Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I am only
responsible for my sick and twisted imagination.
Summary: The regularly scheduled drama happens differently. A different take on what could have been.
Spoilers: Canon up to Rock This Town. After there you hit my AU twist.
A/N: I've had this muse buzzing in my head for weeks. I finally caved and put finger to keyboard and this is the first chapter of what in my imagination is a massive Degassi fic in the works. I have at least the next five chapters planned out in my head. I hope someone out there gets enjoyment out of this. Oh and titles are all going to be 80s songs.
Liberty stayed conscious until noon. She’d stayed away hoping he’d wake up or that there would be some change. Every time his hand moved even slightly against her own, she jerked back to life. It was at noon that her body gave in entirely to it’s need for sleep. Her body lumped in her chair.
It was around two that she woke up again. Her neck hurt from the strange angle at which she’d fallen asleep. There was no progress. She used the hospital room to call her father and demand he bring her every book on hearts that he could find. She hated depending on hospital staff to know what was going on.
The books were hand-delivered by Danny three hours after that and she poured herself into them. She barely acknowledged the fact her brother was there or the fact his dark skin paled at the sight of her JT and all the tubes even from the door. She just focused on knowing everything there was to know about hearts and surgery. She wanted to know everything there was to know. She needed to know how to make things better.
She didn’t even tell him goodbye.
If there was one thing she hated it was not having control of situations. It had been that way when she found out she was pregnant. It meant she had to depend on someone. She couldn’t just look out for herself. She’d learned to depend on JT. It hadn’t been an easy task. There had been mistakes and drama but in the end their son had made it into the world obnoxiously early, healthy and loud.
She was depending on him now just as she had then, even when she knew she shouldn’t. She needed him to come through on this. The books didn’t calm her fears. Just because he survived the surgery did not mean he was going to make it. There were a variety of complications that could kill him. He could just go at any moment.
She didn’t like not knowing whether or not he’d be there in the next moment.
The nurses told her that he was getting better though. He was improving every moment. Some of his color was even back. His body was just recovering and they’d given him enough medicine to keep him out. He’d find his way back to consciousness when the time was right. They kept telling her that.
It was around seven when she fell asleep again. This time with the use of a pillow a friendly nurse had brought for her and a blanket to keep her warm.
While the others stayed at home waiting for change to come back, Toby did drop in the next afternoon with a bag picked up from JT’s grandmothers with pajamas and comic books. The little nagging voice in his head told him that JT would not be happy if he was trapped in the hospital in one of those ugly backless gowns for however long they decided to keep him. The comic books were for entertainment.
He felt a need to check up on Liberty too. JT wouldn’t be happy if he woke up and Liberty had exhausted herself to death watching over him. Toby had to make sure she didn’t do that. He knew how she was throwing herself into things. It didn’t matter if it was a writing assignment or taking care of the people she loved Liberty was passionate about everything she did. It was an attribute Toby noted was a common denominator in the pair.
The nurses didn’t want to let him through but he told a few white lies and they let him through. The first of which was that he was JT’s brother. If blood brother counted, then yes – he was. They’d done that back at camp ages ago. The second was that he was going to deliver the stuff and leave right away. He had every intention of staying until he’d seen Liberty eat something.
He was surprised when he made his way into the room and she was out cold in the chair. She didn’t look happy. In fact, she looked troubled. The fact there were books everywhere meant she’d been working herself too hard. At least she was resting peacefully now. It was easier to look at her than JT though. The beeping and the various lines going into him freaked Toby out a bit.
He didn’t wake Liberty but took a seat at a chance on the wall across from the bed. He was quiet, contemplative even.
“Stop looking at me like I’m dead,” a quiet voice finally murmured. It wasn’t loud. It was strained but it was very much JT’s voice.
Toby’s eyes flickered back. The eyes that hadn’t been open were opening.
“We thought you were, man,” Toby said unsure of what you were supposed to say in a moment like this. Was he supposed to call a nurse? Should he wake Liberty? She wasn’t even stirring. She’d be angry that she wasn’t awake when this happened.
“You can’t kill off JT Yorke. I’m made of tougher material than you all give me credit for,” he said. His eyes were alive even if he wasn’t moving much. It was obvious he was feeling every bit of the pain from his wounds. His eyes moved over to the sleeping form of Liberty. Toby caught that.
“She’s not left your side,” he said seriously before moving closer grabbing a discarded book off the floor to show JT the title. “I think she was planning on playing doctor herself if you didn’t wake up soon.”
That was the sort of comment JT would have made himself if he’d known and the fact Toby was the one to say it made him laugh. He regretted it once it did as it only made the pain worse.
“Did I hallucinate that I confessed the fact I was still in love with her to you before I went and got myself stabbed?” JT asked almost conversationally.
“No. You did,” Toby said. “You bring a whole new meaning to the phrase Love hurts. Speaking of which, I don’t think you have to worry about Mia being an issue. She was being a pest and I sort of spilled the beans.”
JT had almost completely forgotten about her. Mia. The girl he was dating. He could have been mad a Toby but really he’d saved him some of the trouble of telling her himself. That led him back to Liberty though.
“Does she know?” he asked.
Toby shook his head no. He hadn’t told her. He didn’t think it was his job to tell Liberty that. No one was going to confess is love for her but the person that was in love with her and that was JT.
JT seemed to be deep in thought for a second.
“The locker box in my room under my bed – there is a box. Can you go get it for me?” he finally asked.
Toby raised an eyebrow at that unsure to where he was going with this. “The combination is still the same, right? What am I getting?” he asked.
JT closed his eyes again and inhaled a deep breathe.
“I’m going to do what I should have done last year.”
It was a good five minutes before Toby could say anything. He sat down. He’d been through a lot with his friends over the course of their past relationship and the time apart. Hearing that JT was going to propose to her took him by surprise though especially considering JT had barely returned to consciousness.
“Why now?” he asked. He felt some obligation to make sure this wasn’t something crazy. He didn’t want to see this blow up in their faces.
“Have you ever almost died Toby? My life flashed before my eyes and she was there. All the good and bad times, she’s been there. I can’t make up for all the horrible things that I’ve done. I can’t go back and fix those things … but I do know that I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life, my very long life, making it all up to her,” he managed out. It was long winded and left him breathless. It was perhaps one of the most serious things he’d said in his life though. There was nothing funny about it at all.
“I get it. I do. Have you ever thought about maybe just getting back together first though and letting it progress to that whole thing at a better time. Namely when you didn’t just have heart surgery and have another half of the school year to return to,” Toby said. He knew he was coming off as unsupportive. That wasn’t it as all. He wanted them to be happy. He was a child of divorce though and he didn’t want them becoming his parents. It was as simple as that.
“I’m going to do this whether you’re with me or not,” JT said back. There wasn’t hesitation over it.
They weren’t just passionate. They were both thick-headed as well. Toby didn’t get much of a chance to argue it though. Liberty was beginning to stir herself and he was afraid anything further would be overheard.
“You didn’t wake me up?” she said from her seat when he realized JT was now wake and Toby was there. She was on her feet immediately making sure all the lines were still in place and that he wasn’t bleeding through bandages. “Did you even call a nurse?” She was in complete Liberty mode and while sometimes it irritated JT he just strugged to not laugh over it today.
“Liberty, sit down and calm down,” he said moving his I.V hand to stop hers from further checks. “I’m fine. I wanted to watch you for a while instead of you watching me. You got the better end of the deal. You didn’t get stabbed.”
“This is no laughing matter you know,” she said glancing at their hands and sitting quietly. He was ordering her around like they were back together. This almost felt like old times.
“I know. I can’t laugh so it helps to watch people I care about laugh,” he said simply. There wasn’t a question to it. No embarrassingly awkward moment on his end. This was just how things were.
Liberty looked noticeably uncomfortable about the comment though. She was the sort of person to read between lines. Their last real conversation had been about her feelings. The ones he didn’t return. He was with Mia. He loved Mia. Sure there would always be the bond because of the past and the child they’d created together but he didn’t love her. That was how it seemed to Liberty.
Toby felt uncomfortable even being there for this.
“I’m going to just… go let everyone else know, you’re back from the dead,” he said. He didn’t touch on JT’s request. Maybe he’d forget about it.
He wasn’t at the door before JT reminded him of it though.
“Don’t forget to get me what I asked you to.”
He could hear Liberty through the door even as he left inquiring, “What did you ask him to do? If you want to call Mia, you can. I’ll… leave the room and let you.”
JT closed his eyes and pressed the nurse button at that. He did need new meds and maybe if someone came and said he was fine, Liberty would accept the fact he was. A little pained but he felt okay.
The few seconds between the pushing of the button and arrival would give him enough time to tell her that, that was over. He knew if he started to admit one thing, he’d not be able to stop himself and he as unorthodox as everything was going to be wanted it be special when everything came out. He wanted everything to fall into place. He wanted to be the man he knew Liberty always knew he could be. The person he had put off accepting that he was.
“Mia’s not here. Some girlfriend she turned out to be,” he said simply trying to work out how to say this. He didn’t really hate Mia. In fact, she was great but she wasn’t Liberty. Not just doing it all here and now wasn’t easy though. “Toby’s just grabbing something out of my room.”
“Blame me. They didn’t want a lot of visitors and your grandmother asked me to step in,” Liberty said too blind to see what he was trying to say there. “I tried to say that you’d probably rather have Mia here but … then your grandmother called me family and I was done for.”
JT had always liked this side of Liberty when she was opening up like this. He made a quiet shushing sound. “I want you here,” he told her giving her a meaningful glance.
Before she could say anything further on it the nurse arrived. She smiled when she saw that her patient was in fact conscious again.
“It’s good to see your back with us,” she said with a polite smile checking his vitals on the monitors. “How much pain are you in? I should probably run a new dose of pain meds. It will help you sleep. You need lots of it. They’ll probably move you to a regular room if you’re still looking good tomorrow. There are televisions down there.”
JT barely acknowledged her. He was too busy glancing over to Liberty who seemed to still be trying to wrap her head around what he’d said. It was their quiet moment and she was intruding on it.
It was only after she repeated his name that he bothered to look her way.
“Television. Nice,” he said.
She laughed at him and put some pain meds in through his IV. “Ah, to be young and in love. I’ll leave you be but when it starts to kick in you need to rest,” she ordered before leaving.
Neither really opened their mouths to argue it. To argue it would have been lying. They just left it out there. To be a nice big pink elephant in the room.
“You heard the nurse. You need your rest,” Liberty offered after a moment. She didn’t touch back on anything else. There would be plenty of time to talk about anything and everything. She just wasn’t sure she could deal with opening a can of emotional worms at the moment.
“Yes, mother dearest,” he said in a slightly teasing way.
The term mother still panged at her heart.