You Won't Feel A Thing (Invite only)
"It's all right, Alex. I'll be here the whole time."
Those words, spoken by someone who wasn't Eiryk, miraculously seemed to work. Even though his friend was hidden behind a surgical gown, hat, gloves, and mask, Alexander could see Rowan's hazy green-grey ocean-colored eyes quite clearly. The little lines around them deepened, and he knew his friend was smiling even though he couldn't make out the expression with his face covered.
Rowan would not be performing any part of the surgery to remove the growth from his knee, but Alex had requested his presence and he had agreed instantly, making sure the hospital staff would permit it - whether they did so naturally or Rowan 'helped' the process along, Alexander didn't care. He knew he wouldn't be able to have Eiryk in here with him but Rowan was an acceptable substitute.
The presence of a friend was comforting. A wave of peace swept over him, masking even the fact that he hadn't had any of Eiryk's blood in over a day. Alex knew he was more than halfway addicted to the stuff, but it had gotten him through several rough patches in the week leading up to this surgery. Alex locked his eyes onto Rowan's, and Rowan winked at him. He looked calm, confident. He did this all the time. He had hundreds of years of experience as a doctor. Who else could say that about anyone in this field? Even if Rowan wasn't doing the actual cutting, Alex had no doubts if he was needed he would step in.
[We will be here when you wake up.]
He had more than two friends here. Eiryk was in the waiting room with Aishe, Kem, Cris, and Alfarinn. It was Cris's voice he heard in his head, and he was just not-loopy enough to respond.
"Count backwards from 10."
Alex was already halfway asleep thanks to a pre-operative sedative. A little wave of panic hit him and was very quickly quelled. He knew it, then, that Rowan had something to do with that. He was, all at once, irritated and absurdly grateful. A strange combination of effects.
He was scared, but there was a blanket of safety covering it, like the fear was a lifetime away. Still there, but not close enough for him to feel it.
Woah. The room wavered in front of him. He closed his eyes. Felt good. Peaceful. If he was going to die, it wasn't terrifying.
[A dyslexic walks into a bra...]
The second sending from Cris made Alex's eyes snap open, just for a moment, and he giggled.
He never got past half-seven.
((ooc: Sending courtesy of Cris))
He didn't need to tell Cris how he felt. He hadn't mentioned that he was scared. This wasn't a point in time for his own personal drama. They were all afraid for Alex. Rowan supposed he was grateful, to be able to share with Cris. No, he hadn't said anything, but Cris would have to be blind not to notice Rowan's feelings, that same as Rowan knew how Cris felt. They could support each other. And they were there to support Eiryk, too, who didn't even have the comfort of a bond.
What truly worried Rowan was that Eiryk had confessed to giving Alexander blood to help him along. Rowan had been furious and frustrated with him for that. But then, he wondered, would he have done any differently if Cris were human and suffering like Alex had been suffering? How could he judge?
It would complicate things, though. Vampire blood was ridiculously addictive. Alex might actually require it by the time he awoke, and that thought almost sickened Rowan. Alex was so very against drugs, yet he'd been living off them for months now. Hopefully this would be the last of it. He would have one more round of chemo after the surgery and then, if everything went well, he'd be able to walk away. They could deal with the aftermath and any addiction. Hopefully.
Alex's eyes began to develop that glassy appearance Rowan was so familiar with. He counted, his voice groggy, then suddenly opened his eyes, laughed softly, and dropped off to sleep. Rowan shook his head; people had the oddest reactions to anesthetics sometimes. He remained very quiet during the surgery. He didn't want to disturb anyone, and he knew the men and women in here operating on their friend. They were highly competent, the best Nachton could offer which was nothing to scoff at.
The process took several hours. Rowan watched as Alexander's knee and leg were cleaned, made as sterile as possible, then opened up. The offensive bone growth was revealed in all its gristly glory, and then it was painstakingly, exactingly, removed. Rowan winced; Alex was going to be in a lot of pain when the drugs all wore off. But, he would be around to be in pain. That was a pro.
[They've got it out,] Rowan sent a few hours later, exhausted from the entire process as if he'd done everything himself, feeling as wrung out as the rest of them. [It looks good, love, Dr. Heins did a great job. They're just putting him back together now. It'll be a bit yet, but the tumor is out of him.]
It did take over an hour to finish up. Closer to two. All in all they had arrived at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning to check Alex in, and by the time they turned off the anesthesia machines it was nearly 4:00 in the afternoon. But the machines were definitely off, and all that remained was to keep an eye on Alex in recovery. That, Rowan was going to do himself. He wasn't an employee here but no one could doubt his credentials, and he was listed as one of Alexander's doctors.
He thanked everyone in surgery and left the room with Alex's gurney. Stripping off his mask and his scrubs he made it to the recovery room in time to hep lift Alex gently from the stretcher to a reclining chair, his leg elevated. A nurse was there immediately with warm blankets; Alexander's temperature had dropped during the surgery as expected. The IV drip continued, this time with warmed fluids to help, laden with painkillers, anti-inflammatory meds, anti-emetics, and antibiotics.
Taking the chart, Rowan checked it and noted Alexander's vitals in the margin along with the time.
[We're in recovery,] he sent to Cris. [Alex's vitals look lovely. His temperature is low but that's normal, we're getting him warmed up now. Once he's a little more awake we'll move him to his room and then Eiryk can see him, and the rest of us in turns. He's going to be pretty out of it, of course, but for now he's in good shape. He's got an incredibly strong, healthy body.]
Setting the chat aside Rowan took Alex's hand and held it, chafing it gently, coaxing a little awareness int his friend but knowing it would take time to wake up.
"I'm here, Alex, dear. I know I'm not the one you want next to you but if you'll open your eyes a bit for me we can move you, and you can see your Eiryk. And the rest of your family. We're all waiting for you to wake."
He continued in that vein, for almost forty-five minutes between checks of Alex's vitals, while Alex went through the normal patterns. His eyelids fluttered. He twitched a little. He shifted here and there, gave a soft, dry-throated moan. Then he settled down for a few minutes, and the process began again. Finally, he opened his warm, chocolaty brown eyes, looked at Rowan, and said, "Hi."
Rowan smiled down at him, leaned forward, and kissed his forehead. "Welcome back, sweetheart."
[He's back with us. Or, getting there.]
The waiting was hell. He knew Rowan was in there with Alex and he was thankful for it. At the same time, however, he was bitter and jealous. It hurt that Rowan could be there when he couldn't. He couldn't even send to Alex to reassure him, to comfort him. Eiryk was essentially useless right and he knew it. He wanted, more than anything, to be there for Alex, but all he could do was wait and he wasn't even the only one doing that. Alex had made quite a few friends in Evenhet and they were there. Even Pak was sending to him now and the, checking in to see how things were going, how he was doing.
He'd not been terribly social while they waited though. As much as he loved their friends Eiryk was totally focused on Alex. For most of the day he'd stood or sat in stony silence, his jaw tight, his mouth in a grim line, speaking only when spoken too and even then not saying any more than necessary. He couldn't even take that much comfort in Cris' updates, although he loved both Cris and Rowan for doing that without them he'd probably have gone mad. He would have assumed the worst every ten minutes or so without those frequent check ins.
Still, it hurt, it was unintentional salt in the wounds, that all of them had another vampire as a partner, spouse or lover. None of them would ever be in this position wondering if someone they loved was going to make it through. Not that vampires were indestructible, they all had their share of risks, especially Cris, but it wasn't quite the same.
Finally, -finally-, Rowan said Alex had been moved to a room. Half afraid of what he'd find Eiryk walked to the room, hesitantly knocking before letting himself in. The room was dim, most of the light was around the bed, probably so the doctors and nurses could see what they were doing, but Eiryk barley noticed any of that, he didn't see any of the room details, he just saw Alex. Alex who was alive and had made it through one more part of his treatment.
Eiryk's heart was in his throat. He was so happy to see Alex that nothing else mattered. For the first time in hours his jaw unset and he no longer looked like he was going into battle.
Letting the door close behind him Eiryk made his way to Alex, while fumbling in his pocket. As he reached the edge of the bed he tenderly lifted Alex's hand, doing his best to ignore the various machines and IV and whatever else was there as he very chastely kissed Alex on the lips.
"How are you holding up love? God I missed you.â€
He was more than a thousand years old but those had been the longest hours of Eiryk's life. He'd refused to sleep at all during the operation knowing how hard it was to wake him though. All that mattered now though was Alex was awake and alive and hopefully going to get better and this was the last time they'd have to do something like this.
A bit later he opened his eyes again. Rowan was there still, and his presence was comforting even if it wasn't Eiryk. Alex tried to say something but instead, the message never reached his brain. He just fell asleep again.
Eventually he blinked himself back awake and Rowan was smiling at him. Alex managed a shaky greeting and was welcome back to the land of the alive and awake with a soft, platonic kiss. Alex offered a weak smile. He didn't have to ask; Rowan immediately continued.
"Everything went well. You were a pro. They think they got everything, and they're running a few more tests to see if they need to change your chemo up for the last round. We're going to sit here a little bit longer, and when you're awake a bit more we'll bring you up to your room and you can see Eiryk, okay?"
That got a bigger smile from Alex. "Okay," he said, his throat scratchy and his voice rough.
"How are you feeling?"
Rowan smiled, nodded, and reached into a little plastic cup. He offered Alex a small chip of ice and Alex closed his eyes and sighed a little at the cool wetness. It made him shiver, though, because he was freezing too. He didn't say as much. Rowan was already taking care of him, he wasn't going to send his friend running around like a nursemaid.
"Alex." Rowan's voice was lightly chastising. He opened his eyes once more and flushed a little, still shivering. Rowan shook his head in gentle admonishment. "I'm here to take care of you, dear. I'm not here for anyone else."
With a gentle squeeze to his shoulder Rowan stood, disappeared somewhere, and was back shortly with a warm blanket. He removed he one draped over Alex and replaced it, and the heat seeped into Alex's skin. He caught a glimpse of his knee and leg, swathed in white bandages and elevated, but he couldn't really feel it. That was probably a good thing.
Not soon enough he was installed in a room. His was the only bed, which he was grateful for, no doubt some fanagling done by... well, any of his friends, or all of them, he suspected. Rowan left, promising to bring Eiryk back, and within a few minutes the door opened again and Alex smiled widely to see his fiance there.
Eiryk's face immediately relaxed, having looked somewhat haunted as he peered in, and Alex couldn't wait for him to cross the few short feet to the bed. He did, and immediately took Alex's left hand. Alex sighed as Eiryk took Alex's engagement ring from his pocket and slid it back in place on his ring finger. Alex hadn't been able to wear it for the surgery so he'd asked Eiryk to hold it for him to put back on right away. It felt good, back where it belonged.
"Good," he croaked in answer to Eiryk's question. Then he added, "Missed you too."
He brought their joined hands up to his cheek and rested his head against Eiryk's, closing his eyes. "Really tired still."
He wanted Eiryk to pull up a chair, sit, and stay, but he was still loopy from pain meds and other drugs even if the anesthesia had worn off. The words simply didn't want to form; he was content so long as Eiryk didn't go anywhere.
Eventually Rowan reported that it was all over and that it was successful. His husband also said that they would be monitoring Alex until the anesthesia wore off enough for him to come around and then they would move him into his own room and people would be allowed to visit.
A nurse came out and said that Alex was awake and that the first visitor could go into the room. Of course that was definitely going to be Eiryk so Cris waited patiently for his turn.
For about five minutes or so.
Then he mumbled something about getting a cup of coffee and wandered off.
Sneaking into the room, he slid up behind Rowan after warning him of his presence, and handed him one of the cups of coffee that he actually did obtain. Then he wrapped his arms around his partner, careful of his own caffeine. He peered around his redhead to look over at Alex and Eiryk.
"I would ask if you two needed a room but you've already got one. Want us to vacate so you can be all mushy or are you not awake enough for thatâ€ Cris smiled at Alex and gave him a very rarely seen wink.
Letting go of Rowan, he crossed over to the vacant side of the bed and reached down to give Alex's hands a gentle squeeze. "Good to see you back among the conscious.â€ He searched his friend's muzzy aura but saw nothing alarming. Not that he expected to find anything since Rowan had been watching from the start of surgery and hadn't left Alex's side at any point. Still seeing was believing.
He reached out a hand for Rowan and wrapped his arm around his husband when he came close enough to touch. "There was others, less sneaky, who would like to come visit. Shall I let in the Evenhet horde?â€
Rowan felt the same, when Cris slid up behind him and enveloped him in his arms after a brief warning. Rowan allowed himself to lean back a little against his husband, relief almost palpable. He wanted to feel Cris there. He hadn't thought he'd ever need that support; never had before. He was a big vampire and had operated on friends before... but with Cris in his life, Rowan realized just how much stronger they made each other so he sent his husband a little wave of gratitude for things as obvious as coffee and as subtle as little sendings here and there. Cris reappeared and Rowan felt like the lights had come on, himself. He wrapped his arms around over Cris's, squeezed, and then released his love so he could go say his own hello to Alex.
Alex, for his part, opened his eyes and beamed a smile at Cris when he heard his voice. He let go of Eiryk's hands long enough to take Cris's, but once they parted he reached for Eiryk again. Rowan knew the feeling. He immediately moved back to Cris, slid into that one-armed embrace, and hugged his husband close with both of his.
When Cris asked about the others coming to visit, Alex's smile widened again. It was obvious that the Evenhet horde would do much more good than harm. As long as they stayed quiet Rowan knew no one would complain about the one-visitor rule being broken. Supportive friends and family would bolster Alexander.
"That would be nice," Alex said from the bed, his voice scratchy. He glanced at the pitcher of water and plastic cup of ice on the table near the bad and then looked away. Rowan sighed. Stubborn independence was going to kill Alex.
Releasing Cris, Rowan shook his head and quietly moved about the room. He brought the chair from the opposite wall and slid it into place next to the bed, out of the way of the IV stand and monitors. Then he gently pushed Eiryk into it. After that Rowan poured water into the plastic cup of ice and opened a straw. He handed the cup to Eiryk and said softly to both of them, "Small sips. A little at a time, okay?"
Alex nodded his understanding, and did as Rowan cautioned when Eiryk offered him the cup of water. He looked tired, groggy, loopy, but stable. Rowan didn't see any signs that everything wasn't all as it should be, but he was pretty sure this particular patient was going to have him hyper-attentive anyway. Hell, they would all be. Alex was going to be lucky to have a moment's peace. Even back at Liefde Becky and the rest of the nurses had been preparing the clinic there to be able to handle anything Alex, in particular, might need. Rowan planned to bring him home as soon as it was safe. Alex had expressed repeated doubts about being stuck in the hospital, and if Liefde was where he would recover best, Liefde was where he would be.
For now he smiled a little indulgently, snuggled Cris close, and said, "I think the Evenhet horde would be a very welcome sight for sore eyes. Why don't you unleash them?"
He smiled softly at Alex when he said he was still tired.
"We'll make sure you get lots of rest. You can even get some more sleep now if you want. Do you need anything?â€
Pillow, water, food, the moon, Eiryk would find any or all of it for Alex
Eiryk grinned at Cris, who appeared out of no where. He'd never anticipated Alex and Cris becoming such good friends but he was extremely grateful for it. Cris was more reserved and probably gave Alex some security or comfort. However it worked Cris obviously meant a lot to Alex, and Eiryk was more than a little find of him as well.
"I think we can behave for a little bit, but we might hurry you out the door after a while.â€
Fond or not he was more than a little glad to have Alex's hands back in his. It was something real, something solid, proof that Alex was back with them. Eiryk couldn't wait to get him home, out of this impersonal sterile environment. No one could properly recover in such a cold room.
Being caught off guard Eiryk floundered and flailed a bit when placed in a chair, it didn't matter how gently it was done it still put him off balance. Still had it been anyone but Rue he probably would have instantly fallen out of the chair rather than just going a bit wobbly. Regardless, he was glad for it, at least he was once he got settled. It meant he was going to stay a while. Honestly Eiryk was ready to climb into Alex's bed and stay there until his fiancee was discharged. Eiryk hated the idea of going back to their home and climbing into an empty bed. Thora would be more than happy to come curl up with him, but it wasn't the same, he wanted Alex.
Holding the little cup he steadied the straw and placed it in easy reach for Alex, so he could sip at it.
"Ask if you want something... if you don't I won't have a choice but to go into flu mode and no one wants that.â€
He gently, gently, chided Alex. Eiryk loved how independent Alex was and how determined they were wonderful characteristics, they made Alex who he was. Eiryk had worked hard on respecting that and on not hovering like he had when Alex had the flu, but if he started to get the idea that Alex needed or wanted something and wasn't asking it would be a lot harder for him to behave himself.
Eiryk frowned a bit when Rowan and Cris talked about unleashing the horde. He was worried they would wear Alex out even further. He would have spoken up except for the look on Alex's face, there was no way he could deny Alex that. If he wanted the whole clan in here, well Eiryk would have them file through the room one at a time.
They were all restless and settled in turns. Every now and then Rowan's commentary halted and several pairs of eyes attempted to nail Cris to the wall as if he could somehow reach into the doctor's brain and pull the observations out of him. Eiryk was quiet, and Aishe held his hand supportively when he let her. She snuggled up to Kiamhaat, then Cris when he sat still, and finally when he was pacing and Kiamhaat was looking for coffee that didn't taste like mud, she snuggled up to Alfarinn. She did assure him he wasn't her last resort - just two chairs away as opposed to one.
It wasn't until late afternoon when Cris announced that Alex was out of surgery, in recovery. There was a palpable sigh of relief and the air in the room actually altered. Aishe gave a long sigh. Kiamhaat slumped back in his chair and pinched the bridge of his nose, then covered his eyes with his hand.
It was longer still before anyone was allowed to see Alex, and of course it was Eiryk who had the privilege of going in first barring Rowan, who of course was already there. Cris soon vanished as well, and Aishe setled imploring eyes on her Creator as he left... for coffee.
And then Kiamhaat became the object of her stares. He could only look at her and shrug. He wasn't going to push them to force Alex to have visitors. They were relieved of that worry shortly, too, when they were informed that Alex would very much like company. Determined to be on their best behavior they headed down the hallway and found Alex's room.
Alex was lying in bed, swathed in blankets, holding Eiryk's hand. He was still hooked up to numerous monitors and in the dim light of the hospital room he looked very pale and frail. Cris and Rowan stood nearby, Cris's arm around Rowan's waist and Rowan embracing Cris.
"Sneaky," Aishe muttered good-naturedly to her Creator, who had certainly jumped the gun to beat them there. Then she moved over to Alex, leaned over, and kissed him softly on the forehead.
"How are you doing?"
He smiled wanly up at her. "Okay. Thanks for coming. Glad you're here."
He glanced at Aishe. No, definitely not. He remembered all too well what it felt like to love someone who was mortal, and it was that which caused him to use his glamour on Eiryk as subtly as possible, to bring him calm, to bring him peace, to help him feel hope. So they passed a day in the Nachton Hospital Oncology ward waiting room.
The wait dragged on even with the commentary, which Kem almost wished they didn't have. What if something went wrong? How would they feel listening to it happen and unable to effect any change? But then, if something did go wrong Rowan was right there. Would he turn Alex? No, he wouldn't. Alex didn't want that. Alex would rather die than become like them.
It struck him again, how lucky he was that Aishe was more stubborn than he. And what a colossal idiot he had been several years ago. Poor Eiryk. They would get Alexander better, and then Eiryk would have decades to convince Alex to stay with him longer.
Finally they were allowed in to see a groggy, mostly wakeful Alex. The room fit them all easily; it was meant for two beds but currently held only Alex's. Kem didn't like being in there with the tubes, wires, and monitors. The hospital gave him an uneasy feeling and he was glad when Aishe slid her hand into his and squeezed.
[Relax, 'Isu-mery,] she sent to him. [It's just a hospital.]
Kem winced. [It's full of death. Alex is full of life. He doesn't fit here.]
She slipped her arm around his waist, mirroring Cris's pose with Rowan. [He'll be home soon. He'll bounce right back at Liefde.]
Kem nodded shortly. Alex's eyes passed over them all in turn and Kem smiled his soft smile when they landed on him. He continued to glamour Eiryk, knowing Rowan was focusing on Alex and had been the entire time.
"We'll get you home as soon as we can, Alex," Kem said after Aishe had moved forward to kiss their friend. Alex nodded weakly and continued to smile. He might be half out of it yet, but the idea of being home was very obviously appealing to him.
He tried to keep to his hands to himself because everything he touched had the sad story of illness, death and harsh cleaning chemicals. His empathy wasn't his friend in hospitals either and everyone in the waiting room was either anxious and worried or resigned and full of despair.
The sole exception was a six year old who was sitting with his very tired mother. Alfarinn smiled at him and was rewarded with a shy smile in return. He then made a face and was gifted with a laugh. A few more faces and funny looks granted him a new companion. Shawn came over and took Cris's empty seat. His mother looked up horrified and started to get up and retrieve her son but Alfarinn waved her back to her seat.
Talking quietly to Shawn, Alfarinn found out that his older brother had cancer and getting treatments done. He was really sick, always tired and he had no hair. Shawn told him the last bit of news in a whisper because, and he also shared this part, he wasn't supposed to mention it.
They played a couple of games of Ispy and then Alfarinn took out his phone where they then played checkers and a few other games. Shawn was less interested in the technology which could easily consume the attention of many kids but was more focused on the interaction with other people. He seemed starved for attention more than anything else. People often forgot that it was tough being the healthy kid in a family also, especially one so young. So Alfarinn started telling him stories instead, asking the others in the room for pieces of it to add into the tale so that it became a game. He even got Cris to stop moving long enough to do a few sounds and voices. Even people not in their little group eventually added the story, providing strange nouns and odd places when he asked for them.
Before Alex was done with surgery Shawn and his mother went to see his brother. He waved at everybody before he left and said he was going to tell the story to Matt. Shawn's mother had managed to get an hour or so of sleep and Shawn looked much happier also. For himself, it had given him some way to focus on something he could do to help someone else which had helped him a lot too.
When it came time to visit Alex, he entered with Aishe and Kem. Alfarinn wasn't surprised to see Cris already in the room though his friend did hold up his coffee mug pointedly when Aishe called him sneaky.
"Never trust an agent who volunteers information. They are likely telling you to keep you from asking about something else.â€
He came to stand next to Alex and smiled. Leaning down, Alfarinn spoke very quietly. " It looks like another stairwell intervention won't be needed . I hear it is likely that you will be back to righteously healthy in no time.â€
Plopping down on the rolling stool that some doctor likely left in the room, he folded his long legs beneath him. "So this flu mode...that's bad right?â€ He looked from Alex to Eiryk and back again. Off to the side, Cris's eyes widened and he nodded ever so slightly.
((OOC: He is speaking to Alex in a soft tone but not quite a whisper. He's sure other people can hear what he said but it was obviously also meant to be private. ))
Ah, that was good too. Alex loved his friends, but Cris and Aishe, too, both had a special spot. He tried to squeeze Cris's hands back, but settled mostly for an extra big smile. A lot of that might have been the morphine talking too, he supposed, but he was genuinely happy to see them all.
When Cris asked about the horde Alex blinked. "They stayed?" His voice was still raspy, he knew from the tube that had been down his throat, and he accepted another sip of water gratefully.
"Want to see them," Alex said, trying to clear his throat. He longed for someone to send to him. Talking was uncomfortable. But he was so foggy, he wondered that he would even recognize the communication for what it was. For all he knew Cris or Kem had been reciting limericks to him.
He closed his eyes again and Eiryk threatened him with flu mode, which made him giggle a little bit. He patted Eiryk's hand gently. "No flu mode. I'll be good."
Alex glanced at Rowan. "Promise. Can I have another blanket?" He made a face as if to say, 'see?' and gave a little shiver, already addicted to the feeling of freshly warmed blankets. Would they let him have an electric one?
The horde soon descended upon them, Aishe first, and she crossed over to him, kissing him on the forehead. He said he was glad to see her and she seemed to think it was no big deal to have waited there for him in the hospital all day. Didn't any of them know that before he moved to Nachton no one in his life would have done such a thing?
Kem promised to bring him home soon and Alex gave a wistful sigh. He really wanted to be home. He also realized, with a little hope, that he stood a decent chance of getting there faster than expected. They had Rowan and a state of the art medical facility. Even if Alex stayed in the infirmary instead of his and Eiryk's apartment, it would content him.
Next was Alfarinn, and Alex was once again surprised at the show of support. The Evenhet Elder bent close, his youthful face near Alex's, and whispered words that made Alex smile again. "Hope not," he said. "I'll carry you next time."
When Alfarinn went to sit on the stool, asking about flu mode, Alex just laughed and coughed again. "Flu mode. Very bad," he said, gesturing weakly at the rest of his friends, who had breath and lubricated vocal cords much better able to tease. Alex, for his part, settled under his pile of warm blankets and rested his face against Eiryk's arm. He was so happy to see the people he loved. So grateful that they had stay here all day at the hospital. Flattered, really.
His breath hitched uncomfortably in his chest, but it was all right. He was tired and very floaty from all the drugs, and nothing seemed to be completely jiving in his body at the moment. He knew why that was though, so it didn't worry him. He settled into it and let the feeling in, slipping into a half-doze while still minding the conversation around them. He wasn't prepared to sleep more, he was just enjoying the ride.
He watched and listened to Alex as he greeted everyone. [Still being groggy is normal, right?] Cris sent to Rowan. He suspected as much and saw more hospital rooms than most non-medical vampires but perhaps it was worry for Alex that made him want to make extra sure that his friend was recovering exactly as he should be.
Alex's voice was scratchy still and Cris winced inwardly in sympathy. [Shame you cannot send, hmm? Sometimes it is a blessing. You can send to anyone and everyone no matter how many tubes they have you hooked up to.] Cris smiled at Alex and raised his eyebrows. [Of course you can also send while intoxicated and drugged as well and later you might regret a few of those. Not that such a thing has ever happened to me.]
Alfarinn was informed that flu mode was bad and Eiryk was told he didn't need to go in sickcon 1 readiness. Alex even proved it by asking for more blankets.
When he had Rowan back to himself, Cris set his half empty coffee cup down and placed his hands on his partner's shoulders. Alfarinn stood and handed over the rolling stool. Cris gently pushed Rowan down into it and began massaging away some of the tense muscles in his husband's neck and shoulders. Rowan had been standing for hours, bent over Alex the entire time to make sure the surgery went exactly as planned. He could use the seat and some rest. Since Rowan wasn't going to get any of the latter for a little while yet then at least he could have the first thing.
Having everyone in there was nice; Rowan opened up his senses, ignoring the burn his empathy caused, and read Alexander when the room was full. Yes, having friends here was definitely what he wanted. His emotions were hazy and even Rowan felt slightly pain-med drunk from them, but there was nothing there that was unusual.
He heard Cris's voice in his head and skimmed his hand up his husband's back, fingertips caressing the nape of his neck, thumb brushing the curve of his shoulder. Cris had to be the sweetest person Rowan knew. He tilted his head, looking at Alex, and smiled.
[He's stoned off his nut, love,] he answered with silent amusement, shared only with Cris. [He's just fine for now. A lot of people respond to anesthesia by needing a good, long nap. Ironic, but true. We put Alex's body through a lot today. Fatigue and drugs are throwing him for a loop. I doubt he'll be awake much longer.]
He bit back a yawn of his own; it was well past his bedtime. All of their bedtimes really. Taking another glance at the monitors he nodded to himself, then turned when Kem spoke.
"No reason we can't have you home in a few days," he said cheerfully. "Becky and the others are getting a room ready for you until you're all right to be moved up to your apartment. It won't be long, I promise."
He had considered trying to hook everything up in his friends' apartment but decided against it. There were supplies he might need for Alex in the event of an emergency that he needed to have and that couldn't be moved out of the clinic, not to mention he wasn't staffed to have off-site caretakers. So Alex would just have to remain there for the next few days. It would be nice though, a private room, bathroom, comfortable bed, and round the clock support.
His plans took a back seat as soon as Cris gently propelled him down onto the stool Alfarinn vacated. "Oh," Rowan breathed a barely-audible sigh as Cris began to gently rub his neck and shoulders. He turned to kiss Cris's hand when it was close enough, close to the shiny wedding band, then leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and arching up into Cris's relaxing hands. A hundred teasing remarks came to mind but he bit his lip and held them back; he wasn't going to say them in front of everyone else because he was actually enjoying not being in the spotlight for once, and also because Cris was rendering him incapable of speech with his impromptu massage. He did let a little moan of pleasure escape, though, as his husband worked out a particularly tough knot in his neck and he felt it give.
Abandoning his glamour on Alex for a few moments he wrapped Cris up in his own 'sending,' a blanket of love and warmth and gratitude, so Cris could feel for himself what his gestures meant to Rowan. Sometimes, words just weren't necessary.
Eiryk confirmed with a wry smile even as Alex giggled groggily. It looked like they weren't going to have to worry about that as Alex asked for something. Of course it just made Eiryk worry.
"Should he still be cold?"
He fussed at Rue as he absently stroked Alex's hair while Alex rested his head on Eiryk's arm.
He beamed at Kem's reassurance. The sooner they could get Alex back home the better. In fact, some one was going to have to drug him and carry him out of here if they expected him to leave. He'd have to stay awake but it would be a small price to pay.
"I should have brought your blanket. I didn't think of that before."
The soft blanket he'd made for Alex for Christmas a few years ago. That way Alex would quite literally be covered in his love; a security blanket in reverse almost.
"I can get it if you want. Or we can have it ready for you at home. "
That might be better. He'd not have to worry about someone stealing it or ruining it here. It would be a lot safer back at the towers with Rowan and his staff.
He smiled softly as Cris took care of Rue. It was good that someone could do something for thier partner and gods knew that Rowan had done enough for he and Alex today that he deserved some pampering, even just that little massage. He'd have to do something nice for the two of them once Alex was well. Something about that little scene and Kem and Aishe together, even Alfarin's courteously relinquishing the stool to Rowan, gave him a bit more hope. They would get through this.
Impulsively he kissed Alex's temple. He was still cold, but he seemed to be warming up. It would all be alright.
Out of the corner of her eye she could see Cris sit Rowan down and rub his shoulders. They always made her feel happy. Aishe had only known Cris for a short time compared to Kiamhaat and Alfarinn of course, but even she had seen the difference in Cris when Rowan arrived in Nachton. The two of them were so obviously in love, still in that blissful newlywed stage which seemed to be a lot like the blissful romancing stage they'd been in for... a couple of years. Maybe they would never stop being like that. Aishe hoped not.
Her eyes feel on Eiryk, who hadn't let go of Alex's hand. Now Alex leaned against Eiryk's arm, looking quite content and very sleepy. Eiryk was brushing his fingers through Alex's short hair. Aishe smiled and leaned forward over Eiryk's shoulder, wrapping her arm across his chest, hugging him, and kissing his cheek.
Rowan answered Eiryk's question about the cold, his voice sounding slightly muffled as he was bent forward. "He'll be fine," he said. "The body loses heat in surgery. Takes a little time to warm it up again, all the way through. His temperature is still a little on the low side of 98.6, that's why he's still feeling it. The blankets will do the trick."
There was nothing like having your own personal doctor to answer every little question. Even if said doctor was not watching right this second, on account of being thoroughly well-massaged.
"I can bring your blanket back if you want it, Alex," Aishe offered. "I don't think wild horses could drag Eiryk out of here."
They'd be leaving soon; they had all wanted to see Alex and spend a little time with him, let him know they were here, but he was obviously tired and needed to rest. They weren't about to wear him out with a prolonged visit. Rowan would probably stay as well, and that meant someone would be present to make sure Eiryk got a little rest. The two of them could look out for each other.
[We are going to have to drag Eiryk out of here eventually,] Kem sent to Aishe, [or at the very least we can take turns sitting with Alex while Eiryk sleeps a little, even if it's in a chair in the corner.]
She nodded at him. Rowan had shared with them on one occasion he anxiety he felt about working such long shifts at the hospital. He'd always feared he would fall asleep on a stretcher somewhere and no one would be able to wake him, and then he'd be discovered. Kem understood. If Eiryk was going to stay here, one of the handful of them who didn't sleep like the dead would make sure he got a few hours himself.
[Yes,] Aishe sent back. [If Alex wants his blanket I can go home, sleep a few hours, and bring it back to him. Then I'll knock Eiryk over the head with something blunt.]
[Tact, sweetheart,] Kem reminded her mildly.
Out loud, he said, "I don't think either of them are going anywhere any time soon. Maybe we should give Alex some quiet time. Anything you can think of you want or need, either of you, text one of us and we'll make sure you get it."
With that he and Aishe moved toward the door, waiting on whoever else was going to join them. Rowan would probably stay, and Alfarinn would probably go, but Kem wasn't sure if Cris planned to stay here or go back to Liefde for a little while.
He watched Rowan moving around the room, getting another blanket and then heading back to Cris. His friend's hands lighted on his husband's shoulders and Alfarinn could feel the concern for Rowan coming off Cris in waves. It wasn't worry exactly but more loving care. It was sweet. He stood up then and rolled the stool over to the two of them.
Cris settled Rowan into and started kneading and rubbing Rowan's shoulders and neck. His friend's attention was still on Alex, at least in part, with occasional glances down at the redhead beneath his hands.
It seemed he wasn't going to get to see this flu mode in action. Alfarinn had a suspicion that it was entertaining if not entirely beneficial for Alex.
There was a blanket that seemed important. Alex appeared a little too out of it to think so at the moment but he would most likely enjoy the familiar smell and feel of home when he woke up later. A cozy blanket sounded like a very good idea; Alex could hide beneath it and sleep without all this crisp antiseptic smelling hospital air bothering him.
Kem suggested that some of them leave so that Alex could get more sleep. He nodded and went back by the bed. "Happy dreams and lots of rest. We will see you soon.â€ Alfarinn gave Alex's shoulder a squeeze and then joined Kem and Aishe.
"You staying or going?â€ He looked over at Cris, who looked down at Rowan. Silent words were exchanged and Cris announced he was staying. Alfarinn nodded. "Don't terrorize the hospital staff.â€ His friend gave him his best neutral stare and pretended to have no idea what he could possibly mean. Alfarinn waved to everyone and then headed out the door. On the way out he tried to convince Aishe to have a wheelchair race with him in the lobby and several other terrible plans until they were back out in the parking lot and headed back to The Towers.
((OOC: Alfarinn, Kem and Aishe Out ))
It was nice to be able to communicate that way with his sore throat. He wished he and Eiryk could do that. Would they talk all the time? He sent his question to Cris, before enough time passed that he wouldn't be able to respond. [Do you and Rue talk all day like this? All the time?]
Meanwhile he was given the blanket he had asked for and he relaxed beneath the new warmth. He gave a little 'mmm' of contentment and looked at Eiryk when his fiance seemed concerned. "Eiryk." Alex squeezed Eiryk's hand to get his attention. "S'ok," he murmured. "I'm not that cold, I just like how it feels."
He was a little chilly but the blankets helped a lot and mostly he really did love the sensation of the warmth. The blanket Eiryk had made for him became the center of attention and Alex listened to them all discuss it for a moment before getting the motivation to voice his own opinion after Aishe asked him directly. It had been very easy to slip back into a half-sleep state but the topic at hand had piqued his interest enough to respond.
"I don't want it here," he said. "Don't want it to smell like hospital."
While it would be so very nice to have his favorite blanket - hell, it was probably his favorite possession altogether - his blanket smelled like home, like Thora and Eiryk, like mead, like clean carpets and things Alex enjoyed about their apartment. He didn't want to be reminded of the hospital when he wrapped himself up in it.
"Rather it be waiting at home, and I can wrap up in it then. There are other blankets in the guest bedroom closet," he said, looking at Aishe. She smiled and nodded. Any of those would do. They would still smell like home and it wouldn't matter so much if they took part of the hospital back with them.
When Aishe, Kem, and Alfarinn appeared to be leaving Alex said goodbye to each of them, with a little murmur of thanks for coming to see him and staying all day to wait. When they had left he sighed and closed his eyes. The room seemed much quieter and much bigger. He turned his head toward Eiryk but that was all he could do with his leg stretched out and elevated.
"I can't lie on my side can I Rue?"
Alex somehow figured the answer would be no; he was feeling very little pain at the moment, just a strange sense of detachment from his leg so he knew the pain meds were working, and probably whatever local they'd used as well. He was probably supposed to stay just the way they'd positioned him, for now.
Alex asked him a question about almost that exact thing. [Yes, I talk to him as often as I can, when he doesn't need to be absolutely concentrating or I don't. He has a way to contact me if he wants me to send to him about something.] Cris thought of the bracelets he had made and how useful they had become. [He kept us updated on the surgery and I relayed the messages to everyone in the waiting room. And Kem and I can keep tabs on work while we are away through those we've left in charge.] Cris smiled. [Some of my people live in fear of the personal send.]
The others headed for the door. A quick conference with Rowan let him know that Rowan was staying so he let Alfarinn know that he was staying also. It was a good idea to have someone around who could wake up the deep sleepers if either of them decided to take a nap. But really wanted to stay with Rowan and be there to support his friends.
He pulled himself out of his minor hazy fog to reassure Eiryk about Alex's temperature. Alex was recovering nicely; he'd been reasonably alert as they'd wheeled him to his room, which was to be expected with all the lights and the noises of the hospital stimulating him. Once in here though, with the dim lights and relatively little noise (Alex's room was in a corner of the hospital and farthest away from the nurse's station), the IV cocktail he was on took over and he dropped back into a fog quickly.
Rowan picked up his glamour on Alex again, letting love and comfort wash over their friend. "No sweetheart," he said. "You can't sleep on your side. You've got to stay where you are for a little while. Okay?"
"Okay," Alex agreed, sleepily cooperative. He closed his eyes again and Rowan was pretty sure he was minutes from sleep this time.
Good timing for the crew to leave, which they did after saying their good-byes, Aishe promising to bring a warm blanket from the guest room when she returned later that night.
When the room was quiet again Rowan smiled when he noted that Alex was definitely asleep, his head tilted to the side, no longer on Eiryk's arm, but one hand gently curled around Eiryk's wrist. Rowan raised his head and sat up. He swung around on the stool to face Cris, spread his legs to pull his husband close, and wrapped his arms around him, pressing his cheek against the flat muscles of Cris's stomach. He stayed there for a long moment, then gave Cris one last squeeze before turning back to Eiryk.
"I know you're going to think I'm crazy, Eiryk, but now is a perfect time for you to get some sleep. Alex is gong to be out for hours and Cris and I are here to watch over you both. That way you'll be well rested to sit with Alex during the day when you're both stuck here and he's more awake."
Rowan suspected Eiryk's emotions would jump out to the fore first, but Eiryk was also a hardened warrior. He should know that, when preparing for battle or in the thick of one, you caught sleep where you could and trusted your comrades to watch your back. Hopefully those instincts would awaken in him and he would realize that right now was, actually, the best time for him to catch a nap. In the morning Rowan planned to go home with Cris and sleep for the day; two of Alexander's doctors would be in by six and Rowan knew they'd watch over him well.
It wasn't the kind of memory you wanted to hang on to but it could have been woolen armor for them both.
"It won't be bad." Eiryk said to Alex about not sleeping on his side. "It's a big bed we'll both still fit."
There would be no issues snuggling together once they got home. Even if it had been a smaller bed they would make it work, Eiryk would find a way to wrap around Alex.
As people left Eiryk said his thanks for staying with them but he didn't leave Alex's side. He couldn't. It had been very sweet of them all not only to come foe Alex but to stay. It had meant a lot to him and possibly more to Alex.
He watched Cris and Rue for a second as he held on to Alex's hand even as he slept. It helped a little, that display of affection was rather reassuring. But he did disagree with Rue a bit.
"No. I'm fine for a while. I want to be here when he wakes up. I might need some coffee though."
Maybe Pak would bring him some. She wasn't great at making the good stuff but not bad and honestly even her worst attempt at one of his blends would be better than this hospital sludge. Then she could bring the blanket for Aishe too.
He was tired though. It would be nice if he could catch a nap though. He just wouldn't leave Alex was all and he wasn't the cat nap type although having Rue and Cris about made it more tempting.