• Published 2nd Jan 2016
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Blank - Carrier of Heartbreak



A dying young man discovers that his life may not be what he thought it was, and the seemingly innocent TV show he watches in his hospital room may not be fictitious.

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S1E1: Slipping Away

"Beep...Beep...Beep...Beep."

"Say Beep one more time."

"Beep?"

SMACK

"Pfft! Haheheheh~" I snorted, my hand lifting to cover my mouth, in case my laughter started another coughing fit. On the TV screen, I could see Dan's face popping back out after having been punched into itself. Next to me, I could hear a soft giggling coming from the warm lump that took up the left side of my hospital bed.

After my laughter subsided, I looked over fondly at Sarah, who was now leaning gently against me, her eyes closed and a couple mirthful tears running down her face. I smiled a bit, happy to see her laughing this hard again. My eyes narrowed as a mischievous thought popped into my head. My head swiveled so I could better hear my heart monitor beeping lazily in the background. I licked my lips once before grinning in Sarah's direction.

"Beep."

Sarah took noticed of what I had just said, her laughter dying out instantly. She gave me a deadpan look and frowned. I stared into her eyes, my grin growing slightly.

"Beep."

Her eyes now narrowed as she stared at me. I continued to smile, waiting to see what she would do. Off to the other side of the room, Dan Vs. continued to play, even without our attention. Sarah's lip twitched a bit, but otherwise she sat perfectly motionless, looking at me. Daring me to say it again.

"Be-"

"Ryan, I swear to God I'll end you if you say that one more time," she spat out, giving me a harsh glance. To anyone else, her supposed hostility might have been frightening. But to me, I know how badly she wanted to crack up again. She was just going along with the joke. In response to her dare, I sat there, still grinning madly. The room was silent as our standoff continued.

Then I dared.

"BEEP!" I shouted at her, catching her by surprise. Her eyes widened at the sudden sensory overload and she sputtered a bit before giving me the harshest glare I'd seen from her since earlier that day. Her mouth, however, betrayed her by spreading into a large smile and letting out a few angry laughs.

"GODDAMN IT, RYAN!" she shouted at me. Before I could say anything in response, her arm shot out, her fist giving me a good shove. Normally, she didn't have enough power or weight behind her to make me budge. In my current state, however, her light shove was almost enough to knock me over. I was very aware of my weakened body, but tried my hardest to not think about it. Depression was something I wanted to make sure stayed very far away from my mind. The last thing I needed was for my brain to shut down, too.

Sarah noticed the pained grimace I had tried to hide. Her expression fell immediately and she shot forward, wrapping her arms around me in a tight hug. I wasn't sure the hug was to keep me upright or to comfort me, but I shared her embrace all the same.

"Sorry sorry sorry sorry! I forgot, Ry!" she quickly mumbled into my chest. Her arms tightened even more around me, almost hurting. I pushed the pain away and patted her back to get her attention. She looked up at me slowly, her eyes already misty with developing tears. I hated seeing her cry. Too much of it had been going on lately. I wanted laughing Sarah back.

"It's fine, Sare Bear, I'm fine," I assured her, my hand reaching up to her head. She closed her eyes when she felt my fingers running gently through her dirty blonde hair. Of all the ways I knew to calm her down, this was the quickest. A simple head rub shouldn't give me this much power over another person, but here I am. Mwahaha.

"Still, I have to be more careful..." she whined, opening her eyes again. A sigh left my lips. I hated being so fragile that even a shove could hurt me. Yet I knew I couldn't really risk falling to the floor; I would have no way of getting back up again. The numbness in my legs reminded me of that every day.

"Bear, I'd rather you treat me more like normal and risk getting hurt, honestly..." I whispered close to her, my eyes locked on the wall on the far side of the room. Her body went rigid, and I could almost feel the stern look she was giving me. Over the two years we were together for, I learned what could set her off. Downplaying the severity of situations was not one of them, but downplaying me being hurt was. Sarah had a bit of a temper, and was sometimes quite the jealous little bugger. She was very much like my little sister Emily. This was not always a good thing. Two sparks fighting over a wick sometimes leads to bombs going off.

I could tell this situation was stressing her to no end. Usually, if something was hurting me, she would just punch whatever it was in the face. But how do you punch an infection? Something that was inside my body was killing me, and Sarah couldn't do a damn thing about it. Her self-proclaimed position as my guardian was being threatened by something she couldn't even see.

Despite her body language telling me she wanted to sock me in the jaw for what I said, she remained quiet. This scared me a bit. Sarah was many things. Violent, funny, caring, short-tempered, touchy, sexy, perceptive, sexy...okay maybe a few more sexy's added to that list. But quiet was something she was not. Between her inability to say anything lower than a loud whisper and her favoring her lung guns over the nurse call button, I could barely imagine her remaining quiet over something this serious. But there she sat, still leaning against me with not even a sigh escaping her trembling lips. Wait...trembling...? No, please don't be crying, please don't cry...please-

"R-Ry..." she choked out. God damnit. Not Sarah. She's too strong to cry. She doesn't get sad, she punches sadness right in the dick!

I looked down at her, flinching when my eyes caught sight of the wet trails that ran down her face. Everything that had happened so far, I could handle. Getting sick, fine. No known cure for my mysterious infection, no problem. Going to die, probably in pain? Meh. The loss of movement in my legs was even okay, as long as I had my parents, Emily and Sarah by my side to help me out. Sarah crying, however...now I could see just how badly my condition was affecting everyone I loved. My parents probably just stayed strong long enough to see me each day. Emily was probably the same way. Did they all cry after they left? No...I didn't want to be the cause of so much misery, especially to my loved ones. My parents should be focused on sports and stock trading, maybe saving money for retirement. Emily should be worried about a boyfriend or something, I don't know. I don't think Emily functions like other girls. But still. And Sarah...she should be with me, in our cabin in the woods, gathering our food for the weekend. Not crying over me like a dog owner waiting for their sick puppy to expire.

My thoughts went to another dark place that I had so far refused to think about. Money. I didn't make much selling shoes, but our food was covered by our gathering each week in the woods. My job was decent enough, but the pay and benefits...this condition had to be gathering quite the impressive hospital bill. I knew I would probably not live to see it myself, but that meant I would leave it with everyone that was already struggling emotionally with all of this. And here I am, making them struggle financially just to top it off. Ain't I the best?

"Ryan?" she spoke, clearly this time. She was looking up at me, a worried look in her eyes. I realized I hadn't responded to her. I knew she could still hear the heart monitor, but that probably didn't stop her from worrying about me...well, passing away suddenly. My infection was too mysterious to know exactly how it would proceed. For all we knew, it could kill me without warning. Just, bleh, dead and gone.

"I'm here, Sarah, just thinking," I responded softly. She was trembling again, this time in hopeful relief. Again, I reached up and started playing with her hair. This sucked. I hate drama, I hate not knowing what was going to happen, and I hate hurting so many others. I just wanted to laugh with her again. That was great, wasn't it? Yeah, let's do that. I looked up at the television, dismayed to see the credits for Dan Vs. playing next to an animated advert for the next show. Something colorful and pink, maybe. I don't know, my eyes were too misty to make it out too well. I rubbed Sarah's shoulder to get her attention and nodded my head in the direction of the TV. "What's on next? I think Dan's over."

She sniffed and rubbed her face with her sleeve, seemingly happy to be out of that sad cloud that was hanging over us like the plague. After removing the salty sorrow stains from her cheeks, she glanced up at the TV. Immediately, she groaned and put her face back in her hands. This was not a bad sign as much as it was confusing.

"Um...?" I inquired, tilting my head to the side. "What is it?"

"Just listen," she groaned louder, her voice being followed by a feminine harp sound as the next show's theme started. I lifted one eyebrow and looked up at the TV to see something far more pink and purple than I could stomach right now.

"My Little Pony~ My Little Pony~ Ahh Ahh Ahhahhh~"

It was now my turn to groan and cover my eyes with my hands. Too. Much. Happy. I wanted slapstick and some satire. Why couldn't there just be a Dan Vs. marathon on or something? But no, my room was now dancing with colors too bright for the healthy iris. I could almost feel the shadows of the evening sky being rudely awakened by the light show currently being shat out of my television set.

"Um, yeah, no thank you," I sighed. Sarah took this as me giving her permission to shoot up out of my bed and rush over to the wall with the TV on it. With the way she smacked the power button, I was surprised she didn't break the damn thing. Well okay then. No ponies for Sarah, easy enough. She returned to my bed just as I slid into the warm spot where she had been sitting. I gave her a sly grin. "Sorry, seat's taken, please find another."

She got a knowing look on her face and grinned back. Oh shit. Her strutting around to me didn't make me feel any safer.

"Oh, really? Well then~ What if I sit...here?~" she teased, plopping her tush right down on my lap. My face grew red immediately and I tried to keep the blood in my head, away from my pelvis. The last two months without any kind of attention was not helping in that regard.

"I...I need an adult..." I choked out, giving her the best I'm-too-innocent-to-know-what's-going-on look. She smirked again, further grinding her booty into my hips.

"Oh, hun~" she whispered, leaning closer. "I am an adult!"

My mock expression grew horrified and I pretended to struggle for anything else to say other than "OH SHIT!"

Unfortunately, my body decided that my moment with Sarah was causing me too much happiness, and I needed to be punished for my blasphemy. Just as I was about to get the first hint-hint-nudge-nudge attention in all the weeks I've been bedridden, the pain came back. And boy, did it come back with a fucking vengeance.

It started at my toes, which I had all but forgotten I had. Why did I only have feeling in them during the quakes? The muscles all the way up to my neck started expanding and contracting violently, causing me to sputter and drool. Sarah took immediate attention to me and screamed something. I was in too much pain at the time to decipher her words. I became aware that another voice joined in with her screaming. Was somebody else in the room with her?...oh, that's me. It was the weirdest feeling, having your lungs screaming out without telling them to do so. My eyes rolled up into my head, so I could no longer see my girlfriend. However, I could just barely hear her frantic footsteps running around to the other side of my bed.

What was that clicking noise? Well damn, Sarah finally decided that the nurse call button was a thing. I would have tried to sarcastically congratulate her if my body wasn't currently losing its shit. Okay, now why was my bed shaking? Hmm...okay, that's me again. I was expecting convulsions as some point, but whoa. My skeleton was trying to separate itself from the rest of me for some reason. Ouch. Ouch. FUCKING OUCH.

I was vaguely aware of Sarah shaking me, her wailing mouth right next to my ear. Pretty sure that if she was any farther away, my own screaming would have drowned hers out. My brain, probably due to the frying it was currently going through, was busy trying to find something funny to say to calm everyone down. I wasn't surprised as different internet jokes popped into my head. I didn't really handle stressful situations, per se, I just kind of laughed despite them in an attempt to ignore them. This was no different, apparently. Remember that Beep scene from Dan Vs.? That was pretty funny, wasn't it? I want to watch that again. Maybe then Sarah could laugh...

More footsteps sounded around my bed. Were these mine too? Nope? Good, I hope I'm not walking around right now. Especially since my legs are all but fucking useless right now. The light, barely seen since my eyes were currently staring at something somewhere around my frontal lobe, increased to its full brightness. I guess the doctors had arrived, then. Good, get Sarah out of here. I don't want her to see me die if this is truly it. That would just wreck her...seeing the one she swore to fight for pass away in front of her eyes.

I became aware of the darkness growing. Were the doctors turning the lights off? No, I could still feel then all around me. They wouldn't work in the dark. The sun setting? Well yeah, but not that fast. Oh, that's what it was. The sleep juice I loved oh so much. They were absolutely pumping me with it in an attempt to calm my body. Finally, I could sleep...I just hope I would wake up again. Well, goodnight Sarah. Goodnight doctors and Hellooooo nurse. Or some shit like that, I don't know, let me go to sleeee...

****

I blinked awake, feeling strange. But I was used to strange. Strange had become my well known enemy, and almost-friend. Familiar enough to make a joke with, but I hated its guts sometimes. This morning, however, strange brought a friend to visit. Apparently it assumed I would enjoy pain as company. This new pain was confusing, though. It was the same kind of pain I felt during the quakes, but toned down a bit. This did not make it any better though. Normally, the pain stopped once the quake was over. Now it was here to stay. My whole body felt like that feeling you get when you have to take a giant shit but you can't for another hour, no options. Yeah, that hell. Now imagine that feeling occurring in your arms, legs, head, stomach, dick, etc. I needed to take a body shit but that was nonsense. I also noticed something that scared me to my very core.

I couldn't fucking move.

Not just my legs this time. My upper half was now in the same condition, even my...oh wait, I could move my head. My neck also functioned like normal. They still felt like shit, but they could at least move. However, the sudden neck movements made the insides of my dried out throat scratch together, triggering a very violent series of coughs. Almost immediately after my coughing, I heard movement around me.

"Ryan!" I heard another very familiar voice say. There was no mistaking that voice's level of ownership and authority. Goddamn Emily. Now don't think I thought bad about her or anything. I loved her as much as any brother could love his sister. Sure, her protectiveness over me was a bit weird, but I also found it hilarious sometimes. So, naturally I played along with the joke. I belonged to Emily, and only through her mercy did she allow Sarah to borrow me. Like a rental or something. Stranger even, Emily liked it when I put it like that. She said I was too nice to watch over myself, so she would do it.

Anyway, Emily. She was now latched to me, her eyes red and puffy. Oh crap, I made her sad. And Sarah...the way she screamed finally entered my head. I did not want to relive that sound again, but there it was, echoing like a broken record in front of a megaphone inside of a metal room with no carpeting. It was haunting to say the least.

"H-hey...Em..." I choked, the dryness of my poor throat making another appearance. Emily quickly leaned over and grabbed a glass of water that I suspect a doctor left, complete with a convenient little bendy straw. I smiled as best I could and took the straw in my chapped lips. The feeling I got when that beautiful Hydrogen Hydrogen Oxygen hit my tongue was just...awesome. And when it soothed my dry throat...I might have gotten aroused, if it didn't feel like my dick needed to shit at the time. I didn't stop drinking until the water was gone and the tip of my straw made annoying slurping noises at the bottom of the glass. Well, to be honest, I kept making sippy noises until Emily got annoyed and took my straw away from me. Party pooper.

"Oh my god, Ryan, it's a straw. No more," she complained, putting the glass back where she found it. I gave her a weak smirk and rolled my eyes. If I had to energy, I'm sure I could goad her into one of our famous arguments, in which I would jokingly try to keep her fighting until she either realized what I was doing or someone else told us to can it. This time, however, I just didn't have it in me.

"Yeah, yeah, I've done worse with less," I countered. She nodded, smirking back.

"No kidding. I swear you need a leash sometimes, Ryan," she sighed, giving me a disappointed stare. I laughed, causing her to tilt her head, unsure about my next words.

"You would like that, wouldn't you?" I teased. Her face immediately got one of those Grr-I'm-angry-but-also-embarrassed looks. Ha, got her again. Not like teasing her with incest jokes in public was my go-to strategy, but here it worked.

"Are you shitting me with this? Again?" her hand met her face in what could only be described as an epic facepalm. The way she slouched over in that instant gave me my first view of our parents, both asleep against each other in the chairs along the wall. I instantly ceased all assholery and sobered up. My situation was right here, right now and I needed to know how everyone was doing, including myself.

"How are they? How are you?" I asked softly, trying to crane my neck up to see past the rest of Emily's back. She noticed my swift change in attitude and looked up at me again, this time with a almost-hidden worry written across her face.

"They're...kinda okay," she muttered, turning around just enough so that she could see them in her peripheral vision. Mom was snoring slightly and dad looked barely asleep. Another pang of guilt went through me again. These poor people, always worried about me and spending money to keep me alive for as long as the doctors could manage. And here I am just getting worse like some sort of ungrateful douche. I know, I know, not my fault and whatever. I still felt bad no matter what I told myself. These people raised me and provided for me until the day I went off with Sarah into the woods to build our new house together. We still kept in very close touch however...and maybe that's what made me feel the tiniest bit better about this whole situation. At least I always let them know I appreciated what they had done for me. So that when I'm six feet under, they won't be thinking about all the times I had hated them or something. I wasn't the smartest during my teenage years, but I still loved the shit out of my family.

Family...again with the dark thoughts. My brain decided it would be a good time to remind me about the multiple discussions I had with Sarah regarding names...for future children. That I could no longer hope to see or even create. I was ruined. Did my dick even function anymore? Who knows.

"Ryan, you're doing it again," came Emily's voice, firmly ripping me from my self-pity. Whew.

"Thanks Em...I hate getting like that...can't help it sometimes, you know?" I reasoned, looking at her. My neck was getting tired from holding my head up so I rested it back down against my pillow. Emily nodded to me, but I could only see the top of her head move. The rest of her was too far to the side to see.

"Yeah...anyway, I'm doing okay, too. At least, better than them..." she motioned towards Mom and Dad with her head. Hearing that made me feel a tiny bit better. Emily was strong, even if she cried. I could almost bet that she only cried after she got done comforting our parents.

Ugh, I have to stop thinking crying is a form of weakness. That's a dick thought, bad brain.

Just then, a knock came from somewhere outside where I could see. Though I didn't need my vision to know it was one of the doctors looking after me. Nobody else I knew knocked.

"I'm awake," I announced, before Emily could say it for me. She flicked the side of my head rather painfully, not doing anything to stop the not-so-dull ache that was consuming my body. Okay, I don't think saying that I was awake was worthy of a head flick. Oh, yeah, I did make another incest joke before, so I guess I deserved one at some point. Fair enough.

"Ah, good. What hurts, Mr. Burbank?" the doctor said, his footsteps signaling his approach to my side. This statement struck me as odd. Not 'How are you feeling?' or 'Good morning!'. No, what I got was 'What hurts?'. He must know I was going to be hurting something bad. Well, unfortunately, my mouth moved before my brain considered a nicer way to put my current pain other than-

"I need to take a body shit," came out of my mouth. Fucking hell, brain, catch up. The doctor was now looking down at me, blinking in some kind of surprised confusion. Emily groaned and stuck her face again with her palm.

"Oookay then, Mr. Burbank," he said cautiously, moving a step closer. I gave him an awkward smile through the pain my body was now in. He gave a knowing frown and looked down at the notepad he was carrying. My eyes wandered to it. Those notes...he must knows what's going on now. He sighed and looked over at Emily. My gaze followed and I saw her just in time to see her shake her head gently. What?

"I didn't...he just woke up," she almost whispered, now looking away from the doctor. He nodded once and looked back down at his notepad. Oh shit, what didn't she do?

"Mr. Bur...Ryan," the doctor said. I blinked once. None of the doctors liked referring to me by my first name. "I'm not really sure how to say this, but I'm sure you're already feeling it." Oh. Oh no. This doesn't sound good. Can it be good news hidden by a sad face to make the good news even better? Please?

"Well...it appears that your most recent episode has spread the infection much higher and much quicker than we thought it would," he said calmly, but with a sense of finality. Like he was reading my goddamn obituary already.

"And?" I asked cautiously. I think I already knew what he meant, but I wanted to hear it from something other than my paranoid mind.

"You are now paralyzed from the neck down. The same thing that happened with your legs has happened with your torso," he said bluntly. I got the feeling he was trying to pretend he wasn't really there, and was just watching someone else's life play out. I would know; I had been doing it quite a lot at that point.

I guess I took that news better than I should have, considering I could already feel what he was talking about when I woke up. No movement, no control, just aches and pains. Nerves, why you do this? The humorous side of me must have showed up to halt my impending breakdown, because it chose that moment to make me say the dumbest shit I've ever heard.

"Hey, doctor, ever hear the story about the asparagus plants?" I asked in a deadpan tone. Emily shot into view immediately, her hand covering my mouth. A look absolute horror was written across her face. The doctor only gave a questioning look and raised an eyebrow. Before Emily could stop him, he responded.

"Um, no, I don't think so," he replied. Emily's eyes zoomed up into his in the most murderous glare I've ever seen. It was enough to make the doctor flinch and take a step back. She very slowly mouthed 'Shut. The. Fuck. Up.' at him. He swallowed once and nodded, turning around to leave the scene before Emily castrated him or something. Before he could leave, I decided to give him the summary as fast as I could while my sister was distracted.

"There were three asparagus plants with very short legs that couldn't run fast enough across the road and one got hit by a car and in the hospital his friends were told that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life just like me!" I shouted loudly, causing both our parents to awaken in a fright. Emily turned her eyes towards me in exasperation. I smirked at her in triumph. Another human bows down to the mighty power of the asparagus plants. She simply shook her head and leaned back into her chair, plowing her face into her hands and letting out the loudest groan I had ever heard.

"Ryan...?" I heard my mom choke out. No, please, no more crying...be happy please! I just told the asparagus plant joke at the speed of goddamn light, please laugh Mom! However, she couldn't hear my mental pleas and rushed over to my bed and covered my face in mother kisses. Fresh tears were running down the stains of the old ones. I sighed again. I just wanted the sad to stop. She was a woman meant to laugh, not cry in misery each day of her life.

I gave her the best kiss I could while not being able to move more than my neck and head. Dad walked next to her, looking conflicted. He didn't look to have cried yet, but I know Dad. He was always in and out of the hospital and was always joking about how he would be the first to go. Having one foreign kidney tends to do that to a man. Those kidney medicines cause all kinds of fucking cancer. But here he was, sitting next to his dying 20-year-old son. I just don't think he knew how to handle it. He was always the one being comforted, not the other way around. He didn't know what to say or do.

Still, I gave him a smile and a nod to let him know that I knew what he wanted to say. He smiled back at me for a moment before looking down at Mom.

"Hey Mom, nice bed, huh?" I asked, nodding my head towards the visitor's chairs lined against the wall. She managed a laugh through her trembling. She wiped her face clean of both old and new tears and looked down at me fondly. I could tell she was thankful for my humor.

"Yeeaaah, five stars for sure," she chuckled, looking over at the stained chair. Dad smiled too, twisting and giving his back a loud crack. That told me all I needed to know. My back was currently on my pain list as well.

Before I could get any more jokes out, my parents grew somber once again. Shit, all that work for nothing. They looked between themselves, Emily, and my broken body under the sheets.

"Did they tell you?" Mom asked me quietly. I nodded once. She looked down before continuing. "So...how are you doing?" I almost said the body shit thing again, but Emily gave me a firm stare that let me know this was time for serious. Okay, fine, demon sister.

"It...hurts all over," I began. "When my legs were numb, that was okay. Now everything...hurts." Mom's hand reached up and planted itself on my hair, her fingers sliding through my brown head fuzz. Ohh, this was nice...no, NO! This was Sarah's weakness, not mine! I'm not...oh, that's gooood. Almost enough to make me forget about the pain shooting through my head.

"My baby..." she whispered soothingly. I closed my eyes and tried my hardest to relax. The calm expression that resided on my face seemed to be cheering Mom up some. Dad sat down at the end of my bed and placed his hand on my leg, patting it lightly. I only let out the faintest traces of a frown from the pain shooting up my leg. The feeling of support outweighed the pain, though. At least in my mind. At the other side of me I could feel Emily pressing herself against my side once again, completing the circle of family. Now all I needed was...

"Hey, where's Sarah?" I asked, looking around. I know she couldn't be at the hospital all the time, but I still wanted to know if she was okay or not. But to my confusion, they all looked around in discomfort. Like they were trying to avoid telling me about something. I looked towards Emily but she turned away. Dad was looking at the TV in assumed interest. It might have worked if the damn thing was even turned on. I finally looked towards Mom, giving her a pleading look. I needed to know what was going on with Sarah. Oh god, please don't tell me she got depressed and hurt her...no, she wouldn't do that. She'd sooner punch herself in her non-existent dick.

Mom sighed sadly and cupped her hand around my cheek. Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit shit shit-

"Sarah...she said she couldn't take it, Ryan," she choked out another sob. Fuck no, this was not happening. My own demise I could stomach, as long as everyone else made it out okay. Sarah was too strong for this shit. She couldn't have...

"Where is she? Mom, is Sarah okay? What happened?" I sputtered out all at once, trying to move my body frantically. Alas, I was still as immobile as the fucking asparagus. She seemed to understand what I was assuming and waved her hands quickly aside.

"Oh, no no no! She's fine, Ryan! She's back at your cabin, resting," she said quickly. The ringing that I didn't even realize I was hearing faded away and I let out a large sigh of relief. Thank god...I don't think I would make it more than a few minutes knowing that I caused Sarah to do something like that...

"But..." Mom continued. I looked up, confused. What else was there? "She said..." God damn it, Mom, just say it already. She looked to the side, figuring out exactly what to say. When nothing came to mind, she just spoke.

"She said she can't visit anymore, Ryan," she said softly. "They had to restart your heart last night, Ryan...in front of her. I tried getting her to come over, but all she said was...'I can't.'"

I froze. She was...leaving me alone. Letting me go. The previous ringing came back for a few moments while I pondered the weight of what she just said. I had put Sarah through so much that she couldn't take it anymore...and left. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream and run to our cabin and get her back.

I was brought out of my funk by Dad, who simply said, "I know." I looked at him for a second before I realized something: Dad had gone through the same thing during the time when both of his kidneys shut down. His girlfriend at the time just couldn't take watching him die and left. Dad said he didn't blame her. What was his reasoning again? Oh, right...he couldn't ask any person to take on that kind of weight for him against their will. I guessed I agreed. Sarah was an amazing person and being around me must have been tearing her apart. I wanted her to be happy, and if that meant trying to move on, I wouldn't stop her. I guess...I could never blame her either. And even better, I left the girl I loved a nice home to live in, and I knew my family would be there for her too. At least, I hoped.

"Could you...take care of her after?" I asked my family gently. They looked at me for a few moments before fully understanding what I was asking them. Before I could say anything to calm down, Mom and Emily were in tears and hugging me. Dad sat almost motionless, rubbing my leg again. But the motion that all of them shared was the thing that made me finally break down and share in their sobbing: they were all three gently nodding their acceptance of my last request.

"Thanks, guys..." I choked out, ignoring the searing pain my family was causing with their hugs. I could only have so many more hugs, I wasn't going to let my aches short change me of a single one.

It was then, surrounded by my family's love and support, that I fell asleep once again.

****

I awoke to a mostly dark room. The inside was empty, my family having gone home to catch up on their rest after knowing I was stable for now. I yawned, the ache reappearing once again. Ugh, motherfucker. Just leave me alone. What did I ever do to you? I then looked up at the only source of light in the room: the television set. On it, even through bleary eyes, I could see familiar pinks and purples adoring the screen. Are you shitting me, little cartoon horses? Just had to wait until I was a vegetable, huh? Well, I guess it makes sense, them being herbivores and all. Don't eat me, horsies, I'm not that kind of vegetable! Heh.

I sighed and looked on, watching anyway. Too broken to move and change the channel, too tired to call for someone to do it for me. It seemed to bother Sarah for some reason, but now that I wasn't sitting through that damned opening song, it didn't seem all that bad. Couldn't be any worse than that fucking Teen Titans reboot. Ugh, that was a travesty.

On the screen, some blue winged horsie was in the hospital. Ditto, gay pride horse, ditto. Speaking of which, what was up with her hair? Dying your horse's hair all the colors of the damn rainbow couldn't be healthy for them. I would have to reprimand her owner someday, beat some sense into him or something. Pfft, yeah, right. Me doing anything at all, that's hilarious, brain.

Anyway, she was currently trying to pass the time while waiting in the bed, with what looked to be broken wings. Ouch. Poor horsie. And now there were more small colorful horses surrounding her and...wait, some of those horses sound familiar...is that Tara Strong? Holy shit, she's in fucking everything! Fond memories of The Powerpuff Girls pop into my head. I miiiiight have to watch some more of this. Tara Strong can do no wrong, correct? Wait...Teen Titans reboot...eh, I'll ignore that for now. Onward to adventure, my colorful friends!

****

Well okay then. Color me impressed. As long as impressed isn't as bright a color as the characters I've been staring at for the last 2 hours. I don't know who left the TV on, but thanks. When I first heard the theme song, I was curious as to how a show with Friendship is Magic in the goddamn title would be on the same network as Dan Vs. Luckily, the show had a much better sense of humor than I expected, and I found myself laughing quite often. I think I could relate most with Pinkie and Applejack. Pinkie was like me with her goals; keep those around you happy, or at least try your damn hardest to. Applejack was very close to her family, all except for her parents. I got the feeling they might have passed on. If that was the case, I found some solace in the way the whole Apple family came together to help and support each other despite their loss. My only hope would be that my family would be the same way after I...

This time, the tears came without a Mom or a Dad or an Emily to cry on. I was going to die. All the time I had spent planning for my future with (hopefully) Sarah was for naught. You know all those movies you see advertised on every TV station? I would live to see none of them. The hamster my sister had in her room was going to outlive me. That one really got to me. Little shit was the most annoying thing ever, yet my sister loved its guts. Wait, why did that bother me the most? I don't know, I'm fucking weird. Oh, wait.

Sarah. I didn't feel as sad anymore about her. She was already moving on. That kind of made me glad...she didn't deserve to be moping about something like this for the rest of her life. Sarah was the strongest person I knew. She would make it passed this easily...I hope. I don't want to be mourned like this. I just wanted everyone to be happy again, with or without me. And if I had to die for them to move on...

I hate when my mind starts going to these places. With nobody to pull me out, I've been known to daze for hours. But now, what exactly was I contemplating? I knew what it was, but the word left a bad taste in my mouth. The doctors had discussed it with me recently, away from my family, in the event I become stuck in pain with no end in sight and no hope for recovery. It was only made legal a few years back, as a means of mercy to those who couldn't escape their own bodies. And me, stuck with my aches as a vegetable...who says I have to wait for the next quake to turn me into a true veggie? I could just stop it before the pain become too unbearable...before the pain killed me. It would all be over. No more being trapped inside myself. No more sitting here waiting to die. No more making everyone I loved miserable. I'm sure that my passing would make them more sad for a short while, before they realized how much pain I was in...it would be best for everyone involved.

It was during a particularly bad body ache that I closed my eyes and made my decision. I would discuss it with everybody first, but my mind was almost made up. I just wished...I could see Sarah one more time. Our last meeting consisted of her getting me hard and then us screaming while I convulsed. Not exactly the ideal last goodbye for the woman I loved...but she had already started moving on. I didn't want to be the one to pull her back into this cloud right after she had escaped. Her sanity might become questionable if I did that.

No, just family. I would tell them to, I don't know, tell her that I passed in my sleep peacefully. With what I wanted, that wouldn't be far from the truth. I was aware of the strong painkillers being squirted into me by my IV. Without them, I might have already been dead. They also kept me silly at most times, which helped my mind immensely. I was being kept alive with machines. That was something I told myself long ago that I never wanted to happen. I had been here too long already, I realized, dragging out my demise. It might have been better for everyone if I passed on weeks ago. They would have probably already stopped mourning by now if that had been the case...God damn it.

I needed to sleep on this. I would tell them tomorrow, but for now...I just let the painkillers in my system lull me into sleep while a tender moment between Applejack and her little sister, Apple Bloom, played out on the TV.

****

Well that went about just as well as I expected it to. Emily screaming and telling me she wouldn't let me go away. Mom sobbing hysterically while Dad embraced her, his own face stuck in a thousand-yard stare. I wanted to be more comforting to them, but that morning was the worst yet. The aches were so bad that my teeth chattered non-stop on their own. My mind wasn't fairing much better. It was as if the painkillers just fucking stopped. They were still there, but something was fighting them off. God damn shit fucking infection asshole, doing this to me. Hell, I didn't care about myself anymore. I just wanted the pained wails of my sister and mother to fucking stop. For it to just be the hell over. And when Emily and Mom looked at me after awhile of sobbing, they saw what I was going through. My mom stopped and just hugged Dad, and Emily looked at the far wall, little hiccups coming from her every few seconds.

They knew. I was going to die soon, and waiting any longer was just putting me through hell for no reason. There was no magical mystery cure coming for me, whatever this bacteria was had already done its job. My nerves were shot and the last stage was just shutting down. For the toll of all the pain to finally break my mind and turn me off completely.

The doctor walked back in, having previously left the room after explaining the procedure to my family. It was going to be simple, calm, and painless for me. That's all I wanted. No more pain for anyone. In the doctor's hand was a small tube of liquid. My fucking end.

My whole family eyed the liquid sadly, knowing exactly what it was. That was going to be the last thing that ever entered my body. I stopped my teeth chatters just long enough to stutter out, "I l-love...you guys."

That did it. My entire family latched to me again, sobbing loudly. I even heard Dad let out some choked sounds. I tried my hardest to cry with them, but the tears were already there from the aches. I could almost feel another set of convulsions coming on. No, I would not go out by the infection's terms. I would not go out screaming with my eyes rolled back, my body jerking every which way. I would go peacefully, with my family hugging me from all directions. The doctor watched us sadly. This must have been a terrible sight to live with for someone not even involved. Shit, another person I was hurting with this.

"I just got all the papers filed away, along with your will, Mr. Burbank," he said softly, placing the rest of the stuff he was carrying down on my bedside table, except for the...tube. "Are you all ready?"

Mom, Dad and Emily hugged me extra tightly. Shit, it hurt but I fucking loved it. This was going to be it, my family right there with me to lead me into the dark. I really couldn't ask for better way to go. Better context, sure, but this setup was perfect. If only Sarah...

My family all gave me one last kiss on my cheek before resuming their hugging positions. And then they nodded. Holy shit, this was actually happening. I wanted to almost freak out, but their embrace let me know...it was going to be okay.

And with that, I nodded. The doctor looked at us once more before nodding and looking down to the liquid. I looked around at the lovely people who surrounded me, smiling one last time to them. They smiled back, though through tears. Outside of my vision, I could feel the doctor fiddling around with my IV for a few moments before going still. Okay, it must be coming in now. Wooooo this stuff is stroooong~

Behind everyone, I spotted the TV on, playing the same episodes of My Little Pony as yesterday. Who the hell turned it on again? And yesterday, for that matter? Oh yeah, goddamn Emily. She must have liked the show too. Well looky looky. Something we have in common, fucking finally. I guess she might has well been my little Apple Bloom, watching over her Big Mac. Heh.

My vision started to narrow. The TV, being at the center of my sight at the time, felt like it was pulling me in. Weird, so this is what tunnel vision looks like. Wait...what the hell is that noise?

"Ryan!"

Wait, that sounds way too familiar. I was nearing the TV at this point, the screen pressing up against my consciousness. Fucking hell doctor, what did you kill me with? This is trippy as shit.

"Ryan!"

Okay, I'm not just imagining this shit. That voice. Is that...Tara Strong? What the hell is her voice doing in my dying hallucination? Go find your own deathbed, Tara. But she persisted.

"RYAN!"

FINE! Geez, I'm coming. Well it helps that the TV just sucked me in or some shit. Doesn't matter. I'm inside the colorful world now. Don't worry, Tara Strong's voice, I'm coooomiiiiiiing~

Wooooooo~

*Exhale~*

*Silence*

Author's Note:

Okay, kind of a spur of the moment thing I had after a few months of reading other fanfics on here. Wanted to do something of my own, at least to sate the few ideas I have floating around. I might get to the other ones sometime, but I know myself. I have a hard time staying focused on one thing for too long without someone telling me to, so I very well might refuse to start another one. Want so proof? Look when I started my first story on here. I really want this one to play out however, so I won't make it all that long. Maybe 10 chapters, depending on what details I add in. If you guys have any suggestions or critiques, please let me know. And I did write this in a few hours in one sitting, so some thing might be weird or out of place. Just let me know and I'll fix them as fast as I can. I love critique!

Also, sorry about all the sad stuff. It's more of a prelude to the main story going on. Also, there's a reason for Ryan's last name, but giving it away would be a spoiler for where this story is going. If you figure it out, then yay. But please don't spread it around unless you just can't help yourself.

Also, for those of you that didn't get the first interaction between Ryan and Sarah.