Zander hated being in the hospital and he vocalized it on a daily basis. The couple of times he tried to get out of bed on his own, he collapsed. The nurses would inform Jason and Jason would talk to Zander about it. So Zander would stay put. For a while. He would sleep alot. Eat only when food from Kelly's was brought to him, by either Jason or Carly, and he would play cards with whomever he could con into a game or read the books Sonny brought him.
But after a week he wanted out and he complained to Jason.
"You can't leave until you're stronger," Jason replied, patiently.
"I won't get stronger stuck in this bed!" Zander shot back.
Jason's response was to put down the guardrail, pull back the covers then step back with a sweep of one hand. "Fine. Let's go for a walk and see how far you get."
Zander knew he was being challenged and he was up for it. He was allowed to wear hospital bottoms and a tank top, thanks to Jason, so he felt more comfortable. But the cast on his left arm still bugged him, so getting out of bed was a bit awkward. But he made it on his own and didn't wobble all that much when he stood up. Zander smiled at Jason then headed for the door. He made it to the nurses' station at a fairly good pace, but started slowing down soon after. Still...he was determined and he could hear Jason keeping pace behind him. Unfortunately, Zander's body was not cooperating and he felt his knees buckle as dizziness washed over him. But even as he felt himself falling, strong hands caught him. He felt Jason lifting him into his arms and wanted to protest, but he didn't have the energy to speak.
"You did pretty good," Jason conceded, as he settled Zander back in bed.
"Yeah...just great!" Zander shot back. He hated feeling so weak.
Jason pulled the covers over him then clicked the railing back into place. "I'll make a deal with you."
Zander's perked up in interest. "What kind of a deal?"
"It's pretty simple. I'll get you released and take you home under one condition."
Jason locked eyes with Zander "You start therapy with Dr. Baldwin."
Zander opened his mouth to protest, yet again, but closed it. Jason had brought up the subject twice before and Zander had blasted him both times. The first time he had freaked out to the point where Bobbie had come in and sedated him. Zander didn't want to talk about what happened. It wouldn't change anything. He just wanted to forget. He rubbed a hand over his face then asked, "Why are you doing this to me?"
"I want you to get better, Zander."
"I am better! I don't need to talk to a shrink!"
Jason smoothed a lock of hair off Zander's forehead, and almost smiled when his hand was slapped away. "You can't just forget what happened. I know I can't and I wasn't the one who was raped."
Zander glared at Jason. "I wasn't raped. I asked for it! Big difference, all right. Now will you leave me the fuck alone?" Tears burned in Zander's eyes and he blinked them back.
"No...I won't leave you alone." Jason put the railing back down then he sat on the side of the bed and drew Zander into his arms. "I love you...so I can't leave you alone."
"You keep saying that!" Zander pulled back to look at Jason. "How can you love me? It's crazy."
Jason pressed a kiss to Zander's forehead, then he claimed his lips. Then he whispered, "I can't explain why I love you. I just do. And I want us to be together."
Zander wanted that too. He hadn't been able to define what he felt for Jason. He was just grateful that he was in his life and that he cared about him. He wasn't ready to believe that Jason loved him. But he was afraid of losing him so he made a counter offer. "I'll talk to Dr. Baldwin if you will."
"What do you mean?"
"You're in love with me, right?" At Jason's nod, Zander continued. "Then you're more fucked up than I am. You talk to the shrink with me."
Jason smiled. "All right. I will." He kissed Zander again then stood up. "I'll see if she's free right now."
Zander shook his head. "No rush."
"The sooner the better, Zander," Jason replied, then he was gone.
"Fuck," Zander whispered. He wasn't ready for this. For any of it. He leaned his head back against the pillows and closed his eyes. Then he let his fingertips touch his lips. He could still feel the imprint of Jason's kiss.
* * * * *
Jason headed for the men's room as soon as he left Zander's room. Kissing Zander always had an effect on him and he needed to regain his composure before talking to Dr. Baldwin. He had given in to Zander’s request to talk to the doctor because a part of Jason knew that he did need help. Especially if he was going to help Zander get through this. Once in the bathroom, Jason splashed cold water on his face. He took a few deep breaths, got his body under control, then he headed out. This was the first step towards bringing Zander home.
* * * * *
As it turned out, Dr. Baldwin was unavailable. She had been called out of town on a family emergency and was not expected back for several weeks. Dr. Vanessa Lee was taking on her patients. Vanessa was in her forties but looked younger. She was Asian with dark eyes and waist-length black hair and she wore black rimmed glasses. She sat on the couch and watched her newest patients. Zander Smith and Jason Morgan. Before agreeing to have a session with them, Vanessa had read their medical files. Both had sustained multiple injuries in the past. Then she had asked around about them and had been intrigued by what she had learned. She knew about Zander's rape. About his and Jason's connection to mobster Sonny Corinthos, and she didn't need to be told to know that they cared about each other. Alot.
Vanessa jotted down a few notes as she watched Zander run his fingers through his hair with his good arm. He was in a wheelchair and it was obvious that he hated it. "Are you feeling trapped?" Vanessa asked, suddenly.
Zander frowned at her. "Trapped?" he echoed. "What do you mean?"
"I mean. Trapped by the chair? Trapped by your injuries? By the past? Trapped."
"I guess." Zander sighed. "I feel trapped by my body more than anything."
Vanessa could see that he was surprised by his own admission. She nodded then asked, '"In what way?"
Zander shrugged. "In every way. The stupid cast, and the fact that I'm so damn weak."
"You need time to heal, Zander. You're young and healthy and doing quite well, all things considered." Vanessa watched him absorb her words then she hit him with another question. "What about the rape?" She watched him flinch in reaction then she glanced over at Jason, who had been standing by her desk the whole time, not moving a muscle. He turned pale and she saw pain glitter in his blue eyes, before he shuttered them. He wore his mask well. But Vanessa had already figured out that Zander was Jason's weakness. His Achilles’ heel, as it were. But then she returned her attention back to Zander and he was, visibly, shaking with anger. Vanessa could almost feel it. But that didn't stop her from continuing her line of questioning. "How does that make you feel?"
"I wasn't raped!" Zander snarled.
Vanessa held his furious gaze. "I read your chart, Zander, and I talked to Jason about it. He watched you getting raped the second time."
Zander turned his glare on Jason then he gripped one rim of the wheelchair as if to propel himself towards the door. But his left arm was in a sling and strapped to his side and he couldn't maneuver the chair with one hand. Frustration made him slam his fist into one thigh. "Fuck you!" he snapped at her.
"I know that it's difficult to talk about, Zander," Vanessa countered. "But it's not going to go away just because you want it to. You have to deal with it and that's what I'm here to help you do. You don't have to be afraid."
"I'm not afraid!" Zander's voice cracked as he screamed at her. He ran his hand through his hair, making an effort to calm down. "You want to know what happened?" He asked after a moment.
Vanessa nodded. "Tell me."
Zander combed his hair back a few more times, then dropped his hand to the arm of the chair. He gripped it hard then stated, "I let the guy fuck me. Okay? It wasn't rape."
"Did you enjoy it?" Vanessa prompted. She knew she was pushing his buttons but it had to be done.
"Fuck you!" Zander snapped back.
Vanessa simply smiled. "Have you ever had sex with a man, before the rape?"
Zander's knuckles turned white as he gripped the arm of the chair, but his voice was quiet as he blurted out, "I had sex with Jason." The hand gripping the chair arm suddenly clamped over Zander's mouth. His eyes went wide as he realized what he had said.
"Consensual sex?" Vanessa asked.
"No," Jason interjected.
Vanessa looked at him. "So you raped Zander too?"
Jason nodded. "Technically, yes. I held him down one time and tied him up another time."
"Why?" Vanessa asked, and she was more than a little curious about the relationship between the two men. All the more so when Zander hissed,
"It wasn't rape!"
Jason locked eyes with Zander. "I made you have sex with me, Zander. I didn't give you a choice. That's rape."
Zander shook his head. "It wasn't," he insisted.
"What I did to you was no different than what Mick did. We both forced you." Jason's voice was hoarse with emotion.
"It wasn't the same thing." Zander's voice was hoarse as well and thick with unshed tears. "You didn't hurt me."
Jason moved to him, kneeling in front of the wheelchair. "Yes…I did. I hurt you. I didn't protect you from Mick."
Zander tried to shove Jason away from him. "He was going to kill you, Jason. I couldn't let him do that. I didn't know what else to do...I just wanted to buy some time. I'm sorry…I'm sorry..." Zander broke off as tears choked him, wetting his face.
"It's okay...it's okay, Zander," Jason whispered, cupping his face in both hands then leaning in to kiss away the tears.
"I'm sorry....I'm sorry.." Zander continued to whisper.
Vanessa watched as Jason gathered Zander into his arms and held on tight. She knew they had reached a breaking point for the both of them and that the tide could turn either way. This could be the start of them both coming together and healing. Or it could be the thing that pulled them apart. She stood up and left the office, giving them some privacy. She would speak with them again later, individually. As she headed towards the nurses' station, Vanessa hoped that Zander and Jason would be able to work through this. They needed each other in a way she doubted either one of them realized. It wasn't about love. It was something that went soul deep.
© Shelly 2004