Bren locks the door and leans his tired body against it. A sigh emanates from him as he pushes off the wall and walks towards Jax. The young man sits on the couch staring blankly into space. He calls Jax’s name and gets no response. He drops quietly to his knees and stares into Jax’s unmoving eyes. Instantly, he is startled by Jax’s stillness and without thinking reaches to feel for his breath. Relieved he could feel his slow but steady breath. His fingertips slowly move down to Jax’s lips and then they slide gently across to his cheek. He swallows as his mind races as he again recognizes the feelings he is having. He again looks into Jax’s eyes but instead of meeting the motionless ones of before, he is met with wide and alert ones. They both stare into each other’s eyes for a moment before Bren stands up. His quick movement is matched with an equally quick movement from Jax as he grabs Bren’s sleeve. Bren looks back down at Jax to see his almost pleading eyes. He pulls his arm gently away as he regrets his reactions. He realizes Fuchsia had placed a transparent film dressing over Jax’s stitches and he asks Jax if he wants to shower before laying down. Jax drops his hands weakly to his side and simply nods yes.
Bren feels horrible as they walk to the bathroom. He curses himself, as he wonders how he could do this to Jax. He knows how confused and emotional he is right now, and he is just adding to his problems. Bren shows him where everything is in the bathroom and leaves him to go find something for Jax to sleep in. When he returns to the bathroom, he can still hear the shower running. He knocks on the door several times but doesn't get a response. He turns the knob grateful that Jax hadn’t locked it. He steps into the bathroom and quickly realizes Jax has fallen asleep in the tub. His head was leaning back and he looks quite relaxed. He turns the water off and proceeds to flick Jax’s nose. His eyes fly open and his cheeks turn a bright red as he realizes he is still in the tub and Bren is towering over him. Bren is so tired he can’t hold back his laughter. Jax jerks the towel out of his hand and huffs, which only makes Bren laugh harder. He puts the clothes on the counter and leaves Jax alone in the bathroom. It didn’t take long before Jax was dressed and out of the bathroom.
Bren went to his bedroom to change clothes and could hear Jax rummaging through stuff. He hurries and leaves his room and heads to the kitchen to find Jax.
Jax looks almost panicked as he asks Bren for his Blue Cryo.
“Are you sure you should be taking that tonight after everything that has happened?” Bren asks.
Jax rubs his forehead and says that he had gotten another bottle from his dealer and had lost it.
Jax’s breathing was increasing and he was beginning to sweat. He starts to get louder while saying “I don’t know what I will do because Lance isn’t going to give me anymore, not after what happened tonight.”
He starts to cry and looks at Bren and says “I can’t do without them. I have tried, it is too hard.”
Bren tries to walk closer to him and he swats him away and yells “You don’t understand. I didn’t choose to be on them. The doctors told me that they would help me get off of them and then they failed. You have no idea how hard it was when I got out of the hospital. I had no one to depend on. I was alone. You have no idea what I had to do to get them.”
He stops yelling and holds his hands over his mouth while hyperventilating and shaking. His eyes are unfocused and Bren is able to reach his arms around him. He tries to pull away but Bren holds him anyway as he says “I’m sorry!” He asked Jax to focus on his breathing and try to match it. Jax seems to be calming down; as he is now crying softly into Bren’s shoulder.
Bren can just barely hear him as he says “I’m scared Bren! I'm really scared!” They stand there a moment while Bren waits for him to stop crying. When it seems Jax has calmed down enough he tells him to sit on the bar stool. He reaches a cup down and fills it with water and then pulls the bottle of Blue Cryo out of a drawer in the kitchen. Jax is holding his head and Bren asks him if he is ok.
“I have a horrible headache,” he says.
Bren gently nudges him with the cup and he looks up. He takes the cup and the bottle, retrieving three pills from the bottle. Then he shakily hands the bottle back to Bren and asks him if he will keep them for him. His eyes were red and puffy and his face looks paler than usual. Sliding off the chair he turns to ask Bren where he can sleep. Bren says he could take the bed because he is used to just sleeping on the sofa most of the time anyway. Jax nods as Bren leads him to the bedroom. He grabs a pillow and blanket and tells Jax to come and get him if he needs anything during the night. Jax has already grabbed a pillow and curled up on the bed. He simply nods at Bren and closes his eyes.
Bren stares at Jax for a minute before finally leaving the bedroom. He stretches out on the sofa and closes his eyes. He is exhausted but his mind prevents him from sleeping. He thinks back to the conversation with Jax but is startled into alertness by Jax screaming from the bedroom. He runs to the bedroom and finds Jax having what he assumes is a hallucination. He approaches him slowly and calls Jax’s name. Jax is covering his face and says that they have found him and they are in the room. Bren turns the light on, checks the room, and the windows. He looks back at Jax who is sweating and covering his eyes with his hands.
He again calmly approaches Jax and tells him that no one is in the room and he is safe. Jax shakes his head frantically, saying he can hear their voices.
Bren scratches his head and sighs and says “I have checked the room and no one is here. You are safe!”
Jax shakes his head again and says “Please don’t leave me.”
Bren stretches out on the bed beside Jax while thinking of something to talk about.
Bren looks up at the ceiling and asks “Have you ever been to the beach?” Jax shakes his head no, his hands still covering his face.
Bren says “When I was little I used to spend my summers with my grandmother. She lived in a small quiet town close to a beach. Her little cottage was full of objects she had collected from the beach which she called ‘magical gifts from the sea.’ She and I would spend most of our days on the beach together; she would teach me about birds, fish, and shells. When she became tired from our walks she would let me explore the beach freely. I remember her sitting on one of the many heavy driftwoods at the beach, her long white hair blowing untamed in the wind, and a sketchbook in hand. She would often laugh and call me her wild little muse. Sometimes at night she would build a fire on the beach and I would sit nestled in her arms while she told me stories about pirates, mermaids, and even the ghosts of sailors lost at sea.
“I would sneak out to the beach on my own some nights, it felt like a different world. I think I often believed my grandmother’s stories might come true and I might witness something magical. Despite never seeing anything from her stories I still found the sea to be magical. The moonlight and stars reflected in the sea and the sounds of the waves always seemed so calming and wonderful. Of course, when I would get back I would get a light scolding from my grandmother. She never stayed upset with me for long and her scoldings usually were followed by hot cocoa and cookies.
“As I got older, I visited my grandmother less and less, but I always treasured the summers that I had with her and my adventures on the beach. She died when I was in high school, but she left her cottage to me. I haven’t been there in a long time but I think you would like it Jax……...Maybe I can take you there one day. ”
Bren looks over, unsure at what point Jax had uncovered his face and laid down beside him. His eyes almost seem to glow in the dark as he looks into Bren’s eyes. Bren swallows hard and adds, “maybe Fuchsia and Sina might like to see it too!”
Jax smiles and says, “I would like to go with you Bren!”
His eyes close as he quietly says, “I would also like some happy memories,” before falling asleep.