Chapter 33

AJ struggled for lucidity. A zillion drugs flooded his body. To ease his pain, but that wasn't what he wanted. He begged his parents to lessen the dosage, to remove one of the IVs at least. Stubborn and concerned, they refused. So while waiting for Jason to show up, AJ had to fight to stay focused.

Shit, how he hated feeling less than perfect around his younger sibling. AJ grunted to himself as the years old sibling rivalry reared its ugly head. He guessed there were some things one never got over. Even after only the shell of his brother existed and not the true man Jason Quartermaine used to be.

The door swung open. AJ straightened. The effort was wasted. A nurse dressed in green and carrying a chart entered. She gave him a tight smile.

"You should be asleep." She moved to his side and began checking the machines.

"My mom...where is she?" Monica agreed to get Jason for him. If she ignored this request, too...

"She's at the nurse's station. She's allowing you one more visitor."

AJ frowned. "Why isn't he here?"

"I'm checking your vitals to make sure you're up for it."

"I am," he said through gritted teeth. His eyes burned from the effort of keeping them open. He wanted this over with now! "Leave me alone and send him in."

She gave him a measured look. "You're a lot like your father." Then, she turned on her heel and left the room.

An eternity of moments passed as AJ fought the meds and the pain that trickled through despite the drugs. Then, the door opened again and this time, Jason appeared.

Nothing registered on Morgan's face. Not for the first time, AJ wondered if all humanity left Jason as a result of the car accident. Not that he expected Jason to be sympathetic to AJ's pain, but still...

"It doesn't matter," he mumbled under his breath.

"Monica said you wanted to see me," Jason said. "Here I am." A muscle flickered at his jaw at he stepped closer. "You're in no condition for visitors. Give it a rest, AJ. Your family needs you."

"That's right," AJ mustered through teeth clenched because of a sudden stabbing of pain. "They need me--"

"So we agree on something." Jason moved to the door.


Jason paused. A pained expression cracked his granite features.

AJ wondered about the show of emotion. But only for a moment. The painkillers were strong and he was losing his battle against them.

"The damage is pretty bad," AJ admitted, hating the words and what they meant. "I may not...I may not make it. Keesha will need help."

Jason's eyebrows rose. Color drained from his face. "You want me to help her?"

Completely drained, AJ slumped against the pillows. "I want you to do what's right. I think you already know what that is."

Then, the medication overtook him and AJ drifted off to a pain-free, dreamless sleep.

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