Title: Kiss me where I lay down
Fandom: One Direction
Summary: Zayn is a patient at the coma hospital Louis works at. He’s been in a coma for a few years now, and there’s controversy over pulling the plug. Louis doesn’t want that to happen, but after a while, what choice do you have?
“Listen Louis,” comes Liam’s voice. Louis turns around. This is the third time today someone has caught him staring sadly at Zayn when he should be working, but somehow he doesn’t care. “I know how important Zayn was to you. He was important to me too. But it’s been five years. Don’t you think maybe-”
“No,” Louis responds automatically, nearly yelling. “We’re not going to pull the plug on him yet. I’m not giving up hope.”
Liam sighs in that tone that says ‘what’s the use with this one?’ All the doctors and nurses have tried it multiple times. Heck, even Niall and Harry came in to visit one day to try talking some sense into him. None of them worked though. “Fine but the boss said you can’t hang around here all day or she’s docking your pay… again.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Louis says, shooing him away. He turns his face back to Zayn. He can feel Liam shaking his head, like all of them always do at him. Once again, he doesn’t care. All he cares about is the fact that Zayn is in a coma and may never wake up. No, he tells himself. He has to wake up eventually. He just has to.
It had happened the day after a show on their fifth tour. Zayn and Louis had decided to drive around for a while. Louis can’t remember where it was in now, he just remembers he had really wanted to see it for a long time. They had a new driver who Louis thought had just recently got a license, but he had chosen not to say anything because he was probably overthinking it.
“Remember last night,” Zayn said, taking a sip of his drink. “When Liam charged out on stage in a Batman costume?” He laughed loudly at the image, causing Louis to laugh too. “We may have corrupted him, but at heart that boy never changes.” He giggled again.
Louis nodded. “Yeah. You can take the injured kidney from Liam but you can never take away the Liam.”
Zayn blinked in silence for a few moments. “That made no sense whatsoever,” he responded. “But I still get what you meant.” They smiled at each other. Zayn had unbuckled for just a moment so he could lean over and kiss Louis, but before their lips could touch, the car they were in collided with another.
Louis had still been buckled, Zayn had not been. Louis had a few minor injuries, but Zayn, Zayn was out cold. Louis wasn’t the same after that. He couldn’t even cry, he was just so numb. Zayn, his best friend and boyfriend, was in a coma. He blamed himself. Actually, he still does blame himself, but he’s become less vocal about it because the other three always try to tell him it wasn’t his fault, even though to him, yes, it very much is. If Zayn hadn’t leaned over to try to kiss him, he’d still be in one piece.
“Don’t worry Louis,” Niall had said to him after Zayn had been put in the hospital. “I’m sure he will be up again by tomorrow.” Louis has never been able to understand how even in the worst situations, Niall’s first priority is not to cry, but to tell everybody else it’s going to be alright. Harry and Liam cried for a long time. Louis wished he could cry, but he couldn’t. He just felt extremely numb.
After that day, Louis had decided he was going to become a nurse at that hospital. He had been secretly taking medical classes in between tours for the last five years, deciding that instead of a teacher, he wanted to be a nurse after he was done with One Direction. He only had a few more classes to take and as soon as he was done he would immediately apply to this hospital. Liam would join him a few years later.
It’s so strange, Louis thinks to himself. How I can picture it all perfectly, even now.
He decides to return to his other patients though, not wanting to start crying again. It’s also strange, Louis thinks, how he can spend all his time in a coma hospital and feel nothing. Of course he feels sad for the people whose children, friends, etc. never wake up, but he doesn’t feel anywhere close to as sad as he feels when he’s in Zayn’s room. Most people would probably look at him as insensitive but when you’ve been around comas for so long, as sad as it is, you have to get used to it. Unless it’s someone you know, then you never really get used to it.
Louis shakes his head, trying to tune out his thoughts as he tends to his patients and their families and friends. That day and the next day blur together, just like they always seem to do around here. The day after that, he meets up with Liam in the hospital cafeteria for lunch, not buying much except a few chicken strips. The two of them eat in silence for a little while, until Liam finally speaks up. “Look,” he says. “I know you don’t want to say goodbye. I don’t either, but the rules are the rules. The boss was telling me a few minutes ago that she isn’t going to allow us to hold him much longer.”
“Why didn’t she just say that to my face?” Louis asks, a little harshly.
Liam’s taken aback by his tone, but continues anyway. “Well what could she have said, Louis? Every time someone brings it up you get all defensive. Just like two days ago, just like right now.” Louis sighs sadly and Liam puts a hand on his shoulder. “I know it’s hard but we just have to let Zayn be at peace. It’s not fair to him to keep him like this. Just let him go.”
All at once, Louis starts crying. He can’t remember ever crying this hard, not even when it first happened. It’s like all his sadness has been built up for a long time and is finally coming out. His face falls onto Liam’s lap, a fit of tears covering Liam’s pants. He doesn’t seem to mind though, as he softly rubs Louis’ back. The two of them stay there for who knows how long. Nobody says anything about it though. A voice that sounds like the boss’s comes up to their table for a moment to ask Liam how it’s going but as soon as she digests the situation, she walks away. Louis doesn’t take his head out of Liam’s lap for a long time. When he finally does, they look at each other sadly, just staring into each other’s eyes for a few moments.
“Fine,” Louis finally gives in, wiping his tears. “I’ll do it. But just… give me a few minutes, okay?”
“Of course,” Liam nods and Louis can tell from his eyes that neither of them are ready for this.
Louis gets up, throwing away the remaining crumbs of his chicken. He heads to Zayn’s room and just stands there for a few moments, like he always does, staring at him. “I’m so sorry Zayn. Maybe if I just hadn’t been in the car, maybe if I just hadn’t wanted to look around town with that dumb driver, you’d still be here.” He wipes a tear from his face. “But… I know now Heaven will gain a new angel. A Zayngel, as Harry would probably say.” He laughs sadly. “Remember how we’d always roll our eyes at Harry’s puns, but then Niall’s contagious laughter would make us laugh anyway? Those were some good times.” He stands there a little while longer, wanting to savor his last moments with Zayn’s body, but he realizes that if he doesn’t do the deed soon, he never will. He breathes in and uses his cell phone to call in Liam and a few other nurses. He doesn’t want to be alone when this happens.
When they all finally come in and are just about to pull the plug, Louis remembers something. “Wait.” Everybody sighs, but when Louis glares at them, they oblige. He walks to Zayn’s body, just hovering above him now. “I have to give you the thing that caused this in the first place, the thing that you wanted that day, and that I want right now.” Wrapping his arms around Zayn’s shoulders, Louis brings his lips to Zayn’s lips and gives him a big kiss. After he’s done, he quickly turns away and runs outside the room, deciding he doesn’t want to watch after all.
“Umm… Louis,” Liam arrives outside the room a few seconds later, with an oddly happy smile on his face.
“WHAT?” Louis yells, starting to cry all over again. “Is this the part where you brag about how you were right all along and we should’ve pulled the plug sooner? Because I don’t want to hear it Liam. I don’t want to hear how happy you are about being right at a time like this.”
“I think you should come back inside for a moment,” Liam starts pulling at him but Louis resists.
“I don’t want to see his dead body, thank you very much.” Why is Liam so happy at a time like this? He lied. He doesn’t care about Zayn. He just cares about the fact that he gets to prove to Louis he was right about something, as payback for all those times Louis proved Liam wrong. Well, now’s not the time or place, Louis thinks.
Liam’s persistent though, and eventually Louis exhales, resigned. When he enters the room though, his anger and sadness subside. Replacing the tears of sadness are instead tears of happiness. “Zayn?” He cries, rubbing his eyes to make sure he’s not imagining things.
Zayn turns, obviously still very groggy, but alive. Very much alive. “Louis?”
Louis runs up to him and embraces him gently, careful not to hurt him. “You’re… you’re alive. I knew you’d come back.” He wipes another tear from his face. “I knew it.”
Zayn smiles tiredly. “Well, from what I remember, you still owe me one of these.” He puckers his lips, probably not really able to move his head much right now, but Louis takes the cue and puts his lips on Zayn’s.
Niall, Harry, Zayn’s other friends, and family are told immediately. Liam tells them of course, because Louis is still too awestruck and doesn’t want to leave. “I think someone is going to have to cover Louis’ other patients for a while,” he hears Liam whisper to the boss, giggling slightly.
When Zayn’s finally able to move again without trouble and leaves the hospital, he, Liam, Niall, Harry, and Louis all go to Zayn’s favorite restaurant, so happy to finally be back together again. They’re not sure if they’ll get the band back together again anytime soon; Zayn needs some time to catch up on all that he’s missed in the past five years with his family, friends, and Louis. Louis and Liam still work at the coma hospital, but have opted to take a vacation for a week or two. All the smiling Louis has been doing lately, he thinks, probably won’t look very professional in a coma hospital. Louis is so happy to be able to wrap his arms around Zayn again and see his beautiful open eyes smiling back at him. From now on, kisses that require unbuckling will be avoided, and they will always check to make sure their drivers have had their licenses for at least five years before getting in the car.