Pairing: Implied Wolstenward, implied Belldom
Summary: Two men become neighbors in a medical center.
Rating: I'm gonna go R because mature topics
WARNINGS: Death due to terminal illness
Disclaimer: This is all fiction (thank god)
Feedback: Would be lovely and appreciated
Author's Note: Short angsty thing, fill for MS bingo trope square "AU: neighbors"
Walking into the waiting room with a nervous hitch in his gait, Christopher searched for an empty place to sit amongst the mass amounts of sick and injured faces. Luckily for him the only empty seat was next to a young man who looked to be about his age. The man was not wearing a protective mask or anything else that would announce to Christopher he had some sort of spreadable illness, so Christopher deemed him safe to sit next to.
The man moved his leg to the side as Christopher sat down carefully in the upholstery plaited chairs printed with designs that looked like they were straight out of the 80s. The other man looked long and lean, a thinning mess of dirty blonde hair atop his head. The two men nodded toward each other then went back to their own business. Christopher tapped his mobile phone nervously, the only distraction he had in the sullen white-walled clinic. A game of solitaire occupied him for all of five minutes until he was studying the man next to him again.
His neighbor was completely silent and staring ahead, a sense of emptiness in his grey eyes. His fingers tapped on his jean clad thigh, a completely thoughtless rhythm that barely bothered Christopher as he waited and waited. Occasionally the man took a pained breath, which always broke Christopher out of his concentration. Christopher just smiled sympathetically before turning away from the blonde man and back to his mobile, where he was typing an entirely useless message to his brother about love and beauty.
Christopher took little notice as the man next to him slowly rose and walked toward the nurse, his steps just barely trudging against the carpeting. Looking up from his mobile just as the blonde man - Mr. Howard, it seemed his name was - disappeared behind the door, a very familiar way of movement caught Christopher’s eye.
Christopher and the blonde man - Dominic, he’d learned - seemed to cross paths multiple times in the waiting area of the medical center over the next few months. They were regulars, always sitting next to each other before the nurses would call one of them inside. Every visit, Christopher noticed Dominic growing weaker and weaker; his skin had paled and his hair seemed to be thinner each time.
“Leukemia,” Dominic finally said one day, their first exchange of words besides pointless small talk after three months.
Christopher’s eyes shot up, shocked by his now familiar neighbor’s words. Dominic was crying noticeably, although he was trying to hide it. Christopher tentatively reached out and rubbed his back with smooth circles, like he’d often done when his brother was just an infant. “It’ll be okay,” he said softly.
“No it won’t,” said Dominic.
Christopher had never liked going to the center before, but since learning about Dominic, it was even harder for him. Acute myeloid leukemia, he’d learned. No further questions had been asked, however. It was too personal, and Christopher knew what it was like to be bombarded with questions all the time of illnesses people had no control over.
Some days Dominic would be there, others he’d be absent. Christopher always left the chair next to him open though, for his neighbor he had learned to love through minimal contact. The days Dominic was there, they would talk of other things, like new books they had to read, how they took their tea, and what their jobs were. Each day that passed left the two men sadder yet closer.
They started joining each other for food on the lower floor of the medical building before riding the lift together to the center, where they would respectively sit next to each other in their chairs and wait for the nurses to individually call their names. Dominic made the long days easier.
Dominic’s lips always parted to the side when something was wrong, Christopher had learned. The day was warm and sunny, an extreme juxtaposition to the gloomy feeling hanging over both men as they sat in the food court sipping mildly over-brewed tea. Christopher just wanted it to be winter so that he had an excuse for the large grey cloud he could feel was engulfing his entire body. His only source of happiness came from the man sitting across from him, the man he could not have.
“What’s wrong, Dominic?” Christopher asked gently when Dominic noticeably cast his eyes downward. The blonde man wasn’t listening to anything Christopher had been saying; his only interest seemed to be his steaming cup of tea.
“The doctors think it’s all going to end next week.”
Christopher and Dom were silent the rest of that day, even as they rode the lift up to the center and sat side by side in their neighboring chairs as they always did.
The doctors had been wrong. It all ended the next day.
Christopher got the call at noon, right as he’d sat down with leftover Thai takeout from the previous night and an entire season of Top Gear to marathon. The voice over the line had been panicked, so he immediately threw his leftovers back into the fridge and left the DVD drive open on his laptop as he grabbed his wallet and keys.
The drive over was literal Hell, the traffic like nothing Christopher had ever experienced before. The medical building loomed in the distance like an ugly stake pushed haphazardly into the ground. When he reached the second floor where the medical center was, Dominic was waiting for him, his face grey and sickly. His cheekbones protruded from his skin in ways which Christopher knew were unhealthy. Though the moment may have been inappropriate, Christopher immediately pulled the thin man into his arms and cradled him tightly, pressing the softest kiss possible to his forehead. Dominic immediately began to sob.
Christopher’s little brother’s room neighbored Matthew Bellamy’s. As he slowly walked into the room behind Dominic, he immediately realized why the man had fallen so in love with him. Even deathly ill, completely bare and unrecognizable behind the face of leukemia, Matthew was beautiful. Matthew’s hand shook as he held tightly onto Dominic, completely unwilling to let go as the love of his life broke down.
Matthew’s breaths were short and labored. He knew he didn’t have much time. Christopher felt as if he was intruding on one of the most emotional moments between Dominic and Matthew, but it was clear to him that he was supposed to be there when the dying man beckoned him closer to the bedside. Across from him, Dominic’s tears splashed the bedding as he hunched over. Matthew turned away from Dominic. Christopher could see the tears forming in his greying eyes as well; Matthew seemed completely lost.
Just 18 minutes later, after exchanges of “I love you”s and weak squeezes of Dominic and Christopher’s hands, Matthew’s heart monitor flattened out. His last words had been to Christopher.
“Take care of Dominic.”