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Fic: What About Now? - Chapter 3

December 10th, 2010 (07:33 pm)

Title: What About Now?
Pairing: Jared/Colin
Rating: R
Feedback: Need it!
Disclaimer: NOT TRUE, and hopefully most will never ever happen. I own nothing.
A/N: Story begins at the O2 Arena concert November 30th.

A/N 2: Dedicated in its entirety to the ever lovely and always supportive legolastariel! Thanks for the help with this.

Summary: Jared is fighting for his life. Colin is fighting with himself. And the press is fighting for a story.



Not a word was spoken as Shannon and Tomo drove through the darkened streets of London, following the ambulance at a crazy pace. The Croatian drove competently; eyes focused on staring straight ahead, deliberately keeping his gaze from falling on the rust colored stains of dried blood that were covering his hands, wrapped around the steering wheel. He had not taken the time to wash them. There was no time, he could do that later. Shannon sat in the passenger seat, still in shock; strong hands were clenched into tight fists, resting on the jean clad thighs.

In front of them, the ambulance took a sharp right turn and they followed it into a well-lit parking lot, positioned in front of a massive concrete building. A bright sign in red and white with the words Accidents & Emergency decorated the wall above two sets of sliding doors. In front of the entrance were several people clad in white, apparently ready to receive them.

Tomo pulled into a nearby parking space, well aware that it was a spot for disabled people only. He could move it later. Right now, what was happening in front of the hospital’s doors was much more important to them.

Slamming the car doors behind them, they hurried towards the parked ambulance. The flaps sprang open and a medic jumped out, pulling a gurney with him. Shannon finally regained view of his younger brother and the sight appalled him. Equipment of all kinds covered the singer. The expressive baby blues were shut and dark circles colored the skin around Jared’s eyes purple, making him look unnervingly corpse like. The singer had given up consciousness, but Shannon was relieved to see the slight misting of the breathing mask obscuring the singer’s face.

Several nurses and doctors flocked around the stretcher Jared was on, shouting things back and forth in high speed. The drummer, looking stricken as he jogged after them, was desperately trying to keep his younger brother within his line of sight. Somehow, it went against his every instinct to watch other people help his brother. They were doing his job, while he was completely powerless to help the person he shared a dream, a purpose – a calling with.

The female who had denied Shannon access to the ambulance was methodically relaying everything that had happened to the doctors, spewing terms that Shannon had never in his life heard before, and none of it sounded good to him.

“38-year-old male. Multiple gunshot wounds. Suspected compound fracture of the right femur. Acute lung trauma, signs of pneumothorax and hemothorax. Hypotensive. BP 87 over 51. Pulse erratic at 120. Sats at 68%...Estimated blood loss in excess of 1 liter. IV established… Pupils equal and reactive to light… POPTA…” The weird words and numbers being shouted at high speed, caused an enormous amount of dread for both Shannon and Tomo as they raced after the disappearing gurney.

“Get the backboard of him, we need an intubation,” someone shouted.

“Trauma Three,” someone directed.

“What does that mean? Is he going to be okay? Someone tell me!” Shannon demanded, but no one was listening to him. They just proceeded to wheel Jared into a room and began some insane choreographed dance. Shannon had to bite his lip when they started cutting off Jared’s clothing. He felt Tomo’s slender hand enclose his bicep – for comfort or restraint Shannon did not know. A second later, Tomo dragged the drummer back to the corner of the trauma area, to give the nurses and doctors room to work, but both tried to keep an eye on the singer.

“Get me some O-neg, and tell someone to prep the OR immediately,” someone shouted.

”What’s going on?” Shannon asked again, sounding desperate. It was so hard to keep track of what everyone was shouting. Intubation. What was that supposed to mean? He was pretty sure it had something to do with the plastic tube he just watched them force down his brother’s throat, which was attached to a ventilator. Shannon had to put a hand on the wall to steady himself.

“Who the hell are they? Get them out of here!”

“I’ve got them,” one of the nurses said, splitting away from the team taking care of Jared. It was obvious that she was trying to look as unintimidating as possible. She gently took hold of Shannon’s muscular arm and started to lead him out. “Come on, let’s go out to the waiting room for a while to…”

“I’m NOT leaving him! I told him I wasn’t going to leave him,” the drummer said, trying to pull his arm away. For being such a short woman, she was surprisingly strong and she held on.

“I’m sorry, you can’t stay in here!”

“Let go of me! Jared!?” But the demon-nurse was already dragging him out into the hall and into a waiting room, where she placed him in a chair. She got up and gestured for security to keep an eye on them, then left them there to return to her work.

The older brother was just about to get up and make his way back into Jared’s room, when Tomo grabbed him by the shoulders and stopped him. The Croatian was afraid that they would both get thrown out, something they could not afford. They both sat down and stared longingly at the swinging door. Tomo looking shaken and Shannon like a mere shadow of himself.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

The same moment Colin’s plane touched down in London, the worry came back in his stomach with full force. So much that it physically hurt. While he had been in the air, no phone calls were possible, suspending reality for a time. The world was on standby and during that, Jared was still alive. But now, the man could easily have died in the meantime and he would soon be given the news, information that would send his world crashing to the ground.

24 hours ago, just thinking about Jared had made him angry. But now, he desperately wanted to go to the singer, wrap the slender man in his arms and never, ever let him go.

Colin had deliberately not packed anything but hand luggage; he had no patience for baggage claim right now. That, combined with the fact that Heathrow during nighttime was considerably less crowded, made sure that Colin could hail a cab no more than 30 minutes after he touched ground in London.

The horde of paparazzi stationed in front of the hospital should have come as no surprise to him, but they did. He had not planned for it, had no contingency plan on how to avoid being spotted. And right now, he found himself not caring in the slightest if they caught him rushing into the same hospital that was currently housing recently shot Jared Leto. He was well aware of how it would look to the ever sensational-story-driven media.

The moment he had left the cab, after hastily throwing a few bills at the confused driver, he was assaulted by flashbulbs and shouted questions. He was convinced that the attention thrown at him was the only reason he was let into the hospital in the first place, someone important to the media had to be relevant enough to be allowed through the tight ring of security guards and police in front of the medical center’s doors. If he was known to the media, he had to be known to Jared Leto.

Never before had he appreciated being a celebrity more than he did at that moment.

A cute, blushing nurse greeted him in the front hall. She was trying to look professional, but was failing miserably. “Mr. Farrell, follow me please.” Colin followed her; relieved that he was not asked to defend why he was there. People assumed that all Hollywood stars knew each other – including most of the stars themselves.

After a short ride in an elevator and a walk down an endless corridor, he was led through stained glass-doors with the words Intensive Care Unit pasted on to them in bold blue letters. He was then shown to a door, leading into a small waiting area. Colin could see both Shannon and Tomo through the small window.

The nurse hastily excused herself, leaving Colin outside the room. He took a deep breath. Considering the explosive way Jared’s and his relationship had ended, he doubted he would be welcome. But this was the only place in the world he could see himself being right now.

Through the glass, the younger man could see Shannon pacing agitatedly back and forth, wringing his hands. Tomo was sitting in a chair that looked more than a little uncomfortable. He had a dark haired woman’s head in his lap, who Colin faintly recognized as being Vicki, the guitarist’s fiancée, and he was softly stroking her long hair. They were both staring into thin air, as if lost in their heads, replaying some horrific moment in time.

Colin could not blame them. He had not even been there when someone had almost stolen Jared’s life, yet Tomo’s words had been stuck for hours on repeat in his mind. He took another deep breath and opened the door, entering the waiting room and bringing the occupants attention on him immediately.

“You?!” Colin was shocked by the fist hitting his cheekbone, sending him to the ground, sprawling to the floor of the private room. He had expected animosity from Shannon, although not quite as bad as this. “No one asked you to come! Why the fuck, do you have to be here? We let you into our home, my brother let you into a heart that had been broken repeatedly and how did you pay him back? You bastard.”

The whole room was shocked the display of anger from Shannon. The drummer had been silent since the exchange in the Emergency Room, and had allowed Tomo to lead the way, only contributing with a few nods and gestures on occasion or when asked a question.

Colin propped himself against the wall, not daring to get up. Vicki was sitting up, eyes wide. Tomo had gotten to his feet instantly and had a hand placed firmly on Shannon’s shoulder, ready to intervene if the man could not control his blazing fury. “I don’t care about what Jared saw in you, to me, you’re not welcome. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice or you wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near him anymore,” Shannon abruptly stepped over the fallen Irishman while muttering, “you miserable prick” and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

Tomo wordlessly offered him a hand up, which Colin gratefully accepted, his head still ringing. But he sensed that this was as far as the Croatian would go to help him. He was on his own here. But he had to know.

“Jared… How is he? Where is he?” Colin asked, his voice shaky as he lowered himself into a plastic chair standing by the far wall, unconsciously creating some space between the others and himself. He wanted to rub his smarting cheek, but managed to control the urge. Shannon packed quite a punch.

“He is in surgery, has been for hours. They say it’ll be long before he is out – if all goes well. If a doctor shows up in a little while, it’s bad news.” Tomo said, his voice sounded vacant and exhausted.

Colin wanted desperately to ask what had happened tonight, but he sensed it would be unwelcome and downright cruel, to ask the group to go through the horrible details that still had to be fresh in their minds.

Instead, he settled in for a long wait. His thoughts were in shambles, anyway. The only thing he was sure of right at this moment, was that this was where he should be right now. Together or not, Jared would always be one of the most important people in his life. A part of him would always belong to the beautiful man with the vibrant blue eyes, fierce spirit, ruthless wit and relentless passion.

But just how a big a part, he still did not know.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

Shannon found it hard to keep the rage from taking over his every thought. Intellectually, he knew that Colin was not the reason his brother was fighting for his life. But someone had to be blamed, his anger needed an outlet, and right now the Irishman was the only available candidate.

He wanted to scream and cry. Kill someone even. The drummer looked down on his hands, helplessly. His eyes fell on a few specks of dried blood, caked underneath the fingernail on his thumb. He had already washed them once when he arrived, but apparently not well enough.

Shannon made his way into a nearby restroom, locking the door securely behind him. Immediately he turned the faucet wide open, haphazardly spraying water everywhere. He forced his hands underneath the scalding stream while rubbing his fingers mercilessly, trying to get the blood off. Eventually, he turned the water off and wiped his hands raw with a nearby towel. He rested his palms on both sides of the sink and looked at his own haggard reflection.

He felt utterly useless. Letting himself rest against the bathroom wall, back against the cold tiles, he sank to the ground, burying his aching head on his folded arms that were resting on his bended knees. His shivering body was overtaken by uncontrollable, dry sobs that echoed harshly in the silent room. No tears came though. He was too exhausted and too strung up on adrenaline to cry; instead, he just shook madly from the shock of it all.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

Even if pressed, Colin would have a hard time pinpointing when exactly his and Jared’s 4-year long relationship started to go sour. And although they could hardly claim that it had been smooth sailing at any point, they had always been solid in their own way.

Until, they were suddenly crumbling. He suspected that Jared would say they faded faster than the speed of light. Colin could not help but wonder; exactly which war influenced the last record the most.

To this day, he honestly believed that it was distance, which killed them. The small disagreements that they never had a chance to resolve, as one – or both of them – always seemed to have a plane to catch, or somewhere to be. They decided early on that fighting over the phone was less than ideal and should be avoided at all costs. Something they stuck to.

So much would be lost over the phone, things that could make all the difference in the world during an argument. A shrug, a gesture, a move of the eyes, it all builds a conversation. Fighting when apart, where they would be unable to take in each other’s demeanor and fully gauge emotions, was something they both decided would be destructive and pointless.

So they waited. Postponed the serious conversations. But if they only had one blissful weekend together, why spend it at each other’s throats? Why even start? When on rare occasions a fight broke out, the clock would usually run out on their argument in the end. And they would kiss and make up, with anger still thrumming through their veins, because there was no time to finish.

Later, both would regret spending one of their precious few weekends arguing, so they squashed down any discontent once more, for the sake of the peace. There was never time to discuss the serious issues, talk things through and reach the compromises that would make them stronger, make them feel like they had both been heard. Instead, they felt alone in their building resentment. Blamed the other for not seeing it too. Neither of them wanted to be the asshole that brought it up, who chose to pick a fight when they only had a handful of days to spend in each other’s arms.

And after four years, two people so vastly different were bound to have things they disagreed on. Their idea of proper behavior differed a lot. Like getting drunk with people who did not matter, when they only had a single weekend together. Or instead of coming to bed, staying up all night editing song lyrics, when one had to leave early the next morning. Or not to put dirty dishes in the sink, but in the damn dishwasher. Or not to turn up the volume of the TV so loud…

When Colin reflected on their relationship, it really glared at him how bad they were at communicating at times. Neither of them ever felt like compromising, so they made sure to stay away from arguments that would demand concessions from either of them. Not taking into consideration that the compromises would be what moved them as a couple.

They would often go to extreme lengths not to get into fights. Both were so volatile and erratic on occasions, a serious argument between them had the potential to end in disaster. They would both rather bite their tongues bloody, than risk the love between them.

Until one afternoon, right before Jared had to board a plane back to the states for another month of work.
Colin could not get himself, to not say anything, when Jared spent all morning discussing chords for a new song with Tomo over the phone, instead of using the last time they had together for a month, to actually be together.

Twenty minutes later, they both stood eyes ablaze, chests heaving and throats sore from shouting. There was a smashed vase on the floor, courtesy of Colin. And a broken picture frame thrown against the wall, courtesy of Jared.

The singer picked up his overnight bag from the kitchen table, while Colin symbolically turned his back towards him, and Jared walked out of their shared house, not looking back. The sound of a car speeding off filled the silence seconds later. Colin did not kiss Jared goodbye, as he always had. And Jared did not run his fingers through Colin’s hair, as he always had.

And just like that, it was over.

Instead of talking it through, they were both too angry to even begin and the lines of communication were cut. Neither could stand the sight of the other. 4 years of slights and unspoken hurts became the only thing that mattered.

Not the pleasure filled nights, the steamy kisses that seemed to go on forever, leaving them both breathless, the shared laughs at tacky movies, the ridiculous taunts about wacky hairstyles and funny clothing choices. Not the fact that Jared had pulled Colin away from a world of drugs and alcohol, or that Colin had forced Jared to love and care for himself. Only the pain they had forced on each other in the end mattered.

When 3 weeks went by without either of them calling to apologize, the stubbornness kicked in. Both choked down the tears and put on a brave face, deciding valiantly that it was probably for the best.

It was not like they ever had a future anyway.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

Colin was brought out of his musings by the door to the waiting room opening, revealing Shannon.

The drummer looked destroyed. Physically there was nothing to see, nothing had changed. Except for the now vacant look, present in the normally expressive hazel eyes, reflecting that the older man had fought a battle. One that he had lost miserably.

No one said anything as the drummer took his seat next to Tomo, completely ignoring that Colin was still there. The guitarist placed a hand on the drummer’s forearm, which Shannon, to Colin’s surprise, wordlessly took into his own. The older man interlaced their fingers, not looking up from the spot on the floor his haunted eyes had fallen on.

The gesture looked so out of place, so vulnerable from a grown man renowned for his physical prowess. The Shanimal. But the man looked so utterly lost and Colin could not help but be amazed at the closeness and intimacy shared by the band members. The way Tomo automatically knew how to comfort the other man, without coddling him. They were just holding hands, drawing silent support from each other. Sharing a bond that only people, who had shared ups and downs, high and lows, as well as the experiences of a lifetime would be able to have together.

The next two hours passed uneventfully. No one said a word. There was simply nothing to say. Vicki eventually dozed off, legs folded underneath her while leaning her head against her fiancé’s shoulder. Tomo was still holding on to Shannon's hand, their interlocked fingers resting nonchalantly on the drummer’s thigh.

Shannon was still staring vacantly into thin air, seeing nothing, just lost. Tomo would periodically sigh and throw glances at the watch ticking away on the wall of the waiting room. As if he had somewhere to be and was running late. His features were strained with worry, eyebrows drawn into a frown and anxiety evident in the brown eyes.

Colin had spent the past two hours picking at a loose thread in the seam of his well-worn jeans, managing to rip a neat little hole by now. He had thought about going for a smoke, but was reluctant to get up. For some reason, he suddenly felt guilty about being a smoker. Jared had never given him any honest heat about it, as he was surrounded by smokers in his brother and Tomo. But in hindsight, it seemed a bit inconsiderate of him. Jared had asked Colin a few times to go brush his teeth after having chain-smoked all day, but it was rare that he made any fuss. Though now, it suddenly bothered Colin.

A lot of things were bothering him right now.

The sound of the door opening got everyone’s attention. However, it became clear rather quickly that it was no doctor. Two men were standing in the doorway. An uncomfortable looking young bloke with rusty hair dressed in an official British Police Uniform was standing next to an elderly man, clad in a dark suit, who easily took control of the room.

“Mr. Leto, Mr. Milicevic, I am Chief Inspector Anderson of the London Police Force. My team took charge of the venue after the attack on your brother.” He held out his hand for the two musicians to shake, ignoring the presence of everyone else, in favor of addressing the two people who were there when it happened. To his credit, he did not blink an eye at seeing the two men holding hands. The musicians let go of each other in favor of shaking the offered fist, both of them remaining seated. The drummer seemed more collected than he had so far. This he could do.

“We believe we have your brother’s assailant in custody.” Shannon immediately perked up and so did everyone else in the room. All of their collective thoughts had been on Jared. Colin was a little ashamed to admit that he had not even given any thought that this man could still be out there.

“The security staff employed at the Arena decided to restrain a man trying to escape through the emergency doors. We took over from there and placed him under arrest. He is still being interrogated. And although he has yet to say anything, the evidence we have on him is exceedingly condemning.”

“Can I see him?” Shannon suddenly cut in, getting out of the plastic chair, to face the Police Inspector. “Excuse me, see him?” Anderson looked hesitant.

“I want to see him,” Shannon enforced, voice growing rapidly in strength, causing the elderly Inspector to sigh.

“I understand your need, Mr. Leto, but trust us to do our job. He will be punished to the best of our capabilities, within the full extent of the law; I can assure you of that.”

The Police Inspector hesitated, preparing to take in the reactions of the room’s inhabitants, asking, “Are you familiar with Mason Helmstrom?”

All the color seemed to drain from both Tomo and Shannon’s faces, like someone had forced all the air out of them. “He is the guy from The Hive…” Shannon whispered, his voice choked and weak.

“We can see on the record that we drew from the States that your brother requested a restraining order, which he was granted, against this man.”

“Yes. After the incident at The Hive he sent Jared several letters, as well as a bouquet of roses with all of the heads cut off and Jay felt like he had no choice but to act. The guy is nuts! How did he get this close to my brother again?” The drummer’s voice sounded eerily calm. Cold. He got to his feet and stepped up towards the Inspector, looking more intimidating than Colin had ever seen him. “How could that happen?!”

“He was carrying a standard faked ID to get into the venue, so that no one would take notice of his name. He has no travel restrictions instated. Unless deliberately enforced, a restraining order is more or less ineffective in all other countries than the one it was placed in. Therefore, he had no problems following you to the United Kingdom where there are no constraints against him,” said Anderson, still standing firm, though with obvious regret in his speech.

“But you say you have the evidence to nail him?” Colin was as surprised as everyone else was, to hear his own voice speaking up, cutting in. However, the Police Inspector did not falter.

“He was trying to escape the venue carrying a concealed – recently fired – handgun. He also had on him a suicide note, already written, where he claims to have killed your brother with the same gun he apparently planned to use on himself. We have already gathered several testaments from your fans who claimed to have seen him, some can even identify him as being the one who fired the shots that wounded your brother. And we will do our best to prove that he has been stalking Mr. Leto, as well as the violation of the restraining order. The case against Helmstrom is pretty clear cut.”

Though the words were meant as a liberation, the words brought very little comfort. Jared was still fighting for his life, all because of the delusions of one man.

There was no comfort to be had right now.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

TBC

Comments

Posted by: too_beauty (too_beauty)
Posted at: December 10th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Jared: Mars warrior

really like this plot! and even though they know who the stalker is, this won't bring anything to help Jared recover!
looking forward to reading more soon!

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: December 17th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)

Very happy that you like it! Jared still has a long way to go, but there are people around him who loves him, hopefully that'll help!

Thanks for reading :D

Posted by: shiralyndee (shiralyndee)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)

But what happened at the Hive?? I'm so hooked on this story!!!

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: February 18th, 2011 06:18 am (UTC)

Remember the guy who showed up at the Hive about a year ago threatening Jared and claiming he had explosives? Glad you like it! :)

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