Don't Let Me Drown

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Ashton sighs and leans so his chin rests on Calum’s shoulder. “They’ll be back soon.”

“You believe that?”

“No,” Ashton says. “But what else can I do?”

---

Michael’s aunt arrives in the dead of morning, when Ashton and Calum are still pinching each other to stay awake. She’s a stranger to them, an average-height, average-looking, average-aged woman. If she hadn’t arrived so early in the morning looking like she came off a four hour flight with hair Michael’s natural color (identifiable only by Ashton at this point), then they would never for the life of them have looked twice at her. It’s a wild guess, even, when Ashton asks, his voice rough from the exhaustion, “Are you Michael’s aunt?”

She nods, and Calum blinks with difficulty, trying not to fall asleep. Ashton finds the presence of mind to stand, swaying on his feet, and shake her hand. “Ashton,” he says, and she smiles in a tired way that ages her unfairly.

“I’m Maddie,” she says. “Is Michael--”

“He’s out,” Calum mumbles from his spot in the chair. “Stomach’s been pumped. Hasn’t woken up.”

“I took the first flight I could,” she says. She looks towards the doors that lead into the rest of the floor. “And visiting--?”

“When he’s awake and if they determine it wasn’t a suicide attempt. You can go, because you’re family.”

She nods again and sighs. “You don’t have to wait here.”

“We want to,” Ashton says gently. “Somebody has to.”

“Then get some sleep,” she advises, taking a seat. “I’ll wake you up if there’s any news, if you like.”

“It’s okay,” Ashton starts, “we can--” He turns back to gesture at Calum, but finds him out cold, sprawled in the chair in a way that shouldn’t be possible.

Maddie smiles tightly again. “Join your friend. I’ll stay up. He’s my responsibility, not yours.”

Ashton sighs. “I can stay up, I’m fine.”

“Suit yourself,” she says, unfazed.

Ashton regains his seat, trying to focus on observing Maddie to stay awake. He thinks about the calmness she presents herself with, undermined by the way her hands clench. She must love him very much, if she flew four hours on short notice like this. She looks exhausted, and deserves to be, considering not just the hour but the unfortunate fact that her sister died not long ago and now her nephew’s overdosed and lying in a hospital.

Ashton tries to keep his eyes open, because he swore he would, but he can’t fight the clock any longer.

---

Luke wakes up in his own bed, muscles failing him as he tries to sit up. He needs food, probably a good two more hours of sleep, but worrying about the hospital and what he’s missing has kept him up all night. He creeps out of bed, shivering when the safety of the covers abandons him, still dressed from last night. He has no clothes left here, he’s still wearing Ashton’s. His brothers’ clothes will be too big. Luke feels so out of place, out of his comfort zone.

He knows where to go. He knocks on Jack’s door, knowing Ben will be at work already and his mother won’t want him to go back to the hospital. He gives up on knocking when there’s no answer and just walks in. It’s dim in the room, Jack sprawled out across his bed, dead asleep.

“Jack,” Luke whispers. Jack doesn’t move an inch. “Jack? Wake up.”

Luke clambers onto the bed like he used to when he was little and had a nightmare, like he did on Christmas morning long after the excitement wore off for his brothers. He shakes at Jack’s shoulder gently. “Jack.”

“Go away, you little--”

“I need you to drive me to the hospital.”

“--if you don’t go away, I swear to god--”

“Jack!” Luke says, slightly louder. “Please.” He smacks Jack’s cheek lightly. “Come on.”

Jack pushes Luke away, sitting up. “You’re out of your mind. Stay at home a while, you’re driving yourself nuts.”

“I’m fine. I want to go back,” Luke says stubbornly. “You know Mum won’t let me go. I need you to drive me.”

Jack sets his jaw and stares Luke down. Luke does his best not to crack. Jack gives in and sighs. “I’m a fucking idiot. Fine. Get out of my room and let me get dressed, and I’ll drive you back. Just go sit in the car. And maybe take a shower once in a while.”

Luke ignores Jack, grabbing someone’s deodorant (at this point, it doesn’t matter whose) instead and then waiting on the front steps for Jack to emerge. When he finally does, he blows past Luke, keys in hand. “Hurry up, I need to get back before Mum realizes what I’ve done.”

“Helping me?”

“Maybe hurting you a little,” Jack admits, and Luke slips into the passenger seat of his car. “You owe me so big time for this. I hope you fucking feel better.”

“I fucking do,” Luke mumbles. Jack sighs and starts up the car.

“Michael will be okay. I love you. And remember to keep calling.”

“I haven’t left yet.”

“I know.” Jack pulls away from the curb. “I just hate to see you go and pretend things are okay when you’re not really happy.”

---

(A/N) I thought this might be shit so I turned it around with some nice brotherly moments yes I wrote this chapter over a period of the whole week and mostly late at night so it's all in pieces and like scattered idk sorry if it doesn't click right

hey hey bmth got mixed feelings about this song like even though it's a really good song I hope bmth does a little heavier stuff on the album. but if this is the kind of music that makes them happy going forward then I'll follow through that and it'll all be okay it'll all be okay friends

a lot of you try to censor yourself in the comments so wattpad doesn't block your comments but I literally don't care swear all you want you do know I go back through and uncensor right

I'm sorry but I'm not going to write too much of them in the hospital. Maybe another chapter, two at a stretch, but I did this with over and over and I'm frankly tired of hospital scenes rn and things are bad bad bad and I'm tired and sad and 

and I really want to write a story with luke as a tortured violinist so after this is finished i might be writing two stories simultaneously dear lord what am I doing

thank you to all who helped me with the whole hospital logistical aspect of this bc I'm clueless and violin sucks

recital coming up

mmmmmm I feel like I had more to say but I can't think of it this is why I should write these things down asdfghjkl;

okay enjoy i love you guys more than the moon xxx bye lovelies

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