Part Fifty-NineMature

Daniel is stressed and upset. I'm not surprised. 

He has apologised for dragging me away from my brother, he said it was the only way he could think to remove me from the situation. 

I forgave him.

The seven of us are in my room, waiting.

Nobody talks. Nobody dares.

Judo has a firm hold of my hand and he says he won't let go until this over. 

The doctor enters the room and Daniel leaves with her so she can tell him what's going on. He returns with the news that Seb is awake. 

Seb is only allowed two visitors at once. The doctor shows me and Daniel to his room.

I rush to his side and he brushes my hair out of my face. He doesn't seem unhappy.

"Little sister, I'm proud of you," he says. "You did well. I thought you wouldn't be able to stop me but I'm still living."

"Don't give her false hope," Daniel tells him. "I've had enough of that."

"What do you mean?" I look from one to the other.

Seb sighs. "Lola, I'm sorry. But I can't do this any more. I've been surviving for you but... I can't survive this. They said there's too many things contaminating my blood. They could try to save me but there'd be a fifty-fifty chance that it wouldn't work. I... Lola, I want to die. Please, just grant me this last thing."

I nod and kiss him, and I hug him for as long as I can. "I love you, Seb."

"I love you too, Lola. You are the best little sister I could've asked for."

Fighting back tears, I step away so Daniel can have his time. I knew I couldn't make him live any long than he wanted to, but I had to try, didn't I?

"Don't you dare even think about talking to me," Daniel says to him. "There is no excuse for what you've done." Then he leans down and the share a long and gentle kiss.

In that moment, I see how it could have been. Their happiness, their absolute devotion. Their love. But it's also how it never would have been, no matter what the turnout. Whether Seb chose to live or die, they still would never have been happy. It's just one of those things.

Daniel is crying before he can get out of the room.

Seb beckons me over and takes my hand. "Lola, there's a not in your room. I want you to read it. I was hoping you'd read it before but I still want you to know what it says. Will you do that for me?"

I nod and compose my voice. "What do you want me to do with the stuff in your room?"

"Burn it," he says. "Don't clean anything, just burn it all. I don't want anything in there to be found again."

"OK," I say.

"You should go now," he says, but keeps hold of my hand.

I tighten my grip on his slightly. "See ya, Seb." My voice comes out in barely a strangled whisper.

He looks right into my eyes. "Thank you."

The End

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