. Haller, come quick, he's awake!"
A female doctor trotted over. She had long blond hair in a braid and her lab coat looked as if the pictures of animals and things on it had all been hand drawn. She quickly and gently moved Jared to the side as she took her stethoscope from around her neck and started looking him over, listening to his chest and peering in his eyes. Zach took this all in with a bemused look on his face. Trevor's grin threatened to split his face, as tears ran freely down his face. His grip on Zach's hand never wavered. Jared moved over to Trevor and put his arms around Trevor and looked down at his brother with tears of joy as well. No one noticed a slight glow between the clasped hands of Zach and Trevor that gently faded away after a moment. After checking him out, the doctor looked up with a smile.
"Well, boys. It looks like he's out of the woods. How do you feel, Zachary?"
"Not too bad, Doc. My arm really itches, and so does my eye. My chest kinda aches a little, but other than that, I could eat a horse."
Trevor's stomach started to growl a bit as well, which caused everyone to laugh. As soon as he did, though, Zach groaned a little.
"Hey, don't make me laugh."
"Sorry bud. I couldn't help it. As soon as my stomach heard the word food, it kinda woke up."
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Why don't you guys get your parents in here?"
"Trev, you stay. I'll go get them."
Trevor nodded and looked back at Zach when Jared left. Zach was smiling and looked more like his old self, except for the cuts, bruises and bandages. Jared quickly went out the door and to the waiting area nearby.
"Mom, Dad, come on, Zach's awake!"
"What! He's awake!"
"Yeah, he just woke up. The doctor said I should come and get you guys."
They hurried back into the PICU and into Zach's room. By the time they got in there, the back of the bed had been raised and Zach was sitting up a little, not too much, but not lying mostly flat like he had been before. There was a light in his eyes and color to his face. The bruises didn't look as bad as they had before. He smiled when his parents came into the room. Trevor reluctantly let Zach's hand go to make way for them. He moved back toward Jake and snuggled up under his arm. Jake and he looked at each other and smiled.
"Zach, oh my boy! You had us so worried. We thought we were going to lose you."
"I ain't going to let that happen; I have too many things to do with my friends. I couldn't miss that."
His and Trevor's gazes met and they smiled together for a few moments. Neither noticed the quick speculative look by Tom. He raised his eyebrow and smiled. He turned back to Zach. Terry leaned down and gave Zach a kiss, and then his father did the same.
"Well, folks, this is really great! Better than that, it's fantastic! I think I'm going to move him to a regular room. He doesn't look like he belongs here right now. Give me an hour or so and we will get him moved. Why don't you guys go down and get something to eat in the cafeteria? From the noises that I heard coming from that young man over there, it's about time to feed them before they start eating things in here."
Almost immediately Jared's stomach started making the same growly sounds.
"Yep, in my medical opinion, you need to feed them soon, or they're going to be gnawing on anything at hand."
"Okay, Doc. Do we come back here or what?"
"Yes, come back here and you can walk with him to his new room."
"Okay, and thanks again for all your help."
"These are the kind of things that we like to have happen here."
Each of the adults gave Zach a kiss on the forehead as they left. Jared hugged his brother. Trevor did as well, but he snuck a kiss onto the side of his neck, which made Zach smile and blush. They left the room with a bounce in their step. They made their way down to the main lobby, where the Seaside Café was located. They got a table and ordered. Soon enough they were enjoying their meals. The conversation revolved around how good Zach looked, and speculation about when he might be able to go home. They finished up and headed back up to the PICU. They found Zach sitting in a wheelchair with the nurse behind him, just coming out of the PICU doors. He smiled.
"Hi, guys. Come along, they're moving me to a new room."
Trevor moved to Zach's right side and put his hand on Zach's where it rested on the arm of the chair; Jared moved to the left side. Zach turned his hand up and held Trevor's hand. Tom nudged Terry; she looked at him with a question on her face. He pointed to the two boys' hands. Understanding came to her and she looked at Tom and smiled. She put her hand out and rubbed her thumb over her fingers and mouthed "Pay up". He shrugged, smiled and mouthed "Later." She smiled at him. They followed the nurse to a room in another wing of the third floor. They entered the room and saw two beds. One of them was unmade and there were some books and things on the bedside table next to it. The PICU nurse helped his new nurse get Zach settled in his bed. She then gave an update on Zach's condition to his new nurse. Zach's new nurse had short black hair and brown eyes.
"Hello, Zachary. I'm Monica, and I'll be your nurse while you're here."
"Hi, Monica. This is my Mom and Dad, Tom and Terry. That's my brother Jared. That's my Uncle Jake and the other guy is my b... best friend Trevor."
"It's nice to meet you all. I have some lunch coming up for you, Zachary, in just a moment."
"Cool, I'm hungry."
"When are you not?"
"Daaaaad. Hey, I gotta get my strength back, ya know."
"Yeah, I know, but I don't get to yank your chain too often, so I take it when I can."
In a few minutes an orderly brought Zach's lunch and he was finally able to eat. While he was eating, a boy was wheeled into the room. They all turned and looked in his direction. They saw a younger boy, who looked very pale and had a small tube running out of his nose and taped to the side of his cheek. An orderly was pushing him into the room, followed by a man and a woman; they resembled him enough that they must be his parents. The man was pushing a large IV pole with several bags hanging off of it. They made their way over to the bed, and the orderly helped the boy into the bed, then he left. They smiled over at the group of people around Zach in greeting, and then turned their attention back to the boy.
"Okay, Tim. We're going to go run some errands. We'll be back later with your brother and sister, once they get out of school."
The boy nodded his head wearily and gave them a wan smile. They each gave him a kiss goodbye and smiled at the others as they left. As soon as they were out of sight, Trevor noticed the boy seemed to breathe out, and his face screwed up in pain for a few moments as he sucked in a breath and closed his eyes. The two families looked at each other with sympathy for the boy. They went back to talking quietly among themselves while Zach ate. Trevor looked over his shoulder at the boy. He looked back at Zach.
Zach looked up at him trying to conceal his surprise.
"Trev? Is that you?"
"Wow. You're getting better at this."
"I'm going to go talk to the boy over there. Can you keep everyone occupied for a bit?"
"Sure, can do."
Trevor carefully moved back. Jake saw him, but Trevor held up a hand and pointed to the other bed. Jake nodded and smiled. Trevor walked over and quietly pulled the curtain that separated the beds for privacy a little more closed. He moved to a chair near the bed and quietly sat down. He studied the boy for a few moments. The boy's skin looked grayish and he looked very weak and sick. He still had a bit of a grimace on his face from pain and his eyes were closed.
The boy jumped slightly and opened his eyes, focusing on Trevor.
"I'm Trevor; were the people that just left your parents?"
"So your name is Tim? I heard them say that name."
"Well, Tim, it's nice to meet you."
He held out his hand and Tim slowly reached out and took Trevor's hand. Trevor gave it a gentle squeeze and then put his other hand on it as well, holding the smaller boy's hand in both of his. He smiled and got a wan smile in return. He moved closer to the bed and placed their joined hands onto the side of the bed, but did not release the boy's hand. It just rested weakly in his clasped hands on the bed. There was little strength to his grip, like he had little to spare to hold someone's hand. Trevor looked down at Tim. The boy's brown eyes looked to be surrounded by black circles. His hair was mostly gone; there were just a few patches left.
"So I guess you're kinda sick."
"That really sucks. Does it hurt a lot? I saw you wincing a few moments ago."
"Sometimes. I usually try to hide it from my parents. It makes them sad."
"Oh. Does that make it hurt more when you hide it?"
"A little, but I just hate seeing them so sad."
"I hear them say you have a brother and sister? How old are they?"
"Brad's fourteen and Amy is seven."
"How old are you?"
"How long have you had leukemia?"
"How long have you been in the hospital?"
"This time about five weeks. I'm here for chemotherapy treatment. They're hoping this one works better than the last round of chemo. It's a lot stronger than the one that they tried several months ago. All together I've been in the hospital three times. The first time was for about two months, and then a few months later, I was in for another two months, because I was real sick. Now, like I said, it's been five weeks, but they say it'll be at least another week or two before I can go home, depending on how the treatment works."
"I'm sorry you have to stay stuck in this bed all this time. What do you do while you lay here?"
"Sleep a lot, read. They do have these carts with video games on them that you can use, and you can watch DVDs too."
"That sounds kinda cool."
"Yeah, it is sometimes, but after you've been here awhile, you get bored with them, because you played them so many times. I wish they'd get some new ones."
"What game system do they have?"
"Have you played Final Fantasy VII or Armored Core?"
"No. I've heard of them, but I haven't played them yet."
"I've got them both at home and they are awesome to play. Maybe you can ask the nurse if they ever get new ones, and maybe you can request that they get them."
"I guess I could ask, I don't know."
Tim got quiet for a few moments and turned his head away. Trevor squeezed a little harder on his hand.
"Hey, bud. What's wrong?"
Tim turned back and his eyes were glistening with unshed tears.
"I'm scared. I don't want to die."
"Who says you're going to die?"
"I know I am. I've been getting more and more tired and nothing seems to help much. I'm just so tired of the pills, and the medicines, and the chemo and being stuck in the hospital. I want to be out there with my friends playing, not stuck in here dying. What did I do to deserve this? It's not fair."
A tear slipped down his cheek.
"Hey, come on, Tim, you've gotta fight this. You can't let it get to you."
"But I have been fighting it for a year now, and I'm not winning. Each time I come to the hospital, I feel more and more tired. I don't have much fight left."
"Come on, you gotta fight. You seem to be a pretty cool guy. God's gotta have plenty of cool guys up there that he doesn't need you for awhile yet. So hang in there. I'll visit you when I come back to visit my b... best friend next door tomorrow."
Tim looked at Trevor's gentle smile. He saw someone who cared about him and he smiled.
"Okay... I'll keep fighting. I won't give up."
"Good. That makes me feel better. I have to get back over there. I think we're probably going to leave soon, but I'll be back tomorrow after school."
"That's cool. Thanks for sitting with me. I'm getting a little tired, so maybe it's time for me to take a nap anyway. Thanks again."
"No problemo, amigo. See you tomorrow."
Trevor gave one final squeeze to Tim's hand and went back over to the other side of the curtain. When Trevor stood he felt a little light-headed and put it down to the excitement of the day. After Trevor left, Tim looked at his hand that Trevor had held. It felt different to him somehow, like he had held it out to a fire; it felt like he had been warming it at a fire. He figured that it must have been because Trevor had been holding it. Jake smiled at Trevor as he rejoined them. Trevor leaned back against Jake and Jake pulled him back against him, putting both arms around Trevor's chest from behind in a hug. Trevor put his hands on both of Jake's arms. He looked at Zach, who was smiling at him.
"You okay, love?"
"What's wrong with him?"
"Leukemia. He's had it for a year."
"That sucks big time."
Tom and Terry stood up and motioned to Jared.
"Well, Son, we're going to go home for a little while. We'll come back later to visit, okay?"
"Sure, Mom. See you guys later. I think I want to take a nap anyway. I feel a little tired right now."
"I'm not surprised, considering everything."
"Well, don't worry, I'm fine. In fact I feel pretty good. D'you think they might let me out of here soon?"
"I don't know, we'll talk to the doctors when we come back tonight and see what they say."
"Bye, honey, get some rest."
"I will, Mom."
She leaned down and gave him a hug and kiss. His dad did the same, and then Jared. Jake came over and hugged him as well. Then Trevor came over to him. Tom gently pushed Terry out, and she smiled and nodded as they left, ushering Jared before them. Jake looked back, smiled and followed them out. Trevor moved over to Zach's bedside and sat next to him. They hugged each other and closed their eyes as they kissed. They held the kiss for several moments before pulling back. Without thinking about it, Zach brought his arm that was in the cast up to stroke Trevor's hair, and ended up bonking him on the back of his head.
"Owww! Dang, watch the cast! That hurt."
Zach got a contrite look as Trevor rubbed the back of his head.
"Sorry, forgot about it."
"Well think about it. I don't want to be in here with you."
He got a conspiratorial look and leaned close.
"Or maybe I do. You think they'll let us share a bed?"
"Probably not. Anyway I'm still healing up and not up for 'strenuous' exercise yet. But as soon as I'm allowed to have some 'strenuous' exercise, we can try it. You're place or mine?"
"Don't care where, anywhere works for me."
"Yeah, me too."
They kissed once again, but quickly pulled apart when they heard someone enter the room. Trevor reluctantly left and met the rest of the family outside the room. They left and got back in their cars to drive home.
"Jake, can we stop at a mall before we get home?"
"Sure, I guess. Do you want to get something for Zach?"
"No. I want to get something for Tim, the boy in the other bed."
"That's awfully nice of you, bud. I'm very proud of you. We'll stop over at Lakewood Mall, sound good?"
"So what do you want to get?"
"A couple of Playstation 2 games, but could you buy them for me? I've got the money at home, but not with me and I want to get them now, so that when we come back tomorrow, I can give them to him."
"I think we can do that."
"Great! Thanks Jake."
They drove to the mall, which took just a few minutes, and they made their way into the mall to an Electronics Boutique store. Trevor found the games and Jake paid for them. They got back to Jake's, and Trevor called his Mom with the good news about Zach. Jake suggested a relaxing soak in the hot tub. Trevor quickly agreed and they changed to their shorts and headed out back to the spa. Dee jumped around a bit, and Trevor stopped to play with him until Jake got the spa going. When it was ready, they both got into it and relaxed. Trevor sat next to Jake and leaned back against him. Jake put his arm around him, lightly holding him. Trevor absently ran his hand up and down Jake's arm.
"I'm proud of you, Son. Going over and visiting... Tim, is it?"
"Yeah, Tim. He's had Leukemia for a year now."
"Too bad. I hate to see kids hurt or sick like that. I wish there was more the doctors could do for them."
"Yeah, me too."
They talked a little more, making plans to go visit again tomorrow afternoon. They fell into silence, enjoying each other's company. The water jets seemed to help ease away all the tension of the last couple of days, now that they knew that Zach looked like he was going to be all right. Twenty minutes later, they decided to get out and dry off. Together they jumped into the shower to rinse off the chlorine. Jake again dried Trevor off and carried him into the bedroom; he dropped him on the bed, which caused him to giggle. Trevor got up and went to his room and got dressed. He went back into the living room and said goodbye to Jake. He grabbed the bag with the games in it, and after he gave Jake a hug and kiss goodbye, he ran across the street and back home. In the house he got his backpack out and checked to see if he had any homework that needed to be done, other than what he had probably gotten for missing school today. He had some, so he got the books out and started in. About five pm, his mom came home.
He looked up from his books at the kitchen table and smiled at her.
"That was good news about Zach, huh?"
"Yeah, great news. Is it all right to visit him tomorrow after school? Jake already said he'd give me a ride over there, since he wants to visit him too. We were planning on going about four thirty."
"That sounds good. How long are you going to stay?"
"I don't know, for a little while anyway."
"Okay, I'll meet you guys there after work, and then we can go out to dinner afterwards."
"That sounds real good."
"Okay, it's a date."
Trevor got back to work on his homework. He finished with everything just about time for dinner. After dinner he cleaned up the dinner dishes, and he watched TV for a bit, before he started to yawn. He said good night to his mom and made his way to bed. He laid there looking up at the ceiling.
"Thank you, Great Spirit, as Grandpa Sean says. Thank you for bringing my Zach back."
He smiled, rolled over and went back to sleep. In Montana, Sean MacLaren was looking out on the snow-covered land around him. He smiled at the feeling of peace and healing as it washed over him.
The next day Trevor had just locked his bike up and was walking into the school, when Jeremy caught up with him.
Trevor turned around.
"Hey, Jer. How's it going?"
"Not much. I talked to Jared last night. He said that Zach is doing real good and might get out of the hospital soon."
"Yeah, he's doing great. He looks ready to leave. I'm going to visit him today after school."
"Good. I hope he gets better soon. We've got some baseball games coming up."
"I don't know if he'll be ready to play very soon. He was in pretty bad shape, but at least he can cheer the rest of us on."
"Yeah. We better get to class."
They started walking to class and ran into Jared and Luke. Jared casually put his arm on Jeremy's shoulders, which earned him a smile. They kept it at a casual, two good buddies hanging out level. They made it through the morning classes, Trevor and Jared got the schoolwork that they missed, and they also picked up Zach's so that he didn't get behind. At lunch they had a lot of people crowding around them, asking about Zach and how he was doing. The boys told them what they knew. When everyone finally left, Jared rolled his eyes at Trevor.
"Well, that's out of the way now."
They turned and saw Gary coming toward them.
"I heard Zach's doing okay."
"Yeah, he is. We think he might get out of there soon and come home. He's looking a lot better."
"That's great to hear. Man, when I saw him on the floor while you were holding him, Trevor, I got scared. He looked like he was in really bad shape with the blood and all."
"I was scared too. But thankfully he made it through. Maybe it just looked worse than it was."
"Yeah, maybe, it looked pretty bad."
" Thanks man for the help. You guys getting the security guys and the principal was a great help."
"Hey, I like Zach and you guys, even if you are the enemy. See you guys on the baseball field."
"Yeah, see ya, Gary."
Gary walked off. They finished eating their lunches a little before the bell rang and they headed back to class. At the end of the day, they left for home, and as they neared each of their streets, they peeled off, saying goodbye. Jared told Trevor he would see him later at the hospital. Trevor quickly got home and changed out of his school stuff. When he came out of his room, there was a knock at the door. Trevor went to the door, and opened it. Jake stood there.
"Hey, bud. Ready to go?"
"Yeah, just a minute."
Trevor grabbed the bag with the games in it and his jacket on the way out the door. He quickly locked the door and set the alarm before he followed Jake across the street to Jake's jeep. They hopped in and drove the fifteen minutes or so to the hospital. Jake parked and they made their way up to Zach's floor and went to his room. When they got to the room, they saw that Zach's family was already there. They greeted each other and Trevor went to sit next to Zach. The adults excused themselves for a few minutes to go get some coffee. Once they left the room, Trevor pointed to a colorful rolling cabinet.
"What's that, Zach?"
"Oh, that's an entertainment center. If you open the front doors, it has a TV with a Playstation 2 hooked up to it."
"Cool. That must be what Tim was talking about."
Trevor looked around at the other bed and noticed that it was empty.
"You know, Tim, your neighbor."
"Oh, he went for some test or something."
"How's he doing?"
"Okay, I guess. He's been out of the room a lot today."
"Cool, I have something for him."
"What you got him a present and not me? What did you get him?"
"A couple of games. He said that he's played all the ones that they have here, so I got him a couple that they don't have so that he can enjoy them."
"Which games did you get him?"
"Final Fantasy VII and Armored Core."
"That's cool. Hey, maybe we should make sure that they work. You know, try them out for him."
"Uh... no. They are his. It will be up to him when he gets here."
"Gee thanks, buddy. You bring some guy you hardly know a present but nothing for me."
Zach crossed his arms and stuck out his lower lip in a pout. Trevor tried not to laugh, but before long he couldn't stop himself. He reached out and took Zach's hand in his.
"I thought I was enough of a present."
"You're okay, I guess."
"All right, you're more than okay, but it's just I've played all the games they have too, and you know I really like those games you brought."
"Well, if you're good and Tim says it's okay, then maybe you'll be able to play them. But it's up to him, they're his."
"All right. I'll wait, but he better hurry back.
Trevor noticed the large bandage was off Zach's head and had been replaced with a smaller bandage.
"Hey, I just noticed that you have that big bandage off your head."
"Yeah, they took it off this morning. They said that I was healing fast, so they didn't see the need to keep it on. Besides, it was itchy all the time. Same with this damn cast. My arm feels hot underneath and it itches a lot."
"A lot of people were asking about you today, including a lot of girls."
"Man, wouldn't they be surprised to know that I'm unavailable and why."
"Yeah, let's, uh, keep that kind of under wraps for now."
"I know. I wish we didn't have to, but yeah, I don't want the hassle any more than you do, or any of us do for that matter."
"Yeah, it'd be nice, but it's not. Just think how it would be if people knew; you might have been hurt worse."
"Hey speaking of the five assholes, have you heard anything?"
"No. They aren't at school, not that I expect them to be there. No one's said anything about them."
"We might have to go to court. How will you feel about seeing them there?"
"Satisfied, they don't scare me. They deserve everything they get."
"The officer said that they'll probably plea bargain and get a lesser sentence."
"That sucks, but at least they'll get punished. I'd prefer they get sent to jail and become somebody's bitch, but we can't always get what we want. Anyway..."
They were interrupted by Tim being wheeled into the room. He easily got up from the wheelchair, and the orderly helped him get situated in the bed and said goodbye to him. Trevor looked over to him and gave him a little wave. Tim waved back. Trevor squeezed Zach's hand and stood up.
"I'll be back in a few."
Zach nodded and he and Jared started talking about the schoolwork that Jared had for him. Trevor grabbed the bag as he made his way over to Tim. When he got close, he noticed that the dark circles around Tim's eyes seemed to be almost gone and his skin color looked normal. He seemed to be in better spirits and was smiling as Trevor made his way over to him. Trevor moved a chair near the bed and put the bag down beside it. He took Tim's hand in his again and smiled at him. The hand seemed to have more strength this time.
"Man, Tim, you look great. You don't even really look sick, except for the IV bags there."
"Yeah, actually I feel pretty good today. I woke up and felt better than I have in a long time."
"That's cool. I'm really happy for you, Tim. I brought you something."
He picked the bag up from the floor and handed it to Tim. Tim eagerly took it and looked inside. His eyes got big and he smiled at Trevor.
"Wow, cool! Two new games! Thanks, Trevor. Why'd you do that; you don't even know me?"
"I figured that since you keep getting stuck in here, you might as well have something you haven't played yet."
"Cool. Thanks a lot."
Trevor squeezed his hand in friendship. Neither of them noticed a small faint glow coming from within their joined hands. Trevor helped him take the shrink wrap off, and Tim opened them and looked at the instructions. Trevor pointed out some of the things and told him about the game. Many times after he had explained a few things and they were just talking about the game, Trevor would, without thinking about it, take Tim's hand again. Tim didn't think anything about it and did not protest Trevor holding his hand. While they were looking at the games, Tim's family came in. His brother and sister are followed by their parents. Trevor let go of Tim's hand and stood up as they came up to Tim's bed. He felt a little dizzy, but ignored it. Tim looked up at his parents and smiled. They looked at him in some surprise.
"Hi Mom, Dad. This is Trevor. He's a friend of the guy in the next bed. Trevor, this is my Mom and Dad."
Trevor shook their hands.
"I'm John Brecon and this is my wife, Beth."
"Sorry, Trevor. This is my brother Brad and my sister Amy."
"It's nice to meet you."
"You as well. Thank you for visiting Tim."
"I've enjoyed it."
"Hey, look at what Trevor brought me."
"Why, that was very nice of you! He's always complaining that they don't have any new games. Thank you."
"I was glad to do it."
Tim's mom looked at Tim for a few moments.
"Tim, I'm surprised to see how well you look."
"I really feel great today, Mom. When I woke up I felt real good, better than I have for a long time. No pain either."
"You look great too, Son. May... "
A doctor came into the room and saw Tim's family. He went up to them smiling.
"Mr and Mrs. Brecon. Nice to see you. May I talk to you outside for a few minutes?"
"Is anything wrong, doctor?"
"No, not at all. I'd just like to have a word with you about Tim's condition, if we can."
"Well, if it's about Tim's condition, then he can hear it too, if there's nothing wrong, then that shouldn't be a problem."
"Well... uh, okay. Now I guess you noticed that Tim looks pretty good today. I don't want to get your hopes up, but this morning his blood test showed a marked drop in Leukemia cells. He appears to be rallying and getting better. Tim, you seem to be getting better. Maybe this last round of chemo has done the trick. We're going to keep an eye on you for a few more days, but if this trend continues, then I am very hopeful."
"That's great, no, fantastic news, doctor! When will you know for certain?"
"We should have a good indication in a few days, probably by the end of the week. To start off, I'm going to get some of these IV medicines discontinued, and maybe, Tim, you can get around without having to lug this pole around."
"Okay, I'm going to go take care of some those orders and be on my way. Have a good evening."
The doctor left and there were hugs all around among the family. Trevor stepped up and took Tim's hand and smiled.
"That's really great news, Tim. I'm really happy for you."
He let go and stepped back.
"It was nice to meet you. I'm going to go back to my friend. Have a good evening."
"Thank you for being Tim's friend."
Trevor nodded and walked back over to Zach. He sat down and Zach took his hand again.
"I heard. That's great."
"Yeah, it is. Now if we can just get you out of here."
"I hope so too. I'm tired of being cooped up in here."
Jared gave Trevor a look and nodded to himself, like he had figured out the answer to something. Outside in the hall, Jake, Tom and Terry were coming back to the room, and Jake heard a couple of doctors talking.
"I can't believe it. Yesterday he looked like he was on his last legs. I wouldn't have given him more than just a few weeks to maybe a couple of months, but this morning when I went in to see him, he looked great and is in better spirits, and if his blood work keeps going like it is, I think he's going into remission. It's totally amazing. I guess this last round of chemo did it and beat it back. I hope to put this one on the win side."
They continued to Zach's room. As they went inside, they saw Tim's family with him. They nodded as they passed them. Jake looked at Tim and his eyebrows raised as he noticed the change in Tim since yesterday. He looked back towards the doctors and then at Tim. He nodded as he put two and two together and guessed that Tim was the boy they had been talking about. He smiled and gathered with his family and friends. They visited for a while before they were interrupted by a doctor coming in.
"Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Dr. Jacobs. Well, young man, I have some good news. You seem to be doing so well, we're going to let you get out of here tomorrow morning. That is, if that's okay with you?"
"Yeah! That's great."
"So we can pick him up in the morning? He's doing that well?"
"Yes, amazingly so, in fact. His lung damage healed very fast. You can see that the bruises are fading. We're going to do some x-rays of his ribs, arm and facial bones in the morning, and if everything is as I expect it to be, then you should be able to take him home. He'll have to take it easy for a few days, but I think he should be okay now. Next week sometime you should have him see his regular doctor, but I think everything is fine."
"Thanks, Doc. We appreciate it."
"You're welcome. Take care now. See you in the morning."
Jared looked at Trevor and smiled as the doctor left, and Trevor's mom passed him on his way out.
"Oh, hi, Mom."
Trevor gave her a hug. Jake gave her one as well.
"So how are you doing, Zach?"
"Great, Mrs. Garrity, I get to go home tomorrow."
"That is wonderful news."
"Aunt Terry, may I come and visit Zach tomorrow after he gets home, and you know, help him if he needs anything?"
"Can he, Mom?"
"If it's okay with you, Sandy, he's welcome. He can even stay for dinner; Tom can take him home later."
"Uh... Mrs. Garrity... ?"
"Aunt Sandy will do, we're practically family."
Tom started chuckling, which caused Sandy and Jake to look at him.
"What's so funny, Tom?"
"Nothing, Jake, it's just something popped into my head that struck me as funny."
"Nothing, I'll tell you some other time."
Jake looked at him and shook his head.
"Aunt Sandy, tomorrow's Friday, could Trevor stay over for the night?"
"You're just getting out of the hospital; you'll need your rest... "
"Please, Aunt Sandy."
"Yeah, please, Aunt Sandy."
She looked at the three boys, who were giving her puppy dog faces and put out their lower lips. She couldn't contain herself and started laughing.
"How can you say no to those cute faces?"
"Hey, guys, keep it down; we are still in a hospital."
"Sorry, Uncle Jake."
"Yeah, sorry, D... Jake."
"Besides, that gives me an idea. Ms. Garrity, do you have any plans tomorrow evening?"
"Why suh, I do believe that mah calendah has got an opening."
"Well, then, how about dinner and a movie."
"I accept, kind suh."
Jake hugged and kissed her. Tom and Terry were grinning, as were the boys.
"However, I do have a date with a couple of handsome guys for dinner tonight."
He looked at Trevor, who got a sheepish grin.
"Uh... sorry Jake. I kinda forgot to tell you. She said she wanted to take us to dinner this evening after we visited with Zach."
"Well, since it does keep me from having to cook something for myself, I think I can find it in my heart to forgive you. So where are we going?"
Sandy looked at Trevor and raised an eyebrow.
"Okay, Outback it is. Shall we go, before the dinner crowd gets too much bigger?"
"Okay. See ya tomorrow, Zach."
"Yeah, see ya, Trev."
They left the room. Trevor waved to Tim as he left, and Tim's family smiled and nodded to him and his family. They headed over to Lakewood Center to Outback Steakhouse. The meal was good as usual. After they ate, Trevor and Sandy said goodnight to Jake and drove home. Trevor went to bed, happy with the thought that he was going to spend the next night over with his boyfriend.
The next morning Terry went to the hospital to pick up Zach. She got to the room and saw Zach and Tim sitting in chairs in front of the entertainment cart playing a video game. Terry stood at the door and watched them. As she looked at them, she noticed that Tim seemed to look like he was doing very well. He was not even hooked up to an IV pole. He had just a tube that was attached to the back of his hand. The tube that was taped to the side of his face and going into his nose was gone as well. He was looking a whole lot better than he had a couple of days ago. Except for the cast, the fading bruises and the bandage near his eye, Zach looked like his old self. She smiled to herself at the marvel of the resilience of youth, and how quickly they could bounce back from sickness and injury. Her low chuckle got Zach's attention. He looked up and saw his mom. He smiled and nodded a greeting and then went back to battling with Tim. Both of the boys were laughing and crowing over their triumphs over each other, just like any two typical boys. A few moments later, they finished the battle that they were having and Zach leaned over to Tim and said something to him. Tim looked at Terry and smiled shyly. Zach put down the controller and went over to his mom, and gave her a hug when he got to her.
"Hey, honey. Well, have they told you anything about getting out of here?"
"They said that the doctor would be here…" He looked at the clock on the wall. "...about now."
"Good, we'll wait."
Zach took his mom over to where Tim was sitting.
"Mom, this is Tim, my next door neighbor. Tim, this is my Mom, Terry Browning."
"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Browning."
"And you as well, Tim. I must say you look like you're doing much better."
"Yes, ma'am. I feel great, better than I have in a long time. I think I'm going to get out of here soon."
"That's great news. I hope everything works out for you and good luck."
"Mom, do you mind if Tim and I play more while we wait for the doctor?"
"Sure, what are you playing?"
"Armored Core, it's one of the games that Trevor brought for Tim."
"You guys go ahead."
The boys went back to battling each other. Terry sat in a chair and watched them. They fought it out for another fifteen minutes before the doctor showed up. When he got there the boys stopped the game.
"Mrs. Browning. I'm glad you're here. So Zachary, I guess you want to know if you are getting out of here today. Well, we took some x-rays this morning and everything is healing very nicely. In fact, amazingly well. If I didn't know better, I would say that his injuries happened three or four weeks ago. His ribs are healing well, as is the arm. The fractures around his eye are also healing well. And as you can see the bruises are fading very rapidly. So as far as I can see, he is ready to leave. I have already written the discharge orders. I think that if he has any pain, then you could use an over the counter pain medication; he doesn't need anything stronger. You should make an appointment with his regular doctor next week to check on the progress of things, but other than that I think we're done here. I'll let the nurse know; she'll have some paperwork for you to sign, and then an orderly will give Zachary a ride out to your car."
"That is very good news, doctor. Thank you."
"Glad to deliver the good news. Zachary, if I see you again in here, it will be too soon, so take care of yourself."
"Bye, thanks, Doc."
The doctor left the room. Terry handed a bag to Zach. He looked inside and saw his clothes in there.
"I didn't think you wanted to leave with your butt hanging out, even if it a cute one."
Zach turned fire engine red and Tim leaned back in the chair laughing, while Terry grinned at him.
"Well, it is. I always thought so. Hey maybe I have some of your naked baby pictures with me; I could show them to Tim."
She started digging in her purse.
"Don't you dare!"
"Even my mother. First my bo, uh... best friend, now my mother. What is this world coming to when the people you think care about you are the ones to put the knife in and twist it?"
"Can it, drama boy. Go get dressed, so we can get out of here."
Zach smiled and went to the bathroom, just before he closed the door, he mooned them both and quickly shut the door laughing. Tim was first shocked and then he started laughing. The nurse came in a few moments later with a clipboard. She walked over to Terry and showed the forms to her, explaining them and where she needed to sign. She quickly signed them and handed them back to the nurse, and she left. Zach came out of the bathroom and sat down on a chair to put his shoes and socks on. He and Tim talked about the game. When he was all dressed, he helped Tim put everything away and walked over to Tim's bed. Tim got in the bed and Zach sat on the bed next to him.
"Okay, Tim, you have my email, so write to me and let me know how you're doing. I'll tell Trevor and he'll probably write you as well. So you get better."
The boys hugged and Tim leaned close to Zach's ear and whispered.
"Your mom was right; you do have a cute butt."
Zach pulled back and looked at Tim with shock. Tim fell back and started rolling on the bed laughing. Zach scowled at him and then got an evil grin on his face.
"I do, huh? Of course you know, this means war."
Zach started tickling Tim, and he started laughing harder.
"No..ha ha... stop... ha ha, Zach, please... . hee hee stop... that tickles, you're... ha ha... going to make me pee."
Zach stopped and Tim started to calm down as the two boys giggled at each other. Soon the orderly came in with a wheelchair. Zach patted Tim on the back and they bumped fists as Zach got up and sat in the chair. They waved goodbye and Zach was taken down to the front of the hospital. His mom went to get her car while Zach and the orderly waited for her to return. When she got there, she thanked the orderly and Zach got in the car and they left for home.