Pairing: Charlie/Colby, Don, Alan
Disclaimer: Belongs to many other people, not me
Summary: What moments mark a friendship, a love, a marriage, a lifetime?
Previous chapters: Pictures in a Wallet
Notes: A little angst. Not too much. Please, Please feedback on this one.
Beta(s): The always wonderful and under apresheated irena_adler .
“That was great. Alan.”
“You ok, dad?”
“I’m fine. Too many chilies.”
“Let me get those plates.”
“No I got ‘em.”
“Your father’s heart is fine. The blockage was in one of the outlaying arteries and for a man his age, it was minor. We’ve seen far worse.”
“So what are you going to do? I mean you’re going to do something right?” Don asked.
“We’ll schedule him for surgery.”
“Heart surgery?” Charlie asked in a panic.
“No, brain surgery.” Don snapped.
“Very noninvasive heart surgery.” The doctor said calmly. “The surgeon will make a small incision about two inches long, we’ll feed in a camera with a laser attachment, we’ll take a look around. Anything we don’t like we’ll zap and suction away. It’s like Star Trek. Very low risk of infection, very low risk of complications, he’ll be out by the end of the week. You have nothing to worry about.”
“What are the odds of complications?” Charlie asked.
“Don’t.” Don said quickly.
“Well, the chances…”
“Don’t. Seriously, doc. He’s a math genius. Give him numbers and he’ll go into a Rainman routine.”
“Don,” Charlie complained.
“When we were kids, we got a puppy. He spent the first week calculating the odds of it getting hit by a car.
“It did get hit by a car!”
“A decade latter when you were in grad school.”
“Your father’s chances are very good.” The doctor said cutting off the brother’s fight. “He’s generally healthy, active, and he has family who obviously cares. That will do far more for his chances that modern medicine ever will.”
Colby held a straw to Alan’s lips. Alan took a small sip of water, wincing as it slid down his raw throat.
“They had you intubated for a while,” Colby explained. “Scrapes up the throat.”
“I was wondering.” Alan looked around the hospital room. “Where are the boys?”
“With the doctor, talking behind your back.”
“With Megan and Larry.”
“Holding on. She’s tough.”
Alan closed his eyes and shook his head. “I feel like a fool.”
“Well, it’s hardly something you could see coming.” Colby replied.
“No, I felt off all day.”
“Too may fried egg sandwiches?”
“They’re an acquired taste,” Alan said with a smile.
“Sure. Among British bachelors.”
“Mad Scottish poets.”
Colby gave an understanding smile.
Alan rubbed at his chest a little. “I get why my chest hurts. Why do my ribs hurt?”
“Um…Don cracked a few doing chest compressions.”
Alan’s face fell, the reality of the situation crashing down. “This was too close, Colby.”
“You’re fine. You were out for like a minute.”
“No. it was too close. There are things I haven’t said. Don, Charlie, there’s things I haven’t taught them yet. Important things.”
“You’ll have plenty of time, Alan.” Colby said trying to sound reassuring.
“I can’t think of leaving my boys yet.”
“You’ve been a good father, they’re good men. Both of them and you’re not going anywhere any time soon.”
Alan sighed and reached for the cup again which Colby held to his lips. “You’re a good man, Colby. I’m glad you’re here.”
Colby gave a slight smile. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
“Did your father ever give you his blessings? Does your family know you’re a good man?”
Colby didn’t want to say that his brothers haven’t spoken to him in over a decade. “He…uh. Well we don’t…”
Alan shook his head. “That’s not good. The blessing is important. Old magic. Keeps things working.”
Colby didn’t know what to say so busied himself with the water jug.
“Come here.” Alan waved him to the bed side. “Kneel.”
Colby knelt by the side of the bed and lowered his head. He felt Alan’s warm hand rest on his head with such care and intent that he got it. This touch was all the things unsaid, it was the words he’d wished his own father had said, the feeling the hell-fire preacher had always said they should have. This was the thing that let Don and Charlie have screaming fits at each other yet forgive and carry on. He took a deep breath and for a moment though he actually felt his own soul, contrite, passive, and blessed.
Don stopped the doctor’s hand as it reached for the door knob. “Wait.”
Don gestured to Charlie to look through the window of the room. They could see Colby’s eyes squeezed shut with heavy emotion. Don took a look at his brother. Charlie had an expression Don had never seen. It was hard to describe. It was of complete calm and yet something more. Alan’s hand slipped from Colby’s head to his face. Words that couldn’t be heard passed between the two men and Colby stood.
Don gave a nod to the doctor who pushed open the door. “Good morning Mr. Eppes,” he said brightly. “How’s that ticker of yours doing today?”
Don watched as Colby quickly went to Charlie’s side and took his hand giving it a squeeze. His dad looked past the doctor to his sons, all three of them, and smiled.
Don gave his father a nod and a smile. ‘This is right’.