Disclaimer – I do not own SVM/TB characters or origins. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. I just want to play with the Viking!
The ambulance arrived and the EMTs rushed to where we were sitting. Despite my protests that I could walk, Eric convinced me to allow them do their jobs by placing a hand on my shoulder, guiding me to lay down while they strapped me onto a gurney, wrapping a brace around my neck. The gurney was raised and rolled toward the waiting vehicle. I was looking at him throughout the entire ordeal asking, well, more like begging with my eyes that he remain with me. I was afraid to ask aloud. He had done so much for me already. I kept a tight grip on my new fangs in their box until they attempted to pry it out of my hand.
“No! I want to take them with me!” I demanded.
“I will keep them for you and return them once you are settled at the hospital. I will collect your other belongings and bring them as well,” Eric said quietly while he gingerly took the box from me.
“You’re coming with me?” I asked with a little disbelief and a simultaneous lot of relief.
“Of course, why would I not? I am guessing I will need to explain what I can in regard to what I witnessed.”
“Thank you,” I told him as they started to lift the gurney into the ambulance.
He responded with a wink, and then he pulled one of the EMTs aside to ask for directions to the hospital. They wouldn’t permit him to ride with me, which wasn’t surprising. Besides, I knew he would need his car later to return.
“Wait!” I cried as I remembered what started the whole thing.
The EMTs put the gurney back on the ground for a moment. I looked at Eric with wide eyes and he returned to my side, taking my hand.
“Please be careful. There’s something…there’s something in there,” I whispered while my fear for him began rising.
“I will be fine and I will see you soon,” he tenderly squeezed my hand, and then nodded at the EMTs.
For some reason, I believed him. I kept my eyes on him until the last minute and the doors closed. They were examining me where there was blood and inserted an IV into my arm filled with saline solution.
They continued to ask questions; did I know my name, the date, where I was, what happened, etc. Other than telling them my personal facts, I couldn’t very well explain that I had been chased through the school by what seemed to be an animal that could open closed doors. It didn’t even sound credible to my own ears.
Once we arrived at the hospital, I was wheeled into the emergency room where I was promptly taken to a room that was waiting for me and lifted onto a hospital gurney. As predicted, my remaining clothing was cut off and thrown into a bio-hazard bag, no doubt due to the blood, and then I was helped into a gown. A nurse came in to check my vitals and to change the bag on my IV. She was a heavy-set woman who seemed pleasant enough. I noticed she didn’t check any part of my body, and I guessed that wasn’t her job. She only made notes about my stats and wrote down whatever I had answered.
“Can I take off the neck brace? I really don’t need it,” I asked.
However, I was feeling a great deal worse than I had been while I was sitting in the comfort of Eric’s presence. I wished he would hurry up and get there. I was becoming more anxious by the minute wondering what would be next.
“We’ll have to wait for the doctor to decide that, hon. You’ve suffered a head injury, so he’ll want to examine you first to make sure you’re stable,” she said before placing my chart at the end of the bed and leaving the room.
I lay there mulling over her words. How had she known I had a head injury? I suppose it was obvious, I hadn’t seen myself, but they put on the neck brace before having spoken to me or Eric. I knew neither of us had relayed that information. In fact, I hadn’t told them much of anything that I could remember about the fall. Everything was all a little hazy at that point.
I began to wonder who had contacted the ambulance. Eric had caught me, and I was still in his arms when I became fully conscious. There was no way he would have been able to pull out a phone. I then thought of the argument he had with Pam. Maybe that wasn’t a dream? Had she called them? Had he really told her that I’d hit my head? Could that be how they knew to place a neck brace on me? If I wasn’t dreaming, then what the hell was it they were discussing?
I tried focusing on what I remembered about their conversation, but since I wasn’t completely aware throughout the entire time, it was fuzzy and I couldn’t remember all the details. “I don’t want her with us…with you!” Had she really said that? What the hell did that mean? I wasn’t with him and I sure as fuck wasn’t with ‘them,’ nor would I be. How little did she think of him to ask if he had done this? Was there something about him that I wasn’t seeing or had I actually dreamed up that part or perhaps all of it? I was so confused…
I wanted to ask Eric about it when he arrived, although he had been the one to tell me I was dreaming. Perfect! I had one more thing to add to my “nothing makes sense” list.
I sat there waiting for the doctor to arrive and, I’ll admit; I half expected a little brownie named Dr. Ludwig to come in. In all honesty, would I have really been surprised if she had? Right now? Nope! I laughed a little to myself over that. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I was relieved, in spite of this when the next person escorted to my triage area was JP by another nurse or perhaps an intern. His face was red. He had obviously been crying while he rushed to my side. He hesitated taking my hand seeing as it was covered in dried blood until I reached out to him. Once I did, he started full on crying again.
“I’m fine,” I said reassuringly.
“No, you are NOT fine!”
“Seriously, JP, I’m OK.”
“What happened?” he choked out.
“I can’t tell you for sure. I was being chased by…” I started before he interrupted me.
“CHASED??!?! Who was chasing you?! Where were you?!”
“Calm down, Peej, and I’ll tell you. I was alone in the school, and someone or something got in. I don’t know what it was, but it scared the shit out of me! The lights went out, and before I knew what I was doing, I was climbing out the third floor window trying to reach the fire escape. Someone grabbed my arm…” Again I was interrupted.
“WHAT?!? What do you mean someone grabbed you?! Who?! Who was it?!”
“I couldn’t see,” I said, and then paused and added to myself, “Come to think of it, it kind of looked like Eric’s sleeve on the arm, but that’s impossible because he’s the one who caught me,” I resumed, telling JP, “Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was falling. I did some acrobatic shit on the ladder. Opal would have been proud,” I laughed.
“How can you laugh about this?! You could have DIED!! How are you so calm? I shouldn’t have left! I shouldn’t have left to go off with some guy I just met. I should’ve stayed with you. I don’t know why I left!”
“Sweetie, you have to calm down,” I said gently.
“I can’t!” he was becoming hysterical.
I pulled him onto the bed and tried to comfort him as much as I could.
“I can laugh about this because I am OK. Look at me. I am alive and kicking. Well, maybe not kicking, but I will be soon. What makes you think that if you had been there we both wouldn’t have been out on that fire escape? You had no reason to stay. You had no reason not to go off with some guy you just met, and it’s not like you don’t know him a little already. I like him. I was happy to see you with him.”
“Still you are more important!”
“You couldn’t have known anything was going to happen. I wasn’t alone when you left, and even if I had been, we’ve lived here for a couple of years and this was just some crazy, I don’t know what, but I will tell one thing, we aren’t feeding any more stray fucking animals behind the house ever again. I don’t know if this was some random coyote, a wolf, or something from the woods, but I don’t plan to encourage any animals coming near us no matter where we are.”
He was finally starting to calm down and went to the sink to grab some tissues to wipe his eyes and blow his nose. Before he returned to the bed, he wet some paper towels and brought them back with him.
“God, Cricket, you look like shit,” he said while he started wiping the blood off my face. I had almost forgotten about that. At least he was finally smiling. I supposed he finally realized I really wasn’t going to die.
“Thanks. I would say the same, but you actually look fabulous. Well, if you overlook the puffy eyes and the snot running out of your nose,” I laughed.
“Fuck you! You scared me to death! If I had been alone, I probably would be in the next room suffering from a heart attack.”
I smiled at the fact that my best friend had now returned. I knew how he felt. I would fall apart if anything ever happened to him, too. We sat quietly for a few minutes while he cleaned me up for which I was eternally grateful. I was glad there wasn’t a mirror anywhere in the vicinity.
“How did you know I was here? How did you know what happened?”
“The hospital called me. I’m your emergency contact, you know?”
“So, Russell didn’t get a call from Pam?”
“No, not that I know of. Why? Was she there?”
“No. I just thought that…Never mind. I have had several things running through my head. I’ll tell you when I get out of here. I wonder how long that will be.”
“I don’t know. If you’re okay for the moment, I’m going to go out to the waiting room. There are several people waiting on news about you.”
“What do you mean? Who’s here?”
“Practically the entire main cast. News travels fast. I think that Eric and Russell called them.”
“That’s sweet, but they’ll have to wait. I haven’t even been seen by a doctor yet. In fact, tell them they can all go. There’s no reason for them to wait. I don’t even know how long I’ll be here.”
“I’ll tell them, but I doubt they’ll listen. You’ve really made quite an impression on everyone.”
“So have you. It’s nice, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is. OK, I’m going to go give the update. I’ll see you later,” he leaned over and kissed my cheek before he left.
Shortly after JP was gone, the doctor entered the room. He was a very attractive, older man, maybe sixty, with a very gentle demeanor and a very kind voice. He reminded me of Tom Selleck when he was about ten years younger. It made it quite easy to want to pay attention and trust him. He picked up my chart and looked over the nurse’s notes. Then he approached me and after putting on some gloves, began his examination.
“Looks like you took a bit of a tumble this evening. How are you feeling?”
“Truthfully? I was feeling better before I arrived. I mean, my insides are feeling better, but I feel…I don’t know, like I’ve just been through a prize fight and I lost.”
“Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you look a little like that, too, but I’ll take care of that,” he said soothingly, smiling.
He looked over my head and found two bumps where I’d hit the top and the back of my head. I could tell when he put the slightest pressure on them, because I winced.
“Yes, I know that hurts. I’m sorry. I think we’ll need to send you downstairs for a CT. What is your pain level? Ten being the worst and one being no pain at all?” he began pressing around my stomach.
“Well, when you are pushing there, it’s like an eight, but when you’re not, I’d say maybe six? It’s weird, I am in pain, but it’s diminishing somewhat. It’s still there. I can’t explain it. It’s coming and going. It depends on where you push. It feels like I was hurt, but little bits of me are healing because one part or another will stop hurting. Like, I bit my tongue earlier and it bled quite a bit, but now it doesn’t hurt at all. I would definitely say the pain was a ten earlier tonight.”
“Open your mouth and let me take a look at it. Maybe it’s numb. That happens sometimes when your body has more severe injuries.”
I did as he asked and stuck out my tongue. He very carefully gripped it turning it over and looking all around and in my mouth.
“Are you sure you bit your tongue?”
“Yes, I felt it. Why?”
“I ask because there is no wound there or anywhere on the inside of your mouth. Do you know what happened? Did someone do this to you?”
“No one did this. I fell from a ladder.”
“Hmm, pretty tall ladder, I’d say.”
“Yeah, it was the third floor of the fire escape on the old middle school.”
His eyes opened wide at my explanation before he schooled his features.
“I see. Well, I don’t know what you were doing up there, but I would not recommend a return visit.”
“Don’t worry about that,” I said. He smiled at me.
“Good. Now, I don’t think you have any broken bones, which I find quite surprising, but you are pretty banged up. Let’s take some x-rays and I’ll be able to tell more from that. Did you lose consciousness? You have some pretty large knots on your head.”
“Yes, but I don’t know for how long. My friend said I did.”
“Which friend is that?”
“I think he’s outside. Tall, blonde, black jacket, trust me, you can’t miss him if he’s out there.”
“He was with you? Are you certain he didn’t have anything to do with this?”
“NO! He caught me!”
“He caught you?”
“He caught you from a three story fall? Are you sure?”
“Is he all right? I can’t imagine at the speed you were falling that he wouldn’t have some injuries to his arms and shoulders as well.”
“Oh. I didn’t think of that. Maybe he should be looked at, too. He didn’t seem in pain, but it could have been adrenaline, I guess. Man, I feel awful for not thinking of him. Will you check him out?”
“I’m sure you were in shock. Don’t worry, I’ll find him and we’ll make sure he’s OK while you’re having your tests done. I’ll send someone in to take you down. In the meantime, I think we better leave the brace on until you have that done.”
“OK,” I said a little depressed.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll do just fine, but I’m going to give you a mild sedative. Your responses are quite alert, despite the injuries to your head. It appears you’ve only suffered a mild concussion. I am amazed that it isn’t more severe. If I’m wrong, which again, doesn’t appear to be the case, you will need to be woken every hour or two. The sedative will wear off in that time. With all the turning they will need to do of your body, I’m afraid it will bring on more pain and your body doesn’t need that right now. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be for you and your recovery,” he smiled again reassuringly, and then he left.
The nurse returned and injected something into my IV that almost immediately caused me to drift off to sleep.
The sound of voices began to bring me out of my slumber. The neck brace was gone and I felt like I was in a different room.
“I had hoped she would wake. We need to leave,” I heard Eric’s voice say quietly with a hint of sadness.
“Is that why we’ve been standing here staring at her for the last hour?” someone questioned. It sounded as if it might be Bill’s voice.
“No one is keeping you here, Compton. In fact, I do not believe you were even asked to come.”
“Sookeh asked me to stay, and make sure you didn’t cause any more trouble. She is quite fond of her.”
“As is everyone, it seems.”
They were silent for a moment.
“You shouldn’t have done it, Eric,” Bill stated quietly in his Southern drawl.
“You did not see her. She would not have survived,” he responded.
“That is not our concern.”
“That is not for you to decide,” Eric growled lowly.
I kept my eyes closed as I became more conscious and listened. I was very tired, but tried to will myself to stay awake. I wanted to remember what was being said.
“It is for all of us to decide! I can understand your actions after her previous accident, but this…this is different!” Bill whisper-yelled.
“There was not time to take a fucking poll, Bill! She only had moments before it would have been too late!” Eric returned in his own whisper-yell.
“It was a mistake and I, for one, do not take kindly to you making that decision for me,” Bill said sarcastically.
“Not that I need to explain my actions to you, Compton, but I will tell you anyway. It was only enough to stop the internal hemorrhaging. She will suffer less and she will never know.”
They were interrupted when someone entered the room. It sounded like Sookie’s voice.
“You two need to be quiet and stop arguing. It’s too late now. It’s done. No one else knows. Now either hush or get out, she’s waking up,” she whispered.
The room became silent and I felt several pairs of eyes on me.
“How do you know? I thought you said you couldn’t hear anything?” Bill asked.
“I didn’t say I couldn’t hear anything exactly,” she hedged.
“I do not understand. What is it that you do hear?” asked Eric.
“I’ll tell you what I told Bill. I only hear music. I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s what it is. Lafayette and I were talking about it last night outside before the filming. I don’t understand it,” she explained.
“Why have you withheld this information?” he sounded irritated.
“Cheese and rice, Eric, I’ve hardly seen you these last couple of nights! I’m not keepin’ anything from you! Yet, right now it’s really loud, so I know she’s waking,” she said exasperatedly.
I knew I should have opened my eyes then, but I wasn’t ready, so I made some movements and stretched a little before I did. The room was empty with the exception of JP who was asleep on a chair in the corner of the room. There was no evidence that anyone else had even been there.
“JP!” I called loudly.
He stirred for a moment before he opened his eyes. His face flooded with relief, and he smiled when he came to sit on the side of the bed.
“There she is. How are you feeling?”
“I don’t know, yet. Better? I’m sore.”
“I can’t imagine why!” he quipped.
“How do I look?”
“Better. The nurse cleaned you up while you were asleep. I went home and brought back some clean clothes for you. They said you can take a shower if you want. I brought your pajamas as well.”
“No, I just want to go home.”
“That’s not gonna happen.”
“What? Why not?”
“That handsome doctor said he wanted you to stay twenty-four hours to make sure someone continued to wake you up each hour if you stayed or fell asleep.”
“Great,” I moaned.
“I told them I could do it, but you know I am a very heavy sleeper, so I’m actually glad you’re staying.”
“Thanks a lot!”
“Oh stop it! I’ll stay with you.”
He reached over and picked up the pitcher and cup from the table and filled it for me.
“Thanks,” I said, taking the cup and a cool drink of water.
“How long was I asleep?”
“I don’t know. You were downstairs for over two hours. They assigned this room to you and allowed us to wait in here.”
“Us? Who else was here?”
“Russell, Eric, Sookie, Lafayette, Pam, Bill, and Tara.”
“Really? They were all here? When did they leave?”
“I don’t know. I dozed off sometime after they brought you in. It was the middle of the night, you know.”
“Oh, right. Well, I guess I did tell you to send them home. I’m surprised they stayed at all. Besides, it’s got to be close to morning by now.”
I looked at the clock. It was five a.m.
“Did you want to go back to sleep?”
“Soon. So, you weren’t awake when anyone was in here?”
“I was for a while, but like I said, I fell asleep myself.”
“Why didn’t anyone wake me, at least to say goodbye?”
He looked at me like I was insane.
“Really? Hmm, I don’t know, maybe because you fell forty feet last night and were seriously injured. I’m sure their first thought was, ‘Hey let’s wake up Cricket to hang out. She doesn’t need to recover or anything.’ Seriously?” he said, rolling his eyes.
“So, if we’re not sleeping, what do you want to do?”
I looked at him for a long time debating internally if I wanted to talk to him about what I had overheard. This was getting to be all the more difficult. I trusted JP with everything. I had always told him everything. Now, I found myself second guessing, filtering some of what I said to him, or trying. He deserved to know, but I just couldn’t find the words.
“Cricket? You’re spacing out, girl.”
“Oh, sorry. Um, how about food and a nap? You’re looking a bit weak and tired yourself. Do you feel okay?”
“Me? Oh yeah, I’m great. I am tired, but I think it’s just from being up most of the night.”
“Sorry about that.”
“You should be and you will be making it up to me. If I had known you would be spending the night out of the house and that you were fine and sleeping…well…” he winked.
“OK, why don’t you find some food, and I’ll go grab a shower,” I giggled.
“I’ll let the nurse know you’re awake, and head down to get something from the cafeteria,” he said as he left the room.
I found my bag on a chair and opened it to retrieve my pajamas. I took them into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Looking into the mirror, I was surprised to find that I didn’t look as bad as I thought I might. I certainly did look like I had been in a fight, but it looked as if it had been several days earlier judging by the color of the bruises.
My mind would not stop turning everything over and over while I entered the most heavenly stream hot water I could remember. I felt like I hadn’t showered in weeks and I knew that I would feel so much more like myself when I was done. I washed every single inch of my body twice and my hair three times. JP had been thoughtful enough to bring all of my toiletries from home, and I was so grateful for him. It was divine.
I stepped out of the shower and wrapped my hair in a towel. I took a second one and wrapped it around myself. I pulled out my toiletry bag, removed my toothpaste and toothbrush. When I looked in the mirror, I noticed that I had not washed off the make-up on my arm. Maria-Starr must have put something on it to make sure it stayed covered and wouldn’t smear or wear off. I thought I had scrubbed myself down pretty well.
I pulled out some make-up remover from my toiletry bag. I smeared it on my arm and used a tissue to start wiping off where it was located. The harder I tried, the less success I had. Damn! What did she use? When my arm started to turn red from where I was rubbing, I realized it wouldn’t come off because the make-up was already gone.
So were the bruises.
Aurelia Gliwiski as Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan
Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman
Sean Hayes as JP
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