please enjoy. i've put way too much of myself in this so i really really hope people will like it even just a tiny bit.
It had been a long day, Christian felt drained yet the more he desired to just sleep, to let the black nothingness take over, the more he couldn’t. Laying on the bed, his tears filled eyes wide open, staring at the barely lit ceiling as he couldn’t stop the rushing thoughts from attacking his mind.
It had been a long day, flashes from the accident assaulting him as soon as he let his eyes close, it had all happened so fast, all he could remember clearly being his voice calling out for him and then the clash, the fall, the noises all around him, the flashing lights and the scream, someone had been screaming, maybe a passerby, maybe himself, Christian didn’t know.
A sob escaped his lips, he hadn’t let himself cry, not even once, during the whole day, he had stood by everyone’s side in silence, offering them comfort when he could, doing his duty, not allowing himself to break, to let his frail walls crumble.
Yet he was alone now, laying on a bed that felt way too big for his lonely frame, alone as tears welled in his eyes, but he still refused to let them go, holding onto the hope that he could endure it without breaking.
But Christian was only human, his chest aching at each breath he took, his throat held in a tight invisible grip and mind overwhelmed by uncountable thoughts and feelings, regert, anger, sorrow, hate, everything in him was a dark blob that threatened to devour him from the inside.
Christian was only human, his nose tingled and tears broke the dam, streaming down his cheeks and temples uncontrolled.
They were hot against his skin but he didn’t feel like brushing them away, there was no need for that, he knew they wouldn’t stop any time soon.
Sitting up Christian let his back rest against the headboard, his knees brought to his chest and arms hugging them tightly, sobs shaking up his frame, eyes looking straight against him where he knew dozens of polaroids where smiling back at him, cruelly reminding him of what had once been, of what he himself had destroyed.
Christian knew it had all been his fault, no one had voiced it but he knew everyone was aware of that too, he had seen it in the way they had looked at him.
Another sob shook him up, turning his head to the side he let the night sky comfort his pained heart, the city was just as lively as always, the wide window framing it just like always yet something felt different, something was missing and he knew all too well what it was.
If he focused enough he could picture the younger still there, sitting on the large windowsill and facing the glass surface, observing the view as if that was the first time, honeyed skin kissed by the moonlight, starry eyes admiring the dark expanse.
That had been such a common view, Christian had woken up in a cold bed and found the other sitting there so many times in the past months, yet he had never stopped feeling that deep pain each time, it had always disappeared the moment their eyes had met, but the fear came back every time the older was left alone, the fear that one day Ian wouldn’t be there looking at the night, but gone, far from him, too far for him to reach.
If he focused enough Christian could lie to himself and believe that memory was true, but there was no will left in him to do so, Ian wasn’t there, no, and that was all his fault, he had lost him and it was all his fault.
Christian knew that even when the younger would wake up there was no way they could come back to what they had, which was the right thing, he knew, but it still hurt horrendously.
The tears didn’t stop streaming down his cheeks before hours had passed by, the night subduing to the dawn which greeted the still wide awake boy with its light and warmth, bringing little to no comfort to him.
Christian looked at the clock by his side, a hand going to his cheeks to brush the now dried paths of his cheeks, his throat still felt like held in a tight knot, air struggling to make way through it, eyes menacing to let new tears escape. He wasn’t sure though if he had any tear left to cry, he felt so empty, as if everything had left him, flowing away with the salt and leaving nothing but the empty shell of him.
The clock marked 6 a.m., Christian averted his eyes from it, looking for something, anything, to focus on, but nothing was found.
Few moments passed by and his attention went back to the polaroids hung on the wall, the light was now filtering through the window glass enough to define the shapes portrayed in them.
Ian was a constant in the majority of the pictures, just like he had been in Christian’s life, something that never changed, never been left out, always there looking at him from afar, smiling at him and loving him in ways that Christian had almost feared.
Truth to be told his fears were many, uncountable, when it came to the younger. So much could go wrong, terribly wrong, yet it had always only been him the one considering all the eventualities.
Ian… he had always been the reckless one, smugly smirking at him and getting away with everything.
Suddenly a loud sound had him jumping, a soft gasp leaving his parted lips and eyes fixing on the screen of his phone, few texts were quickly appearing one after the other, pushing him to move to reach out to take the small object.
There were few missed calls he had somehow not notice and some texts, all of them coming from the others, Theo had called and so had Liam, Gid had sent a short text, asking him to text back as soon as he could, Oliver had done the same, not missing to ask how he was doing few minutes after.
Those had all been sent earlier during the night, but the last ones, coming from Noah were what had him jump off of the bed, throw on the first thing he managed to find and leave.
There had been several texts coming from the older, yet his mind couldn’t stop focusing on that last one.
Reach us at the hospital .
Christian was shaking, his arms trembling and lips quivering, eyes red and puffy, nose running.
He was a mess, yet there was not even a single cell in him who cared enough to fix that.
He had everyone’s eyes on him, even the doctor’s, their weight adding up to his burden’s, the nurses’ murmurs barely reaching him but he was well aware of that.
He knew that wouldn’t it have been for the wall behind him he’d be on the ground, legs feeling weak and everything in him hurting.
The moment the doctor had spoken, when Noah had then looked at him with empty red eyes, he had felt like imploding.
Then Liam had taken those few steps dividing them, doing what no one had dared to do, he had halted and looked straight at his best friend, his soulmate, as he crumbled under the weight of what was happening. Christian had dared to look back at him and then his implosion had reversed, everything being too much to be kept in his small martoried body.
No one had talked, no one had dared to.
Christian knew they were still blaming him, of course they were, he had been the one leading them all to that point, he himself blamed his stupid stupid stupid selfish persona the most.
There was no way to know how much time had passed before Oliver softly nudged him, telling him something, words he could not grasp, that he didn’t really care to, yet shortly after Christian had a hand on the bottom of his back and another holding his elbow, all five of them surrounding him as they walked, where to he could not know.
Everything felt so distant, as if he was in a bubble, it held him captive and there was nothing that could fix it.
Christian was aware that they were leaving the hospital, the glass door opening before him making him meet the chilly air of the morning, then flashes and voices, so blinding, so loud, surrounded him, piercing through the bubble’s wall and through him.
He could feel them scream his name, asking questions he could not understand, then… then someone let out Ian’s name and he halted, frozen on the spot as the events of the day before hit him like a truck, his mind catapulted back to the previous morning, his shaking legs nearly giving out, but the hand holding his elbow suddenly became two, the new one noticeably colder.
The hand on his back pushed and he willed, forced, his legs to move, to comply.
Five young men were silently sitting in the small room, the flames in the fireplace crackling and breaking the heavy silence that had fallen upon them. No one dared to speak, to voice their thoughts.
Time flowed, passing by unstoppably, yet no one had left their spot, Liam had taken possession of the armchair by the fairplace, his knees brought to his chest and eyes observing the dancing flames, Theo and Oliver were not much far, sitting on the small couch right in front of the fire, they sat close, sides touching and drawing comfort from each other’s presence. Gideon had left for the kitchen just a few minutes earlier and now was back with a fuming cup held in his hands, Noah had eyed him worriedly, afraid of the moment the cup would fall shattering on the ground, he knew none of them would be able to clean after that.
His own mind was a mess but he stubbornly refused to let it show.
The young man was standing by the marble fireplace’s side, facing Liam who never dared to meet his eyes, turning to check on the others with regular intervals, nothing in the room changed though, it was like everything was frozen. He was sure something in them was.
A sigh left someone’s lips, maybe his own, he couldn’t really tell, but Noah took that as his clue to finally speak up, knowing he had to, needing to do that.
-Guys…- that was meant to catch their attention but when he saw Gideon, Oliver and Liam simultaneously jump he regretted having let the word out.
Yet Theo was looking at him, eyes holding something that, somehow, gave him enough strength to keep going.
-We have to talk to him about it.-
That was something everyone in that room was aware of, they had tried to avoid it, but it was clear how the matter was now unavoidable.
Since the incident had happened, over two weeks before, they all had witnessed the way Christian had slowly embarked on a path of self destruction, isolating himself from everyone, refusing even to talk to them.
Ian was family to them, he was their brother, didn’t matter what blood said, didn’t matter if Theo was the only one legally bonded to him, he was family.
They had all seen the younger grow and become the person he had been, become the successful artist he had always dreamed to be, yet they all knew what he meant to Christian, how they had saved each other in ways none of them could really comprehend.
Noah waited for his words to sink in, there was no right way to address it, but the doctor had been clear, there wasn’t much left to do, and even though the decision was on Theo Ian was part of their weird, juxtaposed family and Christian was too.
Oliver was the first one to speak up, his voice low but firm, words leaving him without breaks or uncertainties, as if he had repeated that same discourse over and over in his mind, as if he had learned it by heart.
-He won’t agree, Christian won’t agree for sure, he’s already blaming himself for what happend, already bringing himself to the brink of death, do you really think he’ll let us do that? Burning all the chances he’s got?-
-He’s got no chances, didn’t you hear the doctor?- that was Theo speaking up, voice firm and holding a hint of anger, frustration and something horrendously similar to desperation. Noah waited before letting out his own thoughts, wanting them to express themselves first, wanting to analyse everything before speaking.
-How can you say that? How dare you? He’s your own brother for fuck’s sake.-
Liam’s voice broke up several times as he spoke, eyes welling and hands held in tight fists, Noah was sure he'd seen them trembling.
Maybe Gideon wanted it to be scolding but all Noah could feel in his voice was a desperate plea.
-No, don’t ‘Liam’ me. You can’t be serious. And I can’t get why you even feel like asking Christian, Oliver is right: he won’t agree, he’ll fight with all he’s got and so will I.- he stopped to take in a shaky breath then spoke again, turning to face Theo as tears let the corners of his eyes.
-I… I know it’s on you, I do, but please… please give him a little bit longer.-
Theo was ready to answer but Liam didn’t let him, talking as fast as his shaky voice would allow him.
-Do you remember when he couldn’t get that song right? How he was so off tune that we all cringed hearing him as he tried again and again to get it right?-
Theo didn’t speak, nodding as he tried to not show how much the memories were hurting him.
-Remember what you told us?- another curt nod. Liam nodded too, opening his mouth to speak up but his voice got lost among other four, tunes different, shaking and breaking, high pitched and husky, a soft whisper and a firm assertion, cracking but voicing what felt like a sentence.
-Give him time, he’ll make it.-
That short exchange of words had meant to be kept between them, none of the young men wanting Christian to witness it. There wasn’t a real reason behind it, yet they all had always acted like that, keeping the bad things from him, fearing that those few could hurt him beyond repair. So the short discussion they had had about whether or not firm those dreadful papers had, too, been meant to be kept away from the young man.
Yet they had all momentarily forgotten how Christian had, too, been there.
Since the day at the hospital he had closed himself in his own apartment, refusing to see any of them, refusing to do anything that wasn’t, in the end, going to destroy him.
To date he couldn’t recall the way time had passed by, everything had been so fast yet so slow, Christian couldn’t remember what he had been doing, if he had ever left his room, if he had slept or simply stared at the city framed by the window. All he could remember was the way, at some point, all the anger, frustration, guilt, everything he had felt and that had overwhelmed him had turned into pain.
It had felt like a dark hole taking place in him, devouring everything else and becoming all he had been able to feel. Slowly, as he had witnessed the sun travel in the sky several times, the pain had become like a dull ache in his chest, it had been there, impossible to not notice, to feign it wasn’t there, but it had allowed him to breath, to leave his room and take a shower, eat even.
That had been when Liam had stormed into his apartment, his copy of the keys noisingly thrown somewhere and voice loud, so loud Christian had winced and turned, unable to face the reality once more.
But that had taken him there, or better, dragged. Because that was what had happened, Liam had dragged him all the way to the car and then to Noah’s apartment, not speaking a word, occasionally gifting him a smile that was maybe meant to be reassuring but that had only scared him further.
When they had reached the apartment he had found everyone in there, they had been sitting in the living room, silence surrounding them as all they could do was staring at each other, Christian had felt lost, as if those looking back at him weren’t the men he had grown up with, those he had shared the best and worst of himself with, as if strangers were now mercilessly analysing his every move.
Deep down though he had hoped that that wasn’t the case, that that wasn’t what they had become: strangers forced to acknowledge each other's presence.
Christian had stood there, not knowing what to do, Liam standing by his side but not offering any explanation, he had stood there and tried his best to not meet any of their eyes, too afraid of what he could’ve found in them.
In his peripheral vision he saw someone move, who he couldn’t tell as the floor was all he willed his eyes to see, but then the frame came nearer and a hand rested on his shoulder. It was cold, familiar, unpredictable, surprising him enough to make the young man rise his head.
Theo was looking at him and it felt like staring into a mirror, Christian saw himself in those eyes, he saw all his pain, all his guilt and every single thought that had been tormenting him.
Something in him snapped, he couldn’t tell where the change laid yet as he acted without any second thought, he knew he wasn’t alone, never had been.
So Christian had let his arms rise and circle the other’s body, head resting in the crook of Theo’s neck as tears wetted his skin.
-It’s okay Christianie, we’ve got you.-
That was what Theo had told him, that had been all it had taken for Christian to regret the past days with all of his self. They were family yet Christian had left them when they all had been broken, when they had needed each other the most.
They had stayed together in the apartment for the following days, never speaking about what had brought them there, hardly ever speaking at all, simply finding comfort in each other’s company as there wasn’t anything else they could do.
Christian hadn’t been able to sleep during those days, the accident coming back to him every time his eyes closed, so when he had finally reached his limit, his body unable to take it any longer, the five young men had let him sleep, hoping that would help him even if just the tiniest bit.
So they had sat in the living room and somehow they had addressed that topic that had been burdening them all.
The original plan was to tell Christian the day he had gotten to Noah’s apartment, yet all of them and seen him, the dark circles under his eyes, the lines of his face sharper than ever, his body had been trembling slightly, eyes welling and bony hands held in tight fists.
None of them had been able to follow the plan.
Yet the words had now been spoken, all they could do was to keep their hopes up, trust the youngest to be strong, once more.
They had meant to keep it away from Christian, even more now that they had decided to wait, to not give up on him.
But Christian had woken up at some point, hearing voices coming from the other room, hearing Liam’s broken words.
It hadn’t taken much for him to understand, to let the weight of their words fall on him, so heavy that his legs gave out, bringing him on his knees as even just the thought of them doing that was enough to destroy him.
They weren’t going to, he knew, he knew, he knew . Yet… yet his mind was fixated on the possibility of a world without him, of the emptiness in him growing even bigger with no trace of hope.
A blurred image flashed before his eyes, the last one he had of him, there, laying on the hospital bed as the doctor spoke.
Ian had… it hadn’t been him the one there, there had been nothing of him in that lifeless frame.
The image didn’t go away, it didn’t matter how hard Christian tried, how tight his eyes were closed, how much it hurt, deep down he still knew that had been his own fault and no one else’s. That it had been him bringing Ian there.
-Christian.- The voice reached him faintly, filtering through his sobs and thoughts, he hadn’t realized he had been crying until that moment, until the voice had brought back enough of him to realise how the sobs were shaking up his frame and blocking his breath, how the tears had been streaming, his hands on his face scratching the skin, trying to erase his own mind’s creations.
-Christian.- the voice came again and he looked up, trying to find its source, trying to find a way out, desperately holding onto it.
Gid’s hands went on his own, holding them carefully, taking them away from the now red skin as someone else helped him to stand.
Christian felt lost, suddenly numb as they led him to sit on the couch.
No one spoke, they all knew what had brought him to that and there was no remedy to it, the men had all feared that bringing up Ian could do no good to him, but it had now happened and there were no words to make it better, nothing could do that.
Christian stayed in the apartment that was nothing like his own for days, those had felt like more, but a rational part of him knew it had been barely a week. Yet that short amount of time had done wonders to him. The others had never left him alone, always making sure to distract him from his wandering mind. Gid had taken it upon himself to make the younger gain what he had lost in weight, he had observed sternly at the peeking bones and closed himself in the small, unused till that moment, kitchen, serving dishes after dishes, so many that the six of them struggled not to leave any left.
When Liam had raised his eyes to Noah, a hint of worry in them, the latter had shrugged, well aware that it was the older’s way to relieve the stress accumulated.
When they hadn’t been busy after Gid’s insane production of food, they had been hodled up in the small living room, the screen lit and low chatter filling the room.
That had been their routin for around a week, Christian hadn’t been really there with them, his mind visibly somewhere else, but it had been better than before, he had looked at them from time to time, he had let the outline of a weak smile appear on his lips when something particularly funny happened (blame either Liam or SeokGid for that).
And so they had eaten and smiled and let the pain settle, each one in their own (more or less healty) way, for around a week, until one morning Christian had looked out of the window of the guest room he had been sleeping in and had realized that something was still, undeniably, missing.
As he walked out of the room, through the still dark corridor and the weirdly silent living room, he tried to put together as many convincing words as he could, well aware that he was going to face a long extenuating discussion as soon as he’d let out his intentions.
Christian stopped right before the open door of the kitchen, two low voices reaching him, but he didn’t stay there for long, feet moving quickly and bringing him inside. There he found Gid and Noah looking at him.
The older was standing by the stoves, a pot on the flames and a spicy scent floating all around them, Noah was sitting on one of the high stools by the aisle, a fuming cup of coffee in his hands and a smile on his lips as he greeted the newcomer.
Gid didn’t speak a word, looking carefully at the younger as the latter neared and sat on a stool, Christian, on the other hand, knew he had to speak before all the courage to do so would leave him, but it was hard and his fidgeting hands looked weirdly interesting.
Few silent moments passed by and the scent of smoke filled the space around him, almost overpowering the spicy one, then Gid spoke, the sound so sudden that Christian jumped with surprise, looking at the older with eyes wide and mouth agape.
-Do you want anything?-
Truth to be told there was much Christian wanted, but as Gid turned to face the stoves he knew that was not what he had been asked about.
All he could do was hum lowly, something that could both be an assertion and a negation, yet he knew that Gid was going to take it however he wanted to.
Sitting by his side Noah was looking at him, the younger was well aware of the other’s gaze on him yet he couldn’t turn to face him, his eyes were fixated on Gid’s back, he moved fluidly in the kitchen, as if it was his own, hands reaching for tools and ingredients with sure moves, it rose several questions in Christian’s head but he let it be for the time being, the spicy scent coming from the stoves distracting him, his mouth salivating as he anticipated the rich meal that was soon going to be served.
Noah was still addressing occasional glances to him from time to time, lingering for short moments before throwing himself back in his conversation with Gid while moving around the kitchen, the older had ordered them to set the table and so they had done. Not much passed before the kitchen was filled with a small crowd of six, each young man taking seat around the aisle, the chaos filled the room, chats and laughs taking everything that didn’t belong to that moment away.
-Gid ...- Liam’s whiny voice resounded once again louder than the others bringing a high pitched chuckle out of someone, maybe Oliver.
-Stop complaining, it’s almost done.- Gid’s voice was calm, holding nothing but fondness and amusement, it made Christian smile, well aware that it took much more than a few complaints to irk the older off.
When everyone gathered in the living room Christian was so full he felt like exploding, a satisfied smile taking place on his lips as the five shapes settled all around him.
There was a rustle coming from Liam and Oliver, the two fighting over the controller, a collective groan rising as the younger grinned victoriously.
It wasn’t that Liam’s tastes weren’t good but… none of them was really willing to rewatch Zootopia for the seventeenth time that week.
When the evening came Theo rose from his spot around the table, leaving the on going dinner with something worrying in his eyes, right hand holding his buzzing phone tightly. No words were spoken after he left heading to one of the bedrooms, there was no need for that, everyone knew who that call was from, none of them felt brave enough to voice that shared fear.
Christian felt something in him contort, twisting and knotting, leaving him breathless and his eyes tried to land on something that would distract him, but it was like looking at a mirror, four faces reflected his own and there was no escape.
He noticed, mindlessly, the way his nails had started to scratch the skin on the back of his other hand, gaze lost as he tried to figure out what was going on in the other room. But Theo’s voice struggled to reach them, the sound nothing more than indistinguishable noise even in the silence that had fallen all around them.
When he came back there was an angered scowl on his face, hands held in tight fists as he let himself fall heavily on the chair.
No one spoke, no one dared to ask, Christian felt a warm hand gently covering his own and force him to stop his unconscious scratching, he turned to face Oliver but the older wasn’t looking at him, his eyes were on Theo, his hand didn’t leave the younger’s, though he started to slowly caress the reddened skin.
They all stayed like that for a while, few beats passed by then Theo sighed, visibly forcing his muscles to relax, his face losing the scowl and voice low but dipping with uncountable feelings, among those one stood out, so strongly that Christian felt the knot in him twist tighter and something break.
-It was dr. Kim.- he paused, as if those words could explain what their exchange of words had been about, but as no one moved, let out a sound, Theo spoke again.
-He was telling me about Ian’s conditions.- an intake of air came from somewhere around the table but Christian couldn’t find it in himself to look for the source, hands twisting in Oliver’s hold and fingers itching to rub , to scratch . To dig red paths and distract him from that moment right there and then.
-You told him that you’re not gonna change your mind, didn’t you?-
Theo didn’t even answer Liam, the younger’s voice was dripping with desperation and fear, something Christian could easily relate to, he wasn’t looking at Theo, knowing what his answer would be.
No, of course he wouldn’t give up on Ian.
Not yet, the cruelest part of him added.
That was when Christian rose from his spot around the table, a sudden fear taking hold of him and leading the young man down a dangerous path, he knew where his thoughts were heading, he had been there and it had taken him days and days to get out of it.
He could recognize it, the way his body and mind were reacting to that whole situation… Christian had to get out of there, not bearing the gazes suddenly focused on him. He could see the way Gid got up, maybe trying to stop him from leaving but his hands were already on the knob of the door, eyes tearing up for reasons he couldn’t really understand, but maybe it wasn’t that hard to comprehend. Just the hint of them giving up on Ian threatened to bring him back to the state he had fallen into after the accident.
The night sky looked back at him through the window glass, it felt like everything had gotten back to normal, as if his staying at Noah’s had only been a dull parenthesis and now it had been closed, forgotten, yet he could feel how something in him had changed, there was a feeling similar to acceptance settling in him, not making the pain and sadness less strong but somehow making it easier to deal with.
Christian looked at the dark sky trying to find answers in it, the marble of the windowsill was cold against his skin, reaching him through the fabric of his sweats and occasionally gifting shivers to him. The clock marked almost three in the morning, it was late yet sleep didn’t seem to find his way to him, his mind was wide awake like it hadn’t been in weeks, yet no real thoughts flooded in it, there was a foreign peace taking place in him, Christian had allowed himself to not linger on his pain, acknowledging its presence but choosing to ignore it at his best.
Time passed by and Christian found himself mindlessly humming to a slow tune, a melody that had once followed him everywhere for days, words about finding each other again coming to the surface in his mind. He remembered the falling rain sound at the beginning, the low and lulling voice responding clear in his mind, touching every string of his aching heart.
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