Actions

Work Header

Upside Down

Chapter Text

A dream.

It could only be a dream. Dom couldn’t be here, after all. He was in jail. He was gone. He would never see him again.

But the blonde in front of him touched his cheek and caressed it like he always did whenever they ended up in bed and had one of their softer moments. And it felt so, so real, like salvation coming to embrace him and end his misery in this shithole.

“It’s okay. I’m here now, Matt,” Dom said and, for one moment, Matt believed it.

“Come on,” the blonde continued and pulled Matt up so he would sit on the edge of the bed. “We have to get out of here.”

Matt shook his head and closed his eyes. “You can’t be real.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You.” Matt waved his hands around in a fruitless effort to articulate his thought chaos. Dom could safely say that he’d missed it, a lot. “You can’t be here. No one can find me here. And you’re… because of me…”

“No, no, no.” Dom grabbed his shoulders tightly. “I’m here. I’m here. And we’re going home now. You and me together.”

The drummer softly kissed his cheek. Matt didn’t know what to do. He wouldn’t survive this, not again. He wanted to see Dom again, the real Dom, not his made up versions. He wanted home.

His eyes fell to Dom’s hands resting on his thighs. His brow creased when he saw something that felt off to him.

“You’re hurt.”

“Huh?”

There was blood on the blonde’s palm. He grabbed the hand and inspected the cut carefully. It wasn’t a deep cut, just enough to make it bleed, but still, it was a wound. The Dom in his dreams was never hurt. He was always as perfect and pristine as he’d been the last day they’d spent together.

Feeling brave, his eyes roamed the drummer’s face. Looking at him properly now, Matt could see that this Dom was indeed different from his made up versions. This one looked like he had lost a few pounds and dark circles rimmed the paper-thin skin under his eyes. He looked wrecked and if Matt hadn’t known any better he would have thought the drummer had easily aged by a couple of years since their last meeting.

“Dom…”

Matt raised his hand to touch Dom’s chest, then his shoulders and finally his face. He felt real to his touch, the warm and smooth texture of skin under his fingertips, not like all the other times when Matt had made up the drummer so he wouldn’t feel so alone and could fall asleep.

With a broken sob he lunged forward into Dom’s arms who struggled to keep his balance for a moment. Matt pressed his face into the firm chest and the blonde immediately wrapped his arms around his skinny frame to hug him tightly. His own eyes watered when he heard the heart wrenching noises Matt released into the fabric over his chest.

“I’m here,” Dom repeated once again and softly kissed the smaller man’s temple. It was still unbelievable to him to hold the singer after such a long time.

“I thought I’d never see you again.”

“I know, me too.”

“How did you-” Another sob ripped through the lithe body. “How did you find me? Did you get my message?”

Dom nodded. He then took Matt’s left hand and raised it to eye level. The necklace still dangled from the thin wrist.. “I did. She stole my necklace the other day, but I couldn’t make the connection until I saw the video.”

He slowly tried to get up from his crouched position and pull Matt with him, but somehow the singer seemed to be unable to move. “We can talk later. For now, we have to get out of here.”

“But…” the brunette mumbled something unintelligible before looking up at his friend. “Suzanne told me you were in prison…”

“I was. But I managed to overwhelm the guard and escaped. Matt, we don’t-” but the singer cut him short.

“You broke out of prison? How did you find me?” The singer was frozen to the spot and although Dom clutched his arms, trying to get him up, Matt stayed immobile.

“Matt, come on, we need to get going!” Frustration quickly overtook Dom’s every thought. Why couldn’t Matt just listen to him? They would have plenty of time to talk about everything afterwards. Still, Matt’s body and mind seemed to work against all reasoning. “I got the information from the police station and broke into the house. Now, come on, please!” Dom sighed in exasperation. He hated begging, but whatever got Matt out of this state worked for him.

The singer nodded slowly and Dom got the impression that maybe, yes, his friend was indeed suffering from some kind of overstimulation. He couldn’t really blame him considering the situation, but as his main objective was to get them out safely, Matt’s condition posed some major difficulties.

“You broke in here? Without her noticing you?” Blue eyes widened in disbelief. Apparently Suzanne had made one hell of an impression on Matt.

“Yeah, she’s not omniscient.”

Matt frowned at that, just as if he couldn’t really believe this statement. Dom felt like giving Matt a good smack to the head to get his thoughts straight again. But maybe it was a normal reaction after his solitary confinement of sorts.

“Please, Matt,” he almost whimpered and tugged at the singer’s arms again.

“But Dom… you shouldn’t have come alone,” Matt whispered and added, “She’s everywhere.”

“Oh for the love of… No Matt, she isn’t. I got in here, see? Her own house, and she would’ve stopped me, if she was here, no? This woman is not as smart or resourceful as she might’ve made you think.”

A quiet creaking sound followed by one horribly clichéd slow-clap made Dom’s blood run cold from one second to the next while Matt went rigid in his arms. Shit, what now? Maybe he’d been a bit too rash in his assessment of the situation.

“Good evening, Dominic,” Suzanne greeted him. She stood at the door and pulled a gun out of her waistband. “I didn’t expect to find you here, I must admit that. But you did well, I’m impressed. One little hero, you are. Albeit a tragic one, I fear, as your journey ends here.” She pointed the muzzle directly at him.

“Well, you made sure not to make it too easy for me, seeing as you were so nice to upload the video from my place.”

“Indeed. A nice surprise, wasn’t it?”

Dom could hear her taking a few steps behind his back until he could feel her standing only inches behind him. Matt pressed into his chest more forcefully, afraid that they’d be separated again, maybe forever this time. He wouldn’t let that happen, though. Not again, not ever.

With a sudden bout of courage he slowly turned to face her, ignoring Matt’s tiny whimpers of protest. He moved the smaller man behind him so Dom could shield him from whatever Suzanne would be doing next. The drummer stared down the gun with a mix of determination and fear.

“It’s over,” he said and surprised himself with how steady he sounded. “The police knows and they will come and get you. I figured out that it was you all along and I told them. And you didn’t even realise how many clues Matt snuck into your video. Not so observant after all, huh, Rachel?”

She glared at him. “Oh, are they, now? How come you’re here alone, then? All your clues won’t help you now. See, I’m the one in charge. I always am.”

Well, she was definitely in charge now, with a fucking gun pointing at his head. And to add to their hopeless situation, they were indeed on their own. How stupid had he been? He wasn’t going to give up, though. He’d come this close, he had Matt beside him and he would fucking get them out. It wasn’t only now or never anymore, but also a dead or alive situation.

Taking a deep breath, he tried to ignore the fact that a bullet could rip through his brain any moment and collected all the courage he could find. “Let us leave now.”

“Do you really believe I would do that?” She laughed at him and pulled back the hammer of the gun. “You were foolish to come here. I do not care what happens to you, but I do care about Matthew a lot. You take him with you, he reverts back to his useless self. Here he can be free.”

Huffing in disbelief, the blonde gritted his teeth and tried to further cover Matt’s body with his own. It was more like an instinct than anything else. Because this was Matt, after all. His Matt.

“Free,” he spat disgustedly and pointedly raised his eyebrows while taking one look around his best friend’s prison. “You must be joking.”

“Of course you don’t understand. I never expected you to. But Matthew knows what I have gifted him with. I gave him peace and solitude. I purged him of your influence.” With a regretful sigh she walked further into the room. “But alas, he still never quite managed to free himself of you.”

That actually made Dom grin in satisfaction. Not that he believed any of the insane things she told him, but it made him feel like he had somehow managed to keep his connection with the singer. Despite their separation and everything they had both gone through. They had been each other’s lifelines. Just like it had always been and always would be.

“Yeah, well,” he replied and felt Matt crouching deeper into the space behind him. That woman instilled a direct sense of fear in the smaller man and Dom hated her for it with every cell of his body. He had never seen his friend like this before and it made his heart clench painfully. “Some things do not have to be purged. Maybe you’re just not as great as you think you are. I got in here, after all. And you didn’t even notice.”

“Oh please,” she snorted, “of course I noticed. Your climbing into my house over a tree was not exactly subtle. I didn’t expect you to come this far, or find him this quickly, granted, but that does not change a thing.” She waved dismissively at him and actually had the nerve to roll her eyes in annoyance. “I just do not deem you a real threat. But it was entertaining to watch you try. You are nothing but a pathetic fool. Who would even think about taking action like you did without frequenting the police? You came here unarmed and without backup.”

“I meant it when I said that they know! They know about the necklace and your dead accomplice and your connection to the café and your fake identity. They know everything and they will come and get you!” Well, technically it wasn’t a lie. And Whitman probably already had a good idea of where he had been headed after his prison break, anyway. But there was no way of being completely sure that help was already on its way. It didn’t really matter, though, the only person he could really rely on at the moment was himself. That had been the premise from the moment on he had decided to act on his plan.

Suzanne’s face had taken on an expression of sheer contempt and she pursed her lips as she looked down at him. For a second it really seemed like she was considering his words, but then a sneer formed on her face and she took a few more steps towards him.

“See, that’s the difference between you and me. I know when a plan has failed,” she almost laughed.

“How has my plan failed? I’m here, aren’t I?” Dom spat back, still trying to shield as much of Matt’s body with his own as possible.

“Yes, you are. And you are going to stay,” she grinned. “I think Matthew would like that. Wouldn’t you?” She leant forward just a little so as to get a look at the frightened singer. He didn’t move, didn’t react, didn’t even give the slightest indication that he had heard her. “Yes, I think he would.”

“No one is going to stay! Matt and I are going to leave and you’re going to prison!” Dom retorted, but didn’t really feel the same confidence he tried to exude. Not with a gun still pointed at his head. Yes, he had come this far and no, he didn’t plan on giving up now. But he wasn’t the fearless hero his actions suggested. Truth be told, he was scared as fuck.

Suzanne rolled her eyes at him and in one swift motion turned the gun around in her hand, gripping the barrel with her nimble fingers and, without another word, taking a swing to let the pistol butt connect with the side of Dom’s head. It happened so quickly that Dom didn’t have the chance to react. The pain that was now shooting through his head and from there spreading through his body was blinding. All control over his limbs seemed to leave him and for a second there were only little, sparkly stars dancing in front of his eyes. His body crumbled, his own weight suddenly too much to support. Then his shoulder met the ground and he rolled forward a bit, grabbing for his head, the source of his pain, but it did nothing to ease it.

Ironically, it was exactly this Matt had needed to get out of his fear induced stupor. He was beside the drummer in an instant, stroking some of his hair out of his forehead to get a look at the dilated eyes of his friend. Blood slowly started to trickle out of the gash the gun had caused.

“Dom…” the singer breathed, feeling wholly responsible for the misery Dom had gotten himself into by coming to his rescue.

All the while Suzanne had slowly started to walk back to the door, a triumphant look on her face as she looked over her shoulder at the distraught musicians. Dom didn’t leave Matt any time to inspect the wound. The drummer’s head was pounding madly, but he knew all would have been in vain if he let her shut that door now.

“Sleep now,” she whispered almost patronisingly and already had her hand on the door handle.

It was that moment Dom managed to get together enough strength to get to his knees again. He shoved Matt to the side and pushed himself into a crouching position. His head was still spinning, but he already saw the door closing behind their captor. It was one of those now or never situations and so the drummer took everything he had left and sprinted towards the massive metal door, leaving Matt sitting on the floor with a horrified expression on his face. More pain shot through his every fibre as his shoulder crashed into the metal. But it worked. It really worked! The door flew open once more and he could hear Suzanne smash into it forcefully on the other side.

Taking just a second to catch his laboured breath, he snuck a look around the door and saw Suzanne lying between the door and the white-washed wall, her head lolling oddly on her shoulder with her eyes unfocused.

“Matt!” he then cried out and quickly made his way back to the singer. “Get up, we need to hurry!”

“Dom, what-” Matt started, giving him a startled look, but got pulled to his feet by his friend.

“There is no time,” Dom silenced him and, with a firm grip on his forearm, pulled him through the door and past the slowly recovering Suzanne.

“I… I can’t believe it…” Matt mumbled as they stormed towards the first flight of stairs. “We could manage… Do you think we’ll manage?” A spark of hope glistened in his eyes and Dom’s heart skipped a beat. Matt had finally come back to reality, to him. Now they would manage. He was sure of it.

One last glance over his shoulder made Matt’s blood freeze, though. Suzanne had managed to get back on her feet, and although she still looked utterly disoriented and clumsy, she was still a force to be reckoned with.

“Run!” Matt screamed at the top of his lungs and that spurted Dom on even more.

Just as they reached the upper basement, a loud shot rang through the hallway and Matt’s eyes widened when he saw the tiny black hole in the white wall to his left. Shit! She had recovered far too quickly. Her aim wasn’t the best yet, but that would only be a matter of time. A short time. Dom was thinking the exact same thing as his grip around Matt’s arm tightened and he moved up a gear.

Finally Dom’s hand closed around the handle of the upper basement door and they stumbled into the long, nightmarish ground floor corridor. Quick-wittedly, Dom threw the door shut behind them again and while his sight was slowly coming back into focus, he managed to push the still stinging pain that made his temple throb to the back of his mind. Adrenaline was a wondrous thing, he mused.

Without hesitation, they moved on. Running past countless doors Dom tried to remember the way he had come. There were the stairs he had climbed down. Or were they? Everything looked kind of the same and he could not be too sure. There were decorations he thought he had seen before. Pictures and vases and tiny statues flew past them in a blur and the only steady thing in that moment was the connection between Dom’s hand and Matt’s wrist. His grip had slipped a bit, but it actually left Matt more room to run properly. Maybe if they just got to the front door…

And just like that it came into view. A huge, richly decorated door with stained-glass windows.

“Yes!” Dom breathed, almost relieved.

But then Matt’s muscles flexed under his fingers and he heard him say, “Dom, it’s locked. I tried to get out before, but it was locked!”

“No,” the blonde replied stubbornly and only stopped when they were standing directly in front of the door. Taking no time to think, he let go of Matt’s wrist to grip the golden handle and started to push and pull, Matt shifting nervously from one leg to the other next to him, constantly turning around to check for any signs of Suzanne. But no matter how hard Dom tried, the stupid thing just wouldn’t give way.

“Shit,” he breathed, rubbing the sweat and tiny rivulets of blood off his forehead, and turned back to Matt. There had to be another way out. Think, Howard! Think! The window he’d entered through was no option, they’d break their necks trying to get down there. Not to mention that they’d never be quick enough. So what else could they do? He tried to remember the various rooms he’d seen. Most of them had been door- and windowless. Except… The glass room! Yes! Maybe they could get out through the glass room! Then a loud bang sounded through the corridor.

Two pairs of eyes turned back the way they’d come and only a second later the most unwanted figure of all turned a corner and came into view, gun cocked and eyes firmly trained on the two men. While Matt seemed to be frozen to the spot again, Dom wasn’t quite ready to let her win, yet.

“Come on, I know where to go!” he urged Matt on and shouted, “This way,” while pointing towards another hall to their right. He couldn’t be too sure if he had indeed come this way, but they had no other choice if they wanted to find the glass room again. He couldn’t and wouldn’t disappoint Matt, and this was the only solution he had left.

When they turned into the corridor he recognised a few items on shelves he’d seen before. Maybe he had remembered correctly. But there was still the problem of the millions of doors lining the corridor. Which door was it? Which door led to the room made completely of glass?

With his brain having taken the hard blow earlier it couldn’t stay focused on the matter and coordinate his legs correctly at the same time anymore. The blonde’s foot caught on the carpet and his body rushed forward, his hands pushing forward to cushion his fall. Still, he groaned when his body came in contact with the floor, his head throbbing once again painfully.

Matt was in front of him, but stopped dead in his tracks when he realised that the drummer wasn’t following him anymore. He turned around and approached Dom, who shook his head weakly. Run, you idiot, he thought when heel clad footsteps came closer.

“Are you okay?” Matt asked and hauled him up without wasting another second.

Dom nodded, but his head still swam from the sudden movements. Maybe he did have a concussion after all. Shaky hands then pushed his back forward and Dom turned around to see Matt trying to get him to move. Over the singer’s shoulder he could see Suzanne approaching, now dangerously close to them, and heard the ignition of the gun. That spurred him on to pull himself together and keep going. His gaze fell on the second to last door on the right which was left open. He could see a sliver of glass. Yes, that was the room. It had to be.

“Come on!”

He pushed forward and Matt followed him until they were only a few steps away from their destination. Another shot rang through the hall, but this time it was followed by a wince from the singer and the sound of his body hitting the wall.

When Dom turned everything seemed to be in slow motion. He saw his best friend’s tightly shut eyes, and how his hand clenched around his left shoulder. Red liquid seeped from between the digits. Dom’s gaze turned to Suzanne who was coming towards them, gun still raised and as dangerous as ever. He looked back to Matt, his eyes wide when the brunette stared right back at him. Panicked blue met helpless grey.

And just like that, time sped up again. Matt pushed himself off the wall and against Dom before they dashed into the room they’d been intending to enter. The door was thrown shut and locked behind them, and they quickly moved away from it in case Suzanne decided to shoot them through the wood.

Dom stared at the door blankly, waiting for a reaction or sound from the other side. When none came his body slowly cooled down enough to let some of the adrenaline wear off. His head hurt like he had been hit by a lorry, but it didn’t stop his mind from slowly catching up with what had happened in the corridor.

“Matt!”

The singer was leaning against one of the glass walls, leaving red streaks on the pristine glass when he slid down to the floor. Dom immediately crouched down next to him.

“I’m okay,” Matt assured him, but he didn’t look like it, at least not to Dom. He was sweating and shaking and taking quick, shallow breaths as if in a strong fever, his whole body tense with his hand still clasped over where the bullet had apparently hit him.

With shaking hands he peeled Matt’s fingers off his upper arm. Blood immediately flowed onto his own fingers, but that didn’t matter right now. He needed to assess the damage.

“I’m sorry. Oh god, Matt. I’m sorry!”

Matt had indeed been shot. He was bleeding and hurting and it was all Dom’s fault. If he hadn’t been so clumsy and hadn’t fallen they would have entered the room and escaped. Instead, Matt was losing blood, his very life essence, and would bleed to death before they could even try to leave this hell, and it would be Dom’s fault. He would-

“Dom?”

Matt’s unsure whisper brought him back to reality. He couldn’t panic and lose his head now. They weren’t out of the woods and he’d promised himself and Chris he’d bring Matt home. He needed to take care of Matt, make sure he could get him out of here. That was Priority Number 1. Yes, capital letters. Keep your head cool, just for a bit longer. He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. After the second intake he could already feel his panic recede a bit. He could do this. They were so close.

As calmly as he could he inspected the wound and found no hole. The bullet seemed to have grazed the singer’s shoulder. There was a semi-deep gash, but no hole. No hole, he thought and released the breath he’d been holding. However, Dom wasn’t an expert in gun wounds - or well, any wounds, really - and he wouldn’t trust his own assessment. Matt needed medical attention, and that as quickly as possible.

A warm hand on his cheek made the drummer look up. Matt stared at him intently and rubbed his skin before his hand traveled up to push the few strands of blood soaked hair out of his face again.

“You’re bleeding,” he stated quietly.

Dom countered, “So are you.” The situation felt so bizarre to him that he couldn’t help but grin.

Matt returned it tentatively, but winced immediately when he moved his arm. Dom didn’t waste another second and ripped a piece from his shirt. He then tied it around Matt’s shoulder and made sure it was tight enough to stop the bleeding.

Once, years ago, Matt had taken Dom to a shooting ranch on a whim. There had been a course about how to treat gun wounds in case first aid was needed. The instructor had explained that first and foremost it was important to stop the bleeding and had proceeded to show them how to tie the bandage properly. At the time Dom had found the whole thing stupid and unnecessary because he hadn’t intended to go back ever again, let alone end up in a shooting, but now he was thankful for every bit of information he had soaked up. There had also been a lot of talk about how the victim had to be kept still, but that wasn’t an option right now. Shock treatment didn’t seem to be needed, as Matt was responsive and as focused as the situation allowed him to be. Was there anything else the instructor had said? He tried to remember any additional information, but his brain came up with nothing. New panic rose in him. What if he had forgotten anything essential? He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he could have prevented Matt from suffering even more.

“Last chance to come out on your own free will,” they heard Suzanne from the other side of the door, successfully interrupting Dom’s dark train of thought. “Come home, Matthew. Or I’ll have to hang poor Dominic’s remains over your bed to remind you of the consequences of your behaviour.”

“Dom, maybe I should…” Matt started, but didn’t even get a chance to finish his sentence.

“No, cut that crap! Don’t even try to be some martyr arsehole, you’re not going back into that shithole, and I’m not going to leave you,” Dom scolded him immediately.

“But… you shouldn’t even be here,” the singer voiced on a laboured breath and pressed his hand back to the bandage.

“Jesus fucking Christ!” the blonde cried out in exasperation. “Don’t you even dare! We’re not, I repeat, not going there. No one is going to be left behind, we’re not in some stupid movie. Got it?”

“Yeah.” Matt nodded reluctantly and averted his eyes. Truth be told, he didn’t have much hope left. Yes, Dom had gotten them out of the basement. Yes, they’d shut out Suzanne for the moment. But now he was a burden to his friend and to himself, more a liability than a help. His head was swimming and he felt dizzy from pain and blood loss.

Dom felt Matt’s insecurity and could see the doubt in his eyes. Slowly he placed his hands on the singer’s sagged shoulders, forcing the smaller man to look at him. “Listen, we’re going to do this. I’ll get you out of here, no matter what. I promise you that. Now, let’s get you up.” Carefully, he pulled Matt back to his feet and, with an almost begging look, urged him to stay there.

Then the drummer quickly scanned the room properly for the first time. The windows looked old, not the modern double-glazing you would find in a newer house. But still, there was no window that stood out from the others, none that looked like it also acted as a door. He could see the hedge he’d tried to get through earlier in the pale light of dusk. Maybe this would have to be their escape now.

With an unsure smile he turned back to Matt who was still leaning against one of the furthest windows. “It always works in the movies, right?”
“What does?” Matt replied quietly and kept pressing his hand to his hurting shoulder.

“Jumping through a window, badass style,” Dom tried to force a smile out of his friend, but saw fear in his eyes.

“I’m not going to make it,” the brunette mumbled, trying to keep himself upright.

Disbelievingly, Dom shook his head and took a few swift steps to close the distance between them. Since his arrival Matt had already gone through so many mood changes that it made Dom’s head spin. He’d been catatonic and hopeless, active and all there, and now he was close to giving up again. And he hated it. He hated this side of his best friend, and in this moment they -he - needed nothing more than crazy, adventurous Matt. The Matt who wouldn’t give up easily and was reckless beyond anything Dom had ever seen, who’d jump through a window and a ring of fire if needed.

Matt winced a bit as Dom lightly stroked his arm and tried to make the singer look at him again. The blonde felt a pang in his stomach when he realised that every touch seemed to cause his friend more pain. So instead of insisting on letting Matt check his wound again, he put a hand to the side of his neck. Immediately, Matt’s eyes snapped up and met his.

“Matt…” he sighed deeply. “Look, I know that this is very hard on you. I cannot even start to imagine what you have gone through and what has brought this… this resignation on you. But you have to trust me. There is nothing I want more than to get you out of here. You have to understand that! We have come this far and I am never ever going to leave without you. You know you mean the world to me, right? I never gave up on you so please do the same.”

“Dom…”

“No… I mean it, Matt. You’re the most important person in my life. I… “ He took a deep breath. No going back, might as well get it out now. “I love you so much. And I won’t accept a life without you.”

At that, Matt’s eyes widened and he went completely rigid. “Dom,” he repeated shakily, but the blonde just smiled softly. When no further reaction came from the singer, though, just wide-eyed staring, Dom’s smile dropped a bit and he turned back to further inspect the window wall. Apparently the singer was still too out of it to realise what was going on around him. He hid his sigh from Matt because he didn’t want to upset him, but secretly he wished badly for Normal Matt’s return (and wasn’t that something he’d never thought he would say?). He could really use some help right about now.

“Alright, let’s get out of here.”

Feeling on his one once more, he knelt down by a window and tried to find out a weak spot, fingering around the frame and examining its structure. Obviously they seemed to be least stable towards the centre. He tapped the glass with his fingers and found this theory confirmed as it seemed to rattle quietly.

Suddenly the blonde sensed his friend approaching and quickly got up to his feet again, worry written all over his features. “You alright?”

The answering nod was a lot more self-assured than Matt’s previous actions had been and Dom could see that his posture had changed as well. The singer let go of his shoulder in favour of grabbing Dom’s hand. Relief instantly flooded the blonde and he squeezed Matt’s fingers reassuringly.

Matt still felt completely dumbfounded and wasn’t sure what to make of Dom’s declaration. Did he mean it? Or was it some out-of-the-moment stuff? Did he say it to get his brain to work again? In any case, it had definitely helped. Matt finally felt some life pumping through his body again. There was blood in his arteries, air in his lungs, feeling in his limbs, movement in his heart, and thoughts in his head. He felt alive.

“Let’s do this,” Matt said and nodded to the window. “You’re right, it always works in the movies. And it’s our best shot.”

It was that moment when another deafening shot rang through the hallway and made the door they’d come through shake dangerously. Instinctively, Dom tightened his grip around Matt’s hand and pulled the singer with him. They needed some motion if they wanted to actually break that window. Another sharp sound at the door handle announced how Suzanne was rapidly closing in on them.

“You ready?” The blonde looked at Matt, knowing that they had to jump anyway, no matter how ready they actually were.

The singer seemed to be thinking the same as he nodded and then trained his eyes on the glass. It seemed to grow more massive by the second, but that was probably just his imagination. Because, yes, he was scared alright. But that didn’t change him in his resolve to trust Dom and just go with him.

“On 3. 1…”

The doorknob rattled loudly, another shot ringing through the room when the bullet hit the metal of the lock. Matt looked nervously behind him.

“2…”

The door swung open.

“3!” Dom shouted and together they sprinted towards the window when Suzanne entered the room, angry eyes trying to locate them.

Their hands squeezed tighter and their other arms flew up (Matt wincing from the effort) to shield their faces from the upcoming impact. Closer and closer to freedom, until they finally hit the transparent barrier and-

Matt's mind went blank.

_____

 

“Matt, come on!” the blonde cried out and tried to pull the singer up again.

“Yeah,” Matt groaned dizzily and felt his legs wobble dangerously under his weight as he got back to his feet.

The impact with the window and afterwards with the ground had made him blackout for a moment, but now he seemed to be recovering again. But if the pain in his shoulder had felt bad before, it was now literally unbearable. The two of them had rolled downhill quite a distance and the house was now at least a few yards away.

“Hurry!” The blonde urged him on, but on seeing how weak Matt was, he slung his arm over his shoulder and half-carried his friend.

“There is no way out, don’t you understand? Matthew is meant to be here!” Suzanne shouted through the broken window and stepped out onto the lawn, gun raised at eye level.

“Run!” This time it was Matt’s shaky voice that sounded through the garden which seemed to morph into a labyrinth in front of them.

There were hedges everywhere and Dom looked around frantically. He wasn’t sure which one was the real hedge, the one actually surrounding the garden. They all looked alike and shit, how were they supposed to get out now?

Still, Matt’s voice kept ringing in his ears and that one single word spurred him on to no end. They had come this far. He wouldn’t let them die now. Not ever. Not if there was still an ounce of hope left in them. Matt was getting more focused by the second and his legs seemed to grow steadier again. There was hope.

Then a loud shot ripped through the otherwise silent pre-night air. Quickly Dom shoved Matt behind the first hedge they reached, dodged, and covered his friend’s head with his torso. Crouching awkwardly for a moment, the two tried to catch their breaths. There was no time, though. Suzanne was approaching in long strides, her face contorted by anger and fury.

“We can do this,” Dom whispered into Matt’s ear and the brunette nodded, although timidly. “Okay, we need to keep going. Maybe we can shake her off between the hedgerows. And then find a way out. I know there is one. I tried to get through here before.” Again Matt just nodded his head. Without Dom he would have died at least five times already, so he could do nothing but trust him.

“Wait for my sign,” the drummer said and leant forward a bit to sneak a glance around a dark green bush.

Suzanne was already halfway down the little hill and Dom’s eyes widened in shock.

“Now!” He shouted and, without warning, grabbed Matt’s uninjured arm to make a run for it.

The two musicians hurried past weird hedge formations, feeling like the garden was an extension of the nightmarish interior of the house, and tried to hide a few times but failed miserably. As it turned out, plants were not really bullet-proof and they could only hope that Suzanne would keep missing them. Which she did, but a few times only by mere inches.

Why are there no police sirens yet? Someone must’ve heard the crazy shooting by now, right? Dom thought as his brain went riot. Because even if they did manage to get out of the garden, they would still need help. If they got out, Suzanne would, too.

The ground beneath their feet seemed to get softer with each step they took. In reality Dom knew it wasn’t that the ground that changed, though, but the exhaustion numbing their legs. Running got harder by the minute and the blonde just wished for the right hedge to appear. Matt left more and more of his weight for Dom to carry and every second step he took, he stumbled. The drummer had never been one for religion, but now he silently sent desperate prayers up to the heavens. They needed all the help they could get.

Yet another bullet tore a hole into one of the hedges next to them, and wood splinters and tiny leaves danced through the air around them. The house wasn’t even visible anymore, completely blocked from view, and Dom felt like he had lost all sense of orientation.

“Come,” he panted and, on a sudden whim, pulled Matt around another corner to their left. They’d been running almost straight away from the the house, so theoretically the street had to be on their left. Better a desperate plan than none at all.

Sensing that Dom had an idea, Matt tried to get his head back into the chase. For a while his mind had slipped a little, leaving all responsibility to his friend. But he knew it was unfair. He needed to help. Or at least not let Dom carry all of the weight, metaphorically as well as literally. With this thought going round his head, he tried his best to get his legs back under control. Dom’s body instantly straightened up the slightest bit and Matt felt relief flooding through the drummer, showing in the way he held himself.

They were now directly headed for an especially huge hedge. From their current position it looked like one massive wall, the pale light of dusk throwing creepy shadows across it. Matt’s eyes widened as Dom didn’t slow down in the least and instead rushed towards it like their lives depended on it. Which they did, really.

“Duck!” Dom shouted at him and just in time because suddenly Matt saw what they were about to reach.

There was a hole or more like what looked like a tunnel opening. About four feet high and pitch black, it was only visible from up close. Both men ducked down and kept running with their heads bowed. Armed with thorny twigs and thicker trunks that seemed to appear out of nowhere, the hedge was apparently dead set on making their escape as hard as possible.

Then, after what felt like an eternity, they suddenly broke free. A bit disoriented, Dom didn’t let go off Matt for the fear of someone taking him again. Two pairs of eyes scanned the new surroundings while the shots behind them fell silent from one moment to the next. Matt jerked his head around and looked back at the wall that now separated them from their pursuer. The silence didn’t bode well, of that much he was sure.

It was that exact moment that a car appeared at the end of the road, coming closer at alarming speed. To the brunette’s utter horror, Dom didn’t waste another second and pulled him on the street with him, right in front of the car. The driver’s eyes were wide as he jumped on the brakes and managed to stop his car last second. For the first time in forever a huge, relieved smile appeared on the drummer’s face.

“Whitman! Finally!”

Oh, Dom knew the man.

“Dominic! Wolstenholme called me! Where’s Harrison?” The CI quickly climbed out of his car, his eyes trained on the blonde.

“Who?” Dom asked in confusion, his mind already focused on the hedge again.

“Rachel! Suzanne! Whatever she calls herself!”

“Oh! She’s after us!” the drummer cried out and pulled Matt around the car.

Then Whitman’s eyes finally landed on a battered and completely beat looking Matt and he did a double take. The singer was out! His attention quickly followed Dom’s, though, ever the professional, and not a second too late as suddenly a shot tore through the hedge and Suzanne appeared from it a moment later. Her face was just as scratched and bloody as theirs were and her eyes flashed with anger.

To the CI it seemed almost impossible that this tiny, fragile woman was responsible for all the misery the band and their families had gone through over the past few weeks. But, as he had learnt over years and years on the job, nothing was impossible, not when it came to human psychology.

“Police! Put down your gun, Ms Harrison! It’s over!” Whitman shouted, his gun raised and pointed directly at her.

Suzanne didn’t even seem to notice the chief inspector, though, and instead had her eyes firmly fixed on the two musicians behind the car. Slowly she raised her gun again, both hands on its butt, and took a few deliberate steps towards them. Immediately Whitman edged closer to her fireline, trying to avert her attention from the two men.

“You are a pest, Dominic. You destroyed everything. Everything Matthew and I worked for so hard.” Her voice was low but steady and clear, filled with pure contempt.

“Stay where you are!” The CI warned her, but she still ignored him. “Ms Harrison, I’ll have to shoot if you take one more step!”

Dom stared at her in utter horror and Matt pressed into his side, eyes wide open and transfixed on the woman who had brought him so much pain. The blonde wanted to step in front of his friend to protect him, but now his body denied him all further cooperation. He was frozen to the spot, blood pumping in his ears and his heart skipping every second beat. He felt like, any moment now, he would pass out from tension and fear.

The triumphant sneer that emerged on her thin lips suggested that she knew exactly what the drummer was thinking. Her fingers twitched restlessly around the trigger and Whitman set his jaw in grim determination. Then everything seemed to happen at once, like slow motion turned to fast forward.

Suzanne took another step towards them. A shot was fired and sounded through the suffocating silence, pushing everyone’s eardrums to their limits. Matt and Dom squeezed their eyes shut simultaneously. A dull, sickening thud and a barely audible breath being sucked in followed by deafening silence.

When Dom opened his eyes again he saw Suzanne standing there as if frozen in time. Her arms still raised and her eyes wide with shock. He was just about to do something, anything to get away, when he realised what had happened.

At first there was a tiny hole in her blouse which quickly turned a dark shade of red. Then it spread further and further, like a wildfire on a rampage, dousing her chest in blood and death.

„No!“

A desperate scream brought him back to reality. The singer pushed away from him forcefully and Dom couldn’t hold onto him in time to prevent him from running over to the slowly crumbling form of his former captor.

The blonde watched Matt fall to his knees next to her, wide eyes assessing the damage. Shaking hands flew to Suzanne’s chest and pressed on where the bullet had ripped through her body. Dom took careful steps towards the two of them, his eyes trained on Matt’s face, where fat tears rolled down his cheeks and deep sobs shook his body.

“No, no, no, no,” the singer whispered and his voice actually broke at the end. “Don’t die. Please, you can’t.” Another sob escaped his lips and Dom’s inside turned to knots. Was Matt…

Suzanne turned her gaze to Matt then, her eyes going in and out of focus. A frown marred her face as if she was trying to process something. A trail of blood trickled from her mouth, Dom could see. A clear sign Whitman had hit one of her lungs.

“Matthew,” she finally whispered and coughed with effort. Her body was weak, but she still managed to raise her hand to his cheek. She stroked it softly, and Matt let her, too concentrated on stopping the blood flow from her chest.

“Don’t die,” he repeated. “You can’t. Not after this. Not after everything you’ve put me through.”

“Oh, Matthew.”

Whitman had moved up to them as well now, and stopped next to Dom. He holstered his gun and laid a hand on the drummer’s shoulder, but Dom was frozen to the spot, too horrified by what was going on in front of him. This was so surreal, so out of place. If he hadn’t known any better he would have thought there was a special bond between these two. Well, in a way there was, but not in that way. It shouldn’t be like this.

Another broken cough ripped through her body before Suzanne’s mouth turned into something that could have been a kind and loving smile if they hadn’t known that she was a psychopath.

“You’re so beautiful, Matthew.”

Her hand moved from his cheek to his chin, her thumb lying on Matt’s bottom lip. She whispered, “So beautiful. And yet, so broken and incomplete.”

Her eyes closed and her hand fell, and Matthew let out an animalistic cry.

“No… no,” he panted and Dom reached out with an unsteady hand, wanting to soothe his friend. But he didn’t understand. Matt had been so scared of her and now… He looked like there was nothing he wanted more than to bring her back.

“Mr Bellamy…” Whitman eventually interrupted Matt’s miserable sobs, laid his hands on the smaller man’s shoulders and tried to get him to his feet again. “She’s gone. For good.”

Matt was so close to him and yet Dom had never felt so removed from him. He wanted to understand. Everything was over now, they were safe. Why was Matt acting out like this? Was he suffering from some extreme case of Stockholm Syndrome? It was the only way he could explain it. Maybe Dom had gotten it all wrong, maybe Matt hadn’t been in a state of shock. Maybe he just didn’t want to be saved. But he’d run with Dom, hadn’t he? Why would he have done that if he had wanted to stay with her? The blonde retracted his hand and stood there, silently and unable to understand.

For a second Matt resisted the CI’s attempt at getting him away from the dead body, but then the brunette’s eyes finally fell on the drummer again. Dom wasn’t sure what to make of his pain-ridden expression and he felt completely torn and devastated. This was not fair! It wasn’t right! Fresh tears welled up in the singer’s eyes and before Dom could even think about reacting he had an arm full of Matt pressed against his chest. Surprised, he put his arms around the battered body and rubbed his back.

He still wasn’t sure what was going on inside the brunette’s head, but at least he didn’t blame Dom for anything. Because that had been his biggest fear after Matt’s twisted reaction to his former captor’s death.

“I’m going to call an ambulance and my team. You keep an eye on him,” Whitman said quietly and Dom just nodded, letting Matt soak his shirt with his tears.

Dom moved them to Whitman’s car, far away from Suzanne, and Matt let himself be handled into a sitting position on the back seat once Dom had managed to open the door. The drummer sat in front of him and slung his arms around the singer again, who followed and laid his head back against Dom’s chest. The sobs had subsided and the only sounds the singer made came from his heavy breathing.

Everything felt so calm about them and Dom couldn’t believe the last couple of hours… how long had it been anyway? The sun had gone down some time between them breaking through the glass wall and Suzanne dying outside of what had come to be Matt’s prison. To Dom it seemed like only a few minutes had passed, and yet, it felt like a lifetime.

He looked down at Matt’s dark mop of hair and his breath hitched slightly when he realised that it was all over.

Only minutes later several cars pulled up and Dom could make out the ambulance, closely followed by two more police cars. It took less than a few moments until the street was swarmed with people, paramedics, police officers, the like. Some of them busied themselves with securing the crime scene, others went off to check the house, and two, dressed in neon-yellow jackets, came over to where Matt and Dom were keeping their distance to the corpse.

One of them, a woman, immediately started to examine Dom’s face, dabbed his cuts and the wound with antiseptics, and told him that he might need to get x-rayed at the hospital. The wound didn’t look too bad, but she couldn’t rule out a concussion. Then she proceeded to wrap his head in a light bandage to keep pressure on the wound. He still needed stitches, but she said that it could wait until they were at the hospital. All the while his eyes were fixed on Matt, though. He watched as the other paramedic checked Matt’s pupillary response and spoke to him in a calming voice. Still, Matt looked restless and unable to keep up with the situation.

“Mr Bellamy, your injuries need some closer examination. Do you think you can walk or would it be better if we got the stretcher to carry you over?”

“No! No, I can walk,” Matt replied instantly, almost horrified.

It pained Dom to see how his friend tried to pull himself out of the car with only one hand. His legs still seemed to be a bit uncooperative, but he didn’t accept any help from the paramedics. Why was that? Didn’t Matt trust them? Was it his need to prove that he was at least still able to walk on his own? Was it… his pride kicking in again? The yellow-clad man indulged him patiently, but always stayed close in case Matt needed help, after all.

Dom felt weirdly out of place at that moment. The woman just handed him a shock blanket when he averted his eyes from the singer’s back. But then the unsteady footsteps stopped and instinctively Dom looked up again. Matt watched him over his shoulder, the paramedic still close by. A small frown formed on the brunette’s face.

“Aren’t you coming with me?” Matt’s voice was small and full of… fear. There was still fear.

Immediately the drummer took a step forward, not needing to be asked twice. But then the man next to Matt stepped in.

“Sorry, you have to stay out for the examination,” he said and really did sound sorry.

For a second Dom felt like protesting, but he understood the procedure and eventually just nodded. Then he gave Matt a soft smile and said, “It’s okay, I’ll be waiting outside.” And because he could see Matt’s begging eyes he added, “I promise. I’m not going anywhere.”

The brunette nodded reluctantly and let the paramedic guide him inside the ambulance. The guy apparently understood how important it was for the 2 musicians to see each other, so he made sure the door stayed open a bit. Just a sliver, but enough so Dom could look inside and keep an eye on his friend, and Matt could see Dom standing outside which reassured him greatly and allowed the paramedic to do his job. Dom made a mental note to thank the guy later on.

He watched the paramedics do their work for about 10 minutes until Whitman joined him.

“You okay?” he asked gently and handed Dom a pack of cigarettes. The man already knew him too well, Dom mused.

“I guess so. It’s just… It was a really long day.”

Whitman nodded and lit the cigarette the drummer had taken. They both smoked quietly and let the events of the day pass through their minds.

“Where’s Thompson?”

“Back at the station,” Whitman replied. “He’s wrapping up another case and lets me do the dirty work here.”

“I see.” Dom took a long drag from his cigarette.

“What you did was pretty reckless, Mr Howard.”

A tight knot formed in the pit of the blonde’s stomach. “I know. I’m…” He couldn’t say that he was sorry, it would be a lie. Just because of what he had done Matt was free. He didn’t want to think about how things would have unfolded if he’d followed the CI’s advice. But he remembered what he’d done to get here and that made him feel truly terrible.

“I didn’t want to… do some of these things,” he explained and looked at the ground. “Is he… Is the guard alright?”

“Yes. Just a horrendous headache.”

Dom breathed a sigh of relief.

“But you’re in deep shit now. Knocking out a police officer on duty and fleeing from custody isn’t to be taken lightly.”

The drummer hummed. “I know. And I know you want to hear that I’m sorry and that I regret having done what I did, but I can’t. I am not proud of it, but I don’t regret it. You can do whatever you want with me, I don’t care. Matt is safe, that’s the only thing that counts. So if you’ve come to arrest me, I won’t fight you, but I ask you to wait until one of our mates is with Matt. I don’t want to see him alone right now.”

As if on cue they heard shouting from the side of the street. They both turned their heads to see Chris being held back by a police officer who apparently wouldn’t let him pass. Chris barked something at him that couldn’t be understood. From the way Chris’ face had turned a deep, angry shade of red, it wasn’t anything too polite. Whatever it was, the officer didn’t budge.

“I’ll take care of it,” Whitman told Dom and walked over to the two men.

Dom watched the CI talk to the officer and then turn to Chris to speak with him. The bassist nodded before he moved past the two policemen and ran over to Dom.

The blonde didn’t know what he had expected from the reunion. There still was a lecture to be given because, yes, Dom indeed knew that what he’d done was reckless and stupid, and Chris would definitely get back to it, being the full-time dad that he was. He reckoned there was also the possibility of getting hit in the face. He winced at that thought. He really didn’t want to get his face smashed in right now, but then again, he probably deserved it. He could only guess how worried Chris must have been at the possibility of losing another friend, of losing him. He had to apologise to him as soon as possible.

What he hadn’t expected, however, was Chris grabbing his shoulders and pulling him into a fierce hug. The taller man squeezed him so hard that Dom felt as if his airways were closing up, but he didn’t have the heart to tell his friend. Instead he simply returned the hug.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“I was so scared. I know you told me to hang on and not do anything, but I just… I couldn’t let you run in like that. I- I called Whitman and told him what you were doing. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Dom squeezed the bassist’s shoulder in affection. “I was an idiot. You saved our arses.” And as if realisation settled in just now he repeated, “You saved our lives.”

He suddenly felt dizzy and swayed in the bassist’s arms. Fuck. Yes, Chris had saved them with that call to Whitman. Suzanne could have shot them on the streets. She obviously hadn’t given a flying fuck anymore.

He looked over to where her body had lain. The spot was now empty, the body probably on the way to the morgue already. The only reminder of what had happened were the flecks of dried blood that painted the pavement dark brown.

“She’s dead now. Whitman shot her. She… Matt couldn’t…”

“Matt,” Chris said as if he only realised now that he could see the singer. “Where is he?”

Dom pointed to the ambulance. “In there. He got shot and-”

Chris didn’t waste another second. He grabbed the handle and opened the door to see Matt for himself. A choked gasp escaped his lips when he saw the singer’s shirt that was soaked with blood, some of his own, but mostly Suzanne’s. Without hesitation he jumped inside.

One of the paramedics protested, but Chris wouldn’t listen to them. He touched the frontman’s uninjured shoulder and the singer’s neck until his hands landed on the small chest. Matt’s eyes followed his every movement.

“Are you okay?!” Chris asked frantically. Matt nodded yes.

“He’ll be just fine,” the paramedic that had left the door ajar piped up. “It was just a graze shot. No lasting damage, but he’ll be sore for a while.”

Matt touched Chris’ forearm then and the bassist looked first to his arm before he locked eyes with Matt.

“I’m okay,” Matt said as reassurance, probably not only to Chris and Dom but to himself as well. “I’ll be fine.”

Chris stared into his eyes for a moment longer, trying to gauge if Matt was merely lying to make them feel better or if he was indeed okay. He seemed to find only honesty there and his body relaxed visibly, his nerves calming down. Then, without giving Matt the chance to react, he leaned forward to embrace him much as he’d previously done with Dom. This time, however, the hug was a lot more timid. He didn’t want to injure the singer any further or risk the possibility of breaking him, so he was mindful to be as careful as he could in this situation.

Chris pulled back and ruffled the dark mop of hair. He smiled softly. “Welcome home, mate. It was boring without you.”

Matt returned the smile and closed his eyes.

Dom took the moment to exit the ambulance to give them some private time. If you could call it private with the paramedics being around, that is. He pulled the orange shock blanket higher up on his shoulders and looked around. There was such a stark contrast between the clear night sky with its stars shining brightly and the aggressively flashing red and blue lights of the police cars illuminating the front of the house.

Chris joined him outside the ambulance then and laid an arm around his shoulders. Dom turned his head towards his friend and saw a huge grin spreading on his face. The blonde couldn’t resist and started to grin as well, which in turn led to Chris laughing loudly. Once again, Dom followed him. It was stupid and utterly ridiculous, but what did it matter? Right at this moment, nothing mattered as much as the fact that things would be okay again.

“He’s home,” Chris stated simply once they’d calmed down. Dom could only nod. Yes, home.

Another silence settled in while the bassist looked his friend over. After a considerable amount of time he commented, “Your face looks smashed, mate.”

“Gee, thanks,” Dom sighed dramatically. It felt good to be able to joke again. “Guess I won’t be winning sexiest man in music this time around.”

“Nope, definitely not. But that has nothing to do with the cuts, really.”

Dom nudged his friend’s shoulder who faux-yelped then and the blonde couldn’t help but grin again. Yes, it definitely felt good.

One of the paramedics peeked out of the door and addressed them. “We need to take Mr Bellamy to the hospital. He’s mostly fine, but he needs to get checked properly and the wound on his shoulder needs to get stitched. One of you can drive with us.”

“Go ahead, mate,” Chris said and pushed him towards the door.

He couldn’t. Dom visibly deflated. Whitman would arrest him now that Chris was here to take care of Matt.

“I…” Dom whispered. “You should go with him.”

“What? Don’t you want to?”

The blonde turned to his friend with sad eyes. “I’m going to prison, Chris. You know what I did. They won’t… I can’t…”

His courage and determination quickly ebbed away once the adrenaline had worn off. Yes, he still didn’t regret what he’d done, but he wasn’t so brave as to face the consequences anymore. He wanted to go with Matt and stay with him, not rot away in a cell. Not to mention what he’d done to his reputation, and, in extension, the band’s reputation. He’d ruined their careers and his life. But what did it matter when Matt was breathing and moving and smiling and living?

Right in this moment Whitman walked up to them with a small notepad in his hand. Dom sighed and patted Chris on the shoulder. Wordlessly he met Whitman halfway.

“Mr Howard, shouldn’t you be inside this ambulance?”

Dom frowned at that. “I told you, you can arrest me once Chris is here. Well, he is now, so…”

“I never said I was here to arrest you, Dominic,” the CI said softly.

“What?”

“I think you will agree when I say that your escape was a desperate attempt to prove your innocence and that mitigating circumstances apply, don’t you think?”

“But…” Dom was at a loss for words.

“Go. Be with Mr Bellamy. I will take care of everything here. Just, please, this time, do as I say.”

Had Whitman just… had he just told Dom he’d cover for him? That, maybe, there was a chance to turn things around and Dom could get out of this without severe consequences?

“Go. Now.”

The drummer could only nod dumbfoundedly and turned back to the ambulance. Chris was already halfway inside but once he saw Dom approaching he retreated and made room for Dom to squeeze in.

“I’ll see you at the hospital,” he said and ran back to his car.

Dom watched him disappear behind the police line and took the last step inside. He sat down next to Matt’s head.

“I’m back,” he said and caressed the brunette’s hair.

Matt smiled up at him, “Hi.”

“Hello,” Dom replied warmly, and couldn’t help but kiss his singer again. “Are you feeling better?”

For a moment Matt seemed to ponder that question. Dom could literally see the brunette’s emotions and thoughts flick through his head while he pulled his brows together. But then, finally, he said, “Yeah… yeah, I guess I do. How are you?” The smaller man raised one hand and gingerly moved two fingers along the outline of the bandage over Dom’s wound, seeming completely transfixed by the action.

“I’m fine,” the drummer replied offhandedly. “Don’t worry.”

“I’m sorry, but I need to attach the IV now,” the friendly paramedic interrupted them as he climbed into the ambulance again.

Dom scooted over a bit to make room for the man, but didn’t take his eyes off his rescued friend. While letting the man do his work, Matt did the same. But soon his eyes started to droop and he had to suppress a yawn. No wonder considering what they had gone through. What he had gone through.

“Sorry,” the singer mumbled and rubbed at his eyes with his free hand.

“It’s okay,” Dom replied quietly. “‘s all good. You need to rest, anyway. Just… don’t worry. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Promise?” Matt’s voice was quiet and very sleepy already.

“Promise,” the blonde assured him with a soft smile on his lips. “Promise.”