Flame Turns Blue
Cameron sat on the waiting room couch, elbows on his knees, head down, waiting. There was nothing else he could do for his son. Zander was in the treatment room with Monica Quartermaine. And Cameron was sitting quietly, but only after Alan Quartemaine had threatened to sedate him for badgering the staff. But it hadn't been easy for Cameron to calm down. Zander had flatlined during the ambulance ride to the hospital and Cameron was terrified that he was going to lose another son. "Please don't die, Alex," he whispered. "Please don't die."
He raised his head to see Alexis standing before him and he wondered who had called her. "I failed him," Cameron told her.
Alexis sat down beside him. "What's going on? Bobbie called me and said that Zander was rushed here."
Cameron was about to reply when he saw Monica approaching and he jumped to his feet and strode forward to meet her. "How is my son?"
"Critical, but alive." Monica sighed. "It's going to be touch and go for the next twenty-four hours. We pumped his stomach but he's suffering from alcohol poisoning as well."
"I want to see him."
Monica nodded. "You can after he's settled into ICU. Bobbie will let you know when he's ready."
Cameron ran a hand over his face. He was grateful that Alexander was still alive. "I'm staying with him tonight." His tone dared her to refuse him.
"That's fine." Monica patted his shoulder then walked off.
"Cameron…what's going on?" Alexis demanded.
He closed his eyes for a moment, and the images from the past hour flashed in his head. "Alexander overdosed again. I think he meant to die this time, Alexis. He may still succeed."
Alexis was stunned. "But...why? He was doing so well."
"No...he wasn't. He was breaking apart from the inside out. Alexander has been shattered for a very long time, but somehow he managed to keep the pieces together. Until now. I did that to him. All of it...it's my fault."
"Cameron...I don’t get it. How did Zander overdose? Where was he? Wasn't he home?"
Cameron let Alexis lead him back over to the couch and he sat down with her. "Alexander blew off curfew and his call ins. I was stuck here...working. I ran into Nikolas and he went looking for my son. He found him and brought him home. He then called to say that Alexander was sleeping and he was taking off. I was home within the hour, not even, and I found Alexander trashing his room. He was already high and polishing off a bottle of Jack Daniels. He kept talking about not being numb enough...that he could still feel her."
Alexis blinked back tears. "Where did he get the drugs and the booze?"
"He must have stashed them. I trusted him to follow the rules. After the first few days I stopped looking for the stuff." Cameron shook his head. "I saw all the signs glaring at me but I ignored them. I wanted to believe that Alexander was okay, even though I knew better. If I had sent him away like I wanted to, if everyone had just let me do that!" Cameron was angry now and he jumped to his feet and began to pace.
"Cameron...don't blame yourself," Alexis told him.
He turned on her with a glare. "I'm not blaming myself. I blame YOU and Dr. Baldwin and Monica Quartermaine! I told all of you that my son needed help and all of you defied me! And now he's lying in Intensive Care, barely clinging to life!" As quickly as the rage had come, it faded away and Cameron felt hot tears slide down his face. He wiped them away with the back of one hand and shrugged off Alexis' hand when she squeezed his shoulder, offering comfort. "God...my son is dying and I'm still looking for ways to blame everyone else."
Alexis moved to face him. "I'm sorry."
"So am I." Cameron didn't know what to do now. He just stood there until he felt Alexis wrap her arms around him, then he hugged her back, clinging to her almost desperately.
* * * * *
Cameron sat in the chair next to Zander's bed. He barely left it other than to go to the bathroom once and to pace on occasion. The hours passed slowly and his son continued to cling to life. But he showed no signs of waking up and that scared the hell out of Cameron. He didn't talk to his son. He didn't talk to anyone. Not even after Zander was downgraded from critical to serious and Monica allowed him visitors. Cameron simply left the room and hibernated in his office, canceling all of his patients and locking the doors.
But Zander wasn't alone.
Alexis was his first visitor after his father. She sat on the stool next to his bed and held Zander's hand, being careful of the IV tubing and the restraints. Alexis hated the restraints but she understood why they were there. Zander had made a clear attempt to kill himself and when he woke up they had no way of knowing how he might react. Alexis squeezed Zander's fingers then sighed. "This is getting to be a habit that I would dearly love to break, Zander. You're giving me gray hairs, you know that?" Alexis leaned in to brush a stray lock of hair off Zander's forehead. "I wish I knew what to say to make you want to come back to us. I wish there was some magic word that could make all the bad stuff go away. You don't deserve any of this, Zander. You're such a good guy...you really are. It's not fair that life keeps kicking you in the teeth. I understand that you're tired of fighting back...but I’m asking you not to give up, okay? Don't give up now. I know I'm being selfish…but I don't want to lose you." Alexis broke off as he throat tightened with tears she could no longer hold in check.
* * * * *
Gia didn't know what to say. She stood beside Zander's bed, holding his hand, looking down at his pale face. This wasn't supposed to happen. "God, Zander...I can't believe this happened. I can't believe you wanted to leave us. Why? You have to wake up and explain it to me. I just…I don't get it. Emily needs you...I need you. You can't just leave like that, Zander. You just can't." Tears slid down Gia's face and she wiped them away with the back of one hand. She couldn't stay. Leaning in, Gia pressed a kiss to Zander's cheek then she turned and walked away.
Outside the room, Nikolas was waiting for her. "You okay?" he asked.
"Not really." Gia let him pull her into a hug. "I'm ready to go."
"Can you wait a minute? I want to see Zander for a second."
Gia was surprised but nodded. "Sure...I can wait." She moved to the waiting area and sat down.
Nikolas entered Zander's room. He stood at the foot of the bed and just looked at Zander for a moment. Then he took a deep breath, released it slowly, then said, "I'm sorry, Zander. I should have stayed." Then Nikolas turned and walked away. He found Gia and they went to Kelly's to meet up with Elizabeth and Lucky.
"This is my fault," Nikolas stated, shoving aside his food, untouched.
"It's not your fault," Gia shot back.
Nikolas glared at her. "If I had stayed with Zander this never would have happened."
Elizabeth was confused. "What are you talking about?"
"I was with Zander just before he overdosed," Nikolas explained. "He went AWOL and I ran into his father and told him I'd find Zander and bring him home. Which I did. And…I thought Zander was asleep...so I left. And then..."
"You can't blame yourself for this, Nikolas," Elizabeth stated. "Zander did this intentionally. If not this time then another. At least this time his father was there and he found him in time."
Nikolas couldn't shake the guilt. "Barely in time," he whispered.
Elizabeth brushed away a tear as she reached for Lucky's hand. "You know...I almost wonder if this is meant to be."
"What do you mean?" Gia prompted.
"Emily and Zander. The way they are right now. In a weird kind of way, it's like they're together...you know? And...if Emily dies, I don't know how Zander would live without her. She's the reason he believes he's alive at all. She's the reason he decided life might be worth living."
Lucky shook his head. "It's kinda morbid to think that way. "It seems like just a matter of time before we lose Emily, I don't want Zander to go too. I mean…it's not like we're really friends or anything, but I…I think I'd miss him. I mean he can drive you crazy with the way he goes at things. Like a train, ya know. He just comes straight at you and doesn't stop even if he hits a mountain. I kind of admire that about him. He's made alot of mistakes, but he owns up to them, and he's got a good heart. And no matter how you feel about the guy, he loves Emily with all his heart, and I don't think that's a bad thing."
Gia nodded. "It's a good thing, Lucky and you just described Zander to a *T*. And I would definitely miss him." It was her turn to brush away a tear.
The four friends sat in silence for a long time, praying for their friends.
* * * * *
After leaving Kelly's, Elizabeth and Lucky decided to go and visit Zander and Emily.
Elizabeth couldn't stop the tears that flowed down her face as she entered Zander's room. It was surreal to see him just lying there so still. So...lifeless. Elizabeth truly believed that Emily and Zander were connected in this moment, as if they were holding on to each other in some place meant for them alone. But that didn't make it easier to face them.
"Zander...Emily wouldn't want this for you. You know that. She wouldn't want you to give up on yourself like this. It's like you're giving up on her. So please...please fight to come back to us. To Emily. Okay?" Elizabeth leaned in to press a kiss to Zander's forehead then she silently left the room.
* * * * *
Carly had been visiting her mom at General hospital when she spotted Dr. Lewis looking all disheveled and pale and his eyes were rimmed red as if he were crying. Curious as always, Carly asked her mother what was wrong and was stunned to learn about Zander's overdose and that he was in serious condition. She asked if she could see him and quietly ventured into his room. It was hard to see Zander lying pale and still with IV's taped to the back of his hand, oxygen canulas in his nose and restraints on his wrists.
"What happened to you, Zander?" Carly asked, as she moved to sit down on the stool by his bed. She reached for his hand. "I'm probably the last person you want to see right now, Zander. But I just...I don't want this to be goodbye between us. I want you to fight. You are a survivor. More so than anyone I know. Life always seems to kick you in the teeth, it knocks you down...but you slug it right back and you get up and you move on. You don't always do it the smart way...but you do it. And that's all that matters." As Carly spoke she suddenly realized that Zander's heart monitor was beeping irregularly and that his breathing had changed and was becoming labored. She was just about to hit the call button when her mother came rushing into the room, pushing Carly out of the way.
She stood off to one side as Monica Quartermaine came on the run as well. She took one look at Zander and ordered Bobbie to give him a mild sedative, then they intubated him to secure his breathing. Monica had just finished settling the tubing when she was paged about Emily.
Carly overheard something about Emily suffering a seizure. Seeing that Bobbie was still working over Zander, Carly decided it was time to leave. In the hallway she found Elizabeth weeping quietly in Lucky's arms. "What's wrong?" Carly asked.
"It's Emily," Lucky replied. "We were visiting her and she had some kind of seizure. I heard her mom say something about putting her on life support."
"That is so weird," Carly muttered.
Elizabeth heard her. "Weird why?"
Carly was going to blow it off but she decided to tell them what happened to Zander. "It's almost like he was reacting at the same time that Emily had the seizure."
"I don't think it's so weird," Elizabeth whispered. "Zander and Emily have always been…connected. I can't explain it, but I know what that means and I know it's real between them." Elizabeth was going to say more but she spotted Dr. Quartermaine coming out of Emily's room. "How is she?" Elizabeth queried.
"It's not good," Monica replied, fighting back tears. She shook her head then walked away.
* * * * *
Cameron watched his son breathing. It had amazed him how many people had come to visit his son. Some friends, some more of an acquaintance, but it gave Cameron hope. He sat at Zander's bedside, holding his hand, something he knew would not be allowed were his son awake. "I wouldn't put it past you to die just to spite me, Alexander. But I'd rather you lived just to stick it to me, if that's what it takes to bring you back. Live to spite me, Alex. Please.." He had more to say but his throat tightened and Cameron cleared it then rose to his feet. He didn't want to leave but he knew that there were others waiting to visit his son. Cameron paused for a moment though, just to look at his son, then he leaned in and pressed a kiss to the pale forehead, something he never would be allowed to do too.
Stepping out of the room, Cameron moved towards the elevator and stepped in. There was work he needed to focus on, so Cameron went to his office and was surprised to find Gail Baldwin waiting for him. "What can I do for you?" he asked her, as he moved to sit behind his desk.
"We need to talk," she stated.
Gail smiled slightly. "About you and your son. Have you given any thought as to what you'll do next...when Zander comes out of this?"
Cameron rubbed a hand over his face and sighed. "I haven't thought that far ahead. I just want him to wake up. That's all."
"You blame yourself for this." It was a statement, not a question.
"I gave Alexander the knife. I gave him the go ahead to kill himself. And when that failed he tried pills and alcohol again. Yeah...I blame myself for that...for once."
Gail nodded. "Maybe when Zander wakes up, you should talk to him about that."
Cameron laughed, a sound that was cold and jagged. "I doubt he'll want to talk to me at all. To be honest, I don't think Alexander is going to be very happy when he wakes up. I'm betting he'll think of his still being alive as yet another failure on his part."
"I think you're right. Zander is going to need alot of help, Dr. Lewis. He's going to need you."
"No...I'm the last person Alexander is going to need. I can't help fix him. I can't even fix myself."
Gail was thoughtful as she stood up and moved towards the door. "Maybe you and Zander need to help fix each other," she said softly, then she walked away.
Cameron shook his head and wiped away a tear.
* * * * *
Monica stood in the shelter of Alan's arms. They had just come from visiting Emily and now they stood in Zander's room. "He looks like he's sleeping and...peaceful...for once."
"I don't think he wants to wake up, Alan."
Alan sighed. "I know. But Emily wouldn't want this. She would want him to fight and to live."
Monica nodded and choked back tears. "It shouldn't be like this. They should be together and happy. It's not fair." She turned in Alan's arms and began to weep.
He held her and cried his own tears.
* * * * *
Three days passed since the seizures. But time was meaningless to Zander. He came awake slowly, feeling as if he had to sift through layers of darkness and chaos to reach consciousness. He felt a heavy weight on his stomach and opened his eyes to find his father's head resting there. That confused him. Zander tried to speak but couldn't form words or sound and he realized there was something in his throat and it gagged him a bit. He looked around and saw white walls and bedrails and machinery and none of it made sense. He tried to lift a hand to his face but his arms were restrained. Zander started to feel panicked when he saw a figure in the doorway. Monica Quartermaine, sobbing quietly, locking eyes with him.
It was in that moment that Zander realized where he was.
In his heart he knew what had happened and his own tears flowed down his face.