I know it's not a long snippet, but I have to keep things mostly under wraps for now. The story sits at about 22 thousand words, and I expect it'll gain another 10, maybe more, before it's due. Anyway, enjoy the story, guys!
Shawn didn’t look good, even in the low light. His head was wrapped in bandages, probably all of his thick dark hair shorn away. Yellow iodine stained the skin at the edge of his forehead, and his chest and arms were festooned with wires leading to different machines, as well as two IVs. His chest was bare, and he looked cold to me.
I didn’t have much time, I knew it, but I couldn’t resist getting a little closer. I had held this body in my hands just hours ago; I had cradled his broken head on my shoulder. I had looked into his eyes, dark and bloody though they were, and had seen someone staring back at me. Someone strong and vital.
I had no reason to get attached to this man. I had saved his life, yeah, but he didn’t owe me anything for that. And what had I saved him for? A life as a vegetable maybe, unable to move or communicate. Hell, he might not even make it to the vegetable stage, if that conversation by his asshole of a boyfriend was anything to go by. Janich knew a lot more about this than he was telling people, and what he knew was nothing good. Shawn wasn’t safe here, and I wanted him safe. I wanted to protect him. He was dragging me back into a world that I’d firmly left behind, and if I had a modicum of sense I would have run in the other direction, but…
If I had any sense, I would never have come back to the hospital. From that moment on I was committed. My sense of curiosity had gotten the better of me. At least, that was the best way I had of explaining it.
“Shawn,” I said gently, laying my bare hand on his chest. The heartbeat monitor spiked momentarily as I first made contact, then settled again. I could feel the strong, steady thump-thump against my palm, and smiled. This kid was tough. He deserved a chance, the same as I had gotten. Someone up there, someone with a very ironic sense of humor, had chosen me to be his guardian. It was already way too late for me to walk away. It had been from the moment our eyes met.
“Shawn,” I said again, rubbing my thumb gently over his sternum. “I’m Justin.” It was one of my favorite aliases, close enough to my real name that I always responded naturally to it. “Listen up. You’ve gotta fight through this, okay? Fight and wake up and get stronger. This isn’t a good place to be. When you’re better, I’ll take you somewhere safe.” Back home with me, of course. Where else could he go, with no family and a lying fucktard for a lover? Oddly, I felt no compunction over offering up my sanctuary to this man. He’d already been in it, after all. Besides, Della liked him.
“I’ll take you home.”