Chapter Thirty-ThreeMature

I hate hospitals.  There is something so impersonal about them.  I couldn't sit still as I waited with Dem in the corridor outside the operating theatre.  The doctors were working as hard as they could to stop the internal bleeding Mark had sustained because of his beating and Demitri insisted on waiting for them to come out again to make sure Mark was going to be alright.

He'd been insistent he travelled in the ambulance with Mark, leaving me to ask Abril for a lift with her to the hospital.  It was one of the strangest journeys I'd ever had, and probably ever will have.  Abril wasn't the sort of person I thought would own a car, let alone know how to drive one, but she was a surprisingly good driver.  We spent most of the journey in silence, me either rubbing my hands together or fiddling with the ends of my hair, alternating between the two.

By the time I arrived, Mark was already in theatre and Demitri was looking like he was about to explode.  Now he was sitting, frozen, on an uncomfortable plastic chair, his hands pressed together like he was praying and resting against his forehead.

I was pacing up and down, suddenly impatient for the surgeons to reappear with Mark on his trolley, still alive.  But it didn't happen and I continued pacing up and down.

'Do you need a drink?'  I sounded slightly desperate, looking intently at Dem's still form.  'Tea?  Coffee? Water?'  His lack of response was becoming frustrating.  I needed him to respond.  'Anything?'  Still no response.  'Tell me to get you something Dem.  I need something to be doing or I'm going to die from worry.'

Dem looked up at me, his eyes blank and his lips pressed into a thin line.  I didn't like this side of his personality.

'I'll have a coffee,' I said, his voice hoarse and quiet.  'Take your time, I'll let you know if he comes out.'

'Thank you,' I said, smiling at him before I marched off down the hall towards the hospital cafeteria.  There weren't many people in the cafeteria as I handed over the last of my small change for two, pretty disgusting coffee's.  I was reluctant to return to Dem so soon, his intensity of emotion was starting to worry me.  I'd always known him as the confident leader I needed, always joking or making me work hard to improve my skills.  I hated the change that had come over him.  Now he had collapsed emotionally I wasn't sure what would happen.  Was I going to have to take charge?  Was I ready for that?

I walked as slowly as I could through the sanitised corridors, not looking at anything or thinking where I was going, just letting my feet lead me.  I eventually made it back to Dem, who hadn't moved since I'd left.  The coffee was now a sort of luke-warm instead of the unbearably hot it had been when I'd first got it.

He took the plastic cup from me in silence and took one sip, grimacing and putting the cup down on the floor.  'That's possibly the worst coffee I've ever tasted.'  I almost smiled.  There was a touch of the Demitri I knew in his voice, the one I needed to come back.

'Yeah sorry about that.'  I looked at him and our eyes met and a feeling I couldn't put my finger on swept through my body.  Dem's arm went around my shoulders pulling me against him, my head resting on his shoulder.  'Everything's going to be OK isn't it?'  I meant more than just about Mark.  I was talking about my mother too and the whole situation we were becoming impossibly tangled up in.  It felt like I would never escape.

'We'll find a way to fix it,' was the reply I got.

Half an hour later, Mark emerged from surgery, wheeled out on a bed with a small army of doctors and nurses surrounding him.  Dem and I followed them onto the intensive care ward and watched them as they hooked Mark up to all these different machines, measuring his breathing, circulation and God knows what else.

The surgeon told us very little, both of us being under eighteen and not technically adults, but he did tell us Mark's condition was serious.  He'd taken quite a beating and was very badly injured.  They'd managed to stop the internal bleeding but he still had a broken leg and collarbone which needed to be set.  He did say Mark might be able to pull through, and the look on Demitri's face when he heard that was like music to my eyes.  He was so happy.

After the doctor had left us, we both sat by Mark's bedside, Demitri holding his limp hand.

'So what now?'  I needed direction, needed him to tell me what to do next.  I couldn't sit around anymore.  Action needed to be taken.

'We're going to find 'The Twelve Zodiacs',' Demitri said, relatively calmly, 'and then, we're going to crush them.'

The End

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