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07 May 2006 @ 08:42 am

Chapter 9: Brian’s POV

I hit the slopes as soon as I arrive. I feel the need for physical exertion, hoping to work out some frustration and free-floating anger as I careen down a mountain at breakneck speed. I start on a slightly easier slope, since I haven’t skied in awhile, but fuck that. By my second run, I’m on the Black Diamond trail, and it’s fierce. I’m a black slash against the white powder. My jacket, pants, boots, gloves, everything I wear is black. Even the stuff you can’t see. I figure they can find the body easier that way when I plow into a tree, but so far so good. I can’t imagine that my form is anything to applaud, but I make it through three runs without a single fall, and that’s amazing.

The fourth run is another story.

As soon as I exit the lift, I know I’m being stupid. I’m exhausted. I’ve allowed myself no recovery time. My knees and thighs are screaming with tension and I feel a little shaky from the altitude. The wise words of my trick stick with me, his taunt that expert skiers take the most chances and give him the most business. I’m too tired for this run. Despite the cold, I’m sweating with exertion beneath my layers, and my lungs just can’t seem to take in enough oxygen to keep up with the demand. Damned cigarettes.

Looking down the mountain at the scars left by other skiers, I notice the ruts are starting to ice. That’s bad. The temperature has dropped and the air feels wetter as flakes begin to fall and accumulate. The snow crunches with new resistance under my skis, rather than supporting me on whispery powder. Looking around, there are a lot fewer skiers out here, now, as the skies have turned a threatening shade of gun-metal grey. The run looks impossibly steep, full of moguls, drop-offs, trees and the other obstacles that make it a Black Diamond run. This is supposed to be fun, but suddenly I feel terrified. I’m not sure about my strength and even my vision seems a little impaired. I’m a little woozy. So what do I do? I push off. What else? Stupid, macho, fuck that I am.

At first, it goes okay. I get into the adrenaline rush. The frigid air feels good against my overheated skin, and my challenged limbs are holding up. I soar over moguls like a pro, landing unevenly only once. As I pick up speed, I figure I must be about halfway, so I know I can make it. I begin to relax a little, even have some fun. After this, I’m thinking a warm sauna and a hot toddy. I might even meet a hot Todd as I bask at the spa. That rescue guy was cruising me as I stood in the lift line earlier. Wonder when he gets off duty?

And then it happened.

A tree suddenly leapt off of its root system and took two steps left to become a previously non-existent impediment in my path. Holy shit! I take a hard swerve but not hard enough. The outward branches of the tree hit me straight across my chest with the force of a sledgehammer. I feel the buckles on my boots break free as I’m lifted off of my skis. The black slats continue down the mountain without me. I’m thrown backwards, through the air, before I land on what has to be a pile of concealed granite.

Pain explodes in multiple locations, but my immediate problem is that I-can-not-breathe! I try to breathe, but nothing. Nothing comes in, nothing goes out. I’m absolutely without the ability to breathe. My mouth gapes open like a guppie on a dock, I feel my hands struggle with the snow, as if to help me stand, but someone pulls a black curtain over my eyes, and that was it.

I’m not dead. Damn it.

I have no idea where I am, once I start to wake up. My first sensation is fear, it’s a terrible feeling to lose time and place, especially for a control freak. I open my eyes but the room spins and I quickly close them, feeling the nausea rise in my stomach. My heart explodes into a fast rhythm of panic. As the adrenaline awakens my sleeping limbs, the pain comes rolling in.

“What the fuck?” I say aloud, noticing there’s a heavy weight on my chest, making it difficult to breathe, to move.

“Relax, son,” a man’s soothing, elderly voice and a cool hand on my arm. I reach out and grab that hand as if he can pull me out of this vortex of pain and confusion. He pries my fingers off of his wrist with a chuckle. “I need that hand to work, loosen up.”

I let him go and let my hand fall to my chest to discover what is pressing me to the bed. All I feel are bandages wrapped over my skin, covered with a flimsy gown. I notice my left arm doesn’t want to move at all. Even a slight upward movement is excruciating. I try opening my eyes again and the spinning slows to a slight wobble. I still feel sick, but won’t give in to it. My chest hurts so much it causes beads of sweat to break out on my upper lip. I focus on the man, a small, silver haired Santa type, sans beard, wearing a white lab coat accessorized with a stethoscope. He stands over me as he asks,

“Can you tell me your name? Do you know where you are?”

“Brian Kinney. Is this the Canadian version of hell? Because it hurts enough to be.”

He chuckles and shines a light in one of my eyes and then the other. “Mr. Kinney, do you recall having a fall on the mountain?”

I glance down my body. I see no sign of plaster and I can feel my legs, so that’s good. I wish I couldn’t feel anything above the waist, however, because the pain is excruciating. “I remember a tree jumped out in my path.”

“Yes, our trees are very naughty that way. Some strong branches caught you right across here,” he motions to a diagonal across my chest. “Knocked you plum out of your skis and you landed hard on a mogul.”

And by ‘mogul’ I know he doesn’t mean an oriental potentate. Rather a stack of granite, if I recall the pain correctly. He goes on. “It could have been worse. You fell on your back so you didn’t tumble down the mountain. Most serious fractures occur in that tumble.”

“Lucky me. Why am I in such pain? I can’t breathe. Did I puncture a lung?”

“No, your lungs are fine. You have a mild concussion. You strained the rotator cuff of your left arm. You broke four ribs and bruised your coccyx.”

“My what-x?”

“Your tailbone. You twisted your right knee but I don’t see any signs of serious injury there. But it will be tender for a while. In short, your ski adventure is over for this trip, Mr. Kinney. The bad news is, there’s not much you can do with broken ribs except tape them up and let them heal. The pain is fairly intense because you use the core of your body for almost all movement. The good news is, you’re very fit. Your core muscles are quite strong, and that will help support the ribs for healing.”

I have to smile. Merry fucking Christmas. I get it, God. I’ve been bad. Punish me. Good News Doctor Santa continues.

“Because you bruised your tail bone, it might be difficult to find a comfortable position for a few days. Sitting will hurt, but lying flat will put a lot of ache on your ribs. I suggest a recliner. You might find that more comfortable than a bed.”

“How about some serious painkillers?”

“Not with that head injury, not for twenty-four hours. I’m going to give you Advil, three capsules every four hours. For these kind of injuries, Advil works as well as anything I can prescribe.”

“Advil? Can you hook me up with a heroin dealer? I take Advil for headache. This is way beyond Advil pain.”

He thinks I’m a riot, laughing again at my predicament. “You’re a tough guy, you’ll soldier on. The hotel said you listed no emergency contact. Who shall we call?”


“Yes, Mr. Kinney. The first twenty-four hours will require someone to watch you and monitor your concussion. You’ll also find that these injuries are quite debilitating. You’ll need help with even small things, like dressing. Who would you like me to call?”

I think of my last trick, that fucking doctor. He jinxed me with his fucking prediction! He fucking jinxed me. The bastard. “No one.”

“You don’t understand, Mr. Kinney. I can’t let you go without someone to take care of you.”

“You don’t understand, doc,” I level a glare at him. “No one cares. Got it? I can take care of myself. Always have, always will.”

“Then we’ll have to keep you here for twenty-four hours.”

“No,” I hate it when the world conspires against me. I try to sit up, but the effort is excruciating. The one thing I hate more than hospitals is being a drain on someone. My independence is more important to me than the comfort of being cared for. What a strange revelation that is. Who thinks that way? Who is that terrified of being needy? I am. I’ve broken out in a sweat from the pain and exertion, and my stomach rolls again.

“Let us call someone, Mr. Kinney,” he prompts me in a kindly voice. He just doesn’t get it. No one cares. Not my mother, my sister, not Michael, who would come, but would be a martyr and would spend the whole time reminding me of how stupid I am, not Lindsay, that relationship is broken, not Ted, who would come, but make me pay for it forever, no one. No one cares. I turn my head away from him, towards the window, feeling abandoned and a little scared, and then a familiar voice intrudes.

“You don’t need to call anyone, Doctor. I’m here. I’ll take care of him.”

I’d blame it on the drugs, but they haven’t given me any worth noting. I turn to look at the vision standing at the end of my bed. A shock of blond hair falls across his forehead, and his powder blue sweater matches his eyes. This unexpected angel of mercy can’t be real. I meet his stare and get so choked up on unbidden emotion that I can’t even speak. The doctor asks,

“Who are you?”

“I’m his partner,” Justin says. Hark the fucking herald angels sing. It really must be Christmas.
Current Mood: scaredscared
ewanmaxewanmax on May 7th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
I'm smiling here.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:15 am (UTC)
Re: #9
but your icon is sad!
damietta on May 7th, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
Brian really was dumb to ski with no rest; fortunately, he wasn't hurt more (although a bruised tailbone really hurts). In fact I tore my rotator cuff several years ago and that pain was very intense, too!

Brian's snark about the tree while he's in such pain was a really good touch.

My first thought after that fall is well he's certainly not having sex for awhile. He'll have to actually talk to Justin!

And, how great that Justin was there.

rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
yeah, its easy to get hurt when you're tired,
(no subject) - preston1 on May 8th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Polykleitospolykleitos on May 7th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
Naughty, naughty trees. ;)

The timing in this chapter was perfect. And, I loved all the Christmas references.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
I have to keep reminding myself its christmas in this story since its hot here!
beth23beth23 on May 7th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
I must admit I can not ski and I prefer to hang out by the fire with hot choc. Maybe because I have seen the fractures, etc.

Brian's remark to the doc that "no one cares" is heartbreaking. But these next words almost cut me to the core "The one thing I hate more than hospitals is being a drain on someone. My independence is more important to me than the comfort of being cared for. What a strange revelation that is. Who thinks that way? Who is that terrified of being needy? I am."

Ran that is so poignant and so true of BK. He will never be in a true partnership/relationship if he doesn't relinquish some of his control and independence. Unfortunately BK's parents did their own emotional & physical trauma to rival his current medical state. He also learned early on that outer scars and broken bones heal. What doesn't heal never shows up on X-rays or test. But solitary confinement provides control and decreases the risk of further injury. Want to wrap him in a blanket and take him home! - HA.

Loved Justin showing up but I don't think BK will be a very compliant or an amiable patient. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Just FYI... with the LOC (loss of consciousness) BK had and the degree of fall he sustained, I would have admitted him. CT scans will rule out immediate skull fractures, subdural hematomas, etc. But an MRI is more conclusive and more indicative of injury. With the fall he most likely had a cerebral contusion not concussion. Need to watch brain swelling and for small petechial hemorrhages that can develop, coalesce and cause significant damage. He would need a repeat scan in 24 hours. Just my 2 cents but it doesn't change the essence of the beautiful story you are telling. Feel free to ignore the medical jargon.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
I shoulda asked you before I wrote it, but I can at least have brian go back in for another scan. maybe this is the state of socialized medicine! BWAHAAA! just kidding, H! I think justin would be the first to agree with you about brian's control issues.
(no subject) - beth23 on May 8th, 2006 03:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 8th, 2006 08:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
zoshazosha2003 on May 7th, 2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
I turn to look at the vision standing at the end of my bed. A shock of blond hair falls across his forehead, and his powder blue sweater matches his eyes. This unexpected angel of mercy can’t be real. I meet his stare and get so choked up on unbidden emotion that I can’t even speak. The doctor asks,

“Who are you?”

“I’m his partner,” Justin says. Hark the fucking herald angels sing. It really must be Christmas.

grinning like a fool here!
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC)
BWahhaaa! ok then!
vegamytevegamyte on May 7th, 2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
Heehee! I got to read two chapters in a row. I love that, and the ending of the two was wonderful. Brian hit with having no one to care for him and then Justin entering just at the right moment was a great bit of Christmas magic.
vegamytevegamyte on May 7th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
Forgot to add that that was a great description of facing an icy, black diamond slope when exhausted. Done it too many times. I'm lucky to still be here and in one piece myself.
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
Thymeoasis6028 on May 7th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
What the...?
How can a serious injury to a character I love make me smile?

rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
Re: What the...?
because we are all perverse.
armandyouidiotarmandyouidiot on May 7th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
“I’m his partner,” Justin says. Hark the fucking herald angels sing. It really must be Christmas.

INDEED! Excuse me while I whoop and bounce around like a crazy person, this is THE BEST! I am so damn happy!

Your description of Brian skiing is wonderful to read. You really take me back to my skiing days, growing up in Colorado. (Though I was never as good at it as Brian!) The thrill of a challenging slope, the physical exertion, being attune to the conditions of the weather and snow, soaring. Good times.

Poor Brian, that “stupid, macho, fuck.” hehe I’ve seen those sneaky, homicidal trees in action (scary stuff) and met my share of “piles of concealed granite” hee. I just glad he isn’t hurt worse.

You sure know how to write an entrance. Battered and brought low by all the shit lately, Brian isn’t even considering Justin as a possibility in his mind and then,

“I turn to look at the vision standing at the end of my bed. A shock of blond hair falls across his forehead, and his powder blue sweater matches his eyes. This unexpected angel of mercy can’t be real.”

LAAAAA– I could hear those trumpets!

Long way to go, blah, blah blah, I know, I know, but I can’t think about that now, this is so great! Justin’s there! !! !!! Thanks Randall. Kim
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
you're welcome kim. (hey you're not gale's kim are you?? BWAHAAAA!)
(no subject) - armandyouidiot on May 8th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 8th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - armandyouidiot on May 8th, 2006 09:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 9th, 2006 08:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - armandyouidiot on May 10th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
qafaddiction: gale not laughingqafaddiction on May 7th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
You’ll need help with even small things, like dressing.

Yay! LOL I was hoping Justin would show up just in time. Maybe I'm shallow, but nothing beats the old patient/caregiver setup to bring lovers together! He's going to need baths, too. hee. Brian's frustration combined with Justin's determination to help should make this a very fun ride.

My independence is more important to me than the comfort of being cared for.

Sounds like our loveable control freak talking. Hopefully Brian is a little more open to accepting Justin's help this time than he was after his surgery. And maybe it will give them some time to talk as well -- especially since Justin could probably care less about being on the slopes right now.

Bring on the f***ing chicken soup! hehehe

rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:22 am (UTC)
well at least he cant hide this one! The injury that is.
thumpathumpa on May 7th, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
Ouch and Yaaaaay!!!

*walks off to trumpets playing*
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:22 am (UTC)
those noisy angels....
(no subject) - thumpathumpa on May 8th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
vickif on May 7th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
You're as bad as C/L letting Brian get hurt, but in this case I forgive you as it is bringing Brian and Justin back together, as least for a little while. Great chapter. PS, you better keep your Brian, after reading his post today you both are very lucky to have each other. May it always be so.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:23 am (UTC)
at least I didnt injure his private parts. BWAHAAA! he does take me for granted, btw. KEEDING, KEEDING
asm614: JustinAngel2 :: Please ask before using!asm614 on May 7th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
I really need to learn to be more patient. The suspense is killing me here, lol... Yet I have a feeling there will be LOTTTS more in the future :-P

This is wonderful, Randall. Merry Christmas to us. :)
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)
early or late present.
jealin98jealin98 on May 7th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
I have been away from the computer with too much of that real life stuff going on, so I haven't had a chance to comment for awhile. I just got done reading 7, 8 and now 9 so I thought it best just to make one comment here.

I think this is a fabulous story and I am loving it more and more. Both of them are killing me, I know it cannot be fixed in a nice neat package but thank goodness they are at least in the same place for a change and maybe, just maybe they will actually talk to each other and see what is going to have to happen to make this work.

Looking forward to more and glad that you made it home from your tavels safely.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)
thanks jeannie and I hope your real life stuff is positive.
(no subject) - jealin98 on May 8th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
leticiafrostbite_las on May 7th, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
Doing the snoopy dance and saying YES YES at the same time. Woohoo Justin saves the day.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
ah, good ol snoopy
sandiD: skibunny justinsandid on May 7th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
*my love knows no bounds*Ran pokes Sandi - shaddup fan girl
OMG! It is Christmas in May. I'm going to bruise. I keep pinching myself to keep the fantasies to a minimum.

Yes, Sandi. There is a Santa Claus.

Justin is going to take care of Brian. Oh, I bet he is. Yeah. Brian is hurt. He can't protest to much.

*tackles you to the ground in a big hug* Yes, let the lovefest begin. Oh, ok. I've jumped to conclusions. I'll take a deep breath and patiently wait for you to tell your story.
rand_altrand_alt on May 8th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: *my love knows no bounds*Ran pokes Sandi - shaddup fan girl
BWAHAAA! omigod, the pressure the pressure!!