Mike had never seen anything like it before. But it happened.
He saw Johnny hit someone.
When Mike first started working with the teenage gorilla, he'll admit, he didn't think Johnny had a violent bone in his body; the gorilla was just so kind and polite, and willing to help anyone in anyway he could. Hell, the most 'physical' he got with anyone, was just picking Ash's ex-boyfriend Lance up off the ground, and tossing him outside because he had been getting on Ash's nerves trying to win her back; and even then, he checked to see if the male porcupine was okay, and apologized profusely.
But then there was now, when he just witnessed Johnny throw a punch at one of the bears that had been chasing him. And the reason why Johnny had hit him was because Mike was hiding in his jacket pocket, and the bears came at him.
"That was a big mistake," one of them growled, as Mike peeked his head out of the pocket to see the bear pull a knife.
"Johnny, run," he snapped at him. "I don't want you-"
Before he could finish his sentence, Mike saw the bear look right at him, and ducked back into Johnny's pocket; the bear jamming the five inch blade into Johnny's side in an attempt to kill him. But the blade missed Mike by a mere centimeter, and went straight into Johnny's side before the bear hit Johnny in the stomach, and threw him back a few feet into the middle of the street. Thankfully there weren't any cars on that particular street at night, or Johnny would have been dead.
God, I know I'm not a religious mouse. But please save this kid. he prayed silently, hearing Johnny struggle to breathe.
"Sorry to have to do this to you kid," the bear growled, Mike hearing a metallic click he could only recognize as a gun.
"No!" he yelled, squeezing his way out of the pocket, and leaping in front of Johnny. A hushed silence taking over the entire intersection, as the gun went off.
Bracing himself for both the pain, and the quick death; Mike felt the bullet zip past him, and just take off his hat before lodging itself into Johnny's chest. But because the gunshot was so loud on the otherwise empty intersection, it didn't take long for the cops to arrive.
"Johnny, I am so sorry," Mike said, as one of the two cops called for an ambulance, and back up.
"What happened?" the cop asked, trying to stop the bleeding from the bullet wound.
Giving the cop the honest story, and bringing up the fact that he owed the bears money, Mike felt his eyes water up, and struggled to keep from crying. Yeah, he was an arrogant bastard, but he never wanted Johnny to get hurt. That was why he told Johnny to run when he saw the knife. But here he was, trying to help the police officers, and pretty soon the paramedics, stop the bleeding, and keep Johnny awake.
Letting the paramedics take Johnny to the hospital, Mike finished giving his statement to the cops, and went home; seeing his girlfriend, Jewel, and immediately just breaking down into tears because he felt awful that he may have just gotten one of the greatest people he knew killed. And that was coming from him.
"Mike, what happened?" Jewel asked, helping him off the floor, and seeing his hands. "Why is there blood on your hands?"
Telling her everything that happened, Mike sobbed, and hugged her. Trying to remember a time where he felt this bad about someone he knew getting hurt because of him.
Yes, I did put Lance in this. But that was just for fun.
Everything seemed to move quickly, yet slowly around Johnny. Everywhere he looked, he either saw white, or other animals running around the room. None of them answering his questions at all.
"What's going on?" he asked, as the other animals cut apart his shirt. "Where am I? I want to see my dad."
"Count backwards from ten," a wolf said, putting a mask over his nose and mouth.
Ripping the mask off of his face, Johnny tried to sit up; but pain shot through his chest, and blood filled up his mouth, the doctors shoving him back down onto the bed, and sucking the blood out with a tube before replacing the mask on his face. Tears streaming from Johnny's eyes the entire time, as he started to shake.
"Get off of me!" he shouted, as they tied him down. "Let me go! I want to see my dad!"
"Turn up the dosage," the wolf from earlier said, getting Johnny tied down onto the table.
Hearing a soft squeak, Johnny tried to get out of his restraints, he wanted to see his dad;but his racing heart began slowing down, and beating loudly enough for him to hear it, his breathing becoming deeper, and more labored to say the least, as his eyes struggled to stay open.
"Okay, he's out," one of the doctors said, as he struggled to stay awake; the other doctors taking him off of the anesthesia, and switching him to oxygen. "Give me the scalpel."
Feeling a sharp, yet dull pain in his chest, Johnny laid his head back, and felt more tears spill from his eyes, as his breath hitched in a sob.
"Mike, I think your hands are clean enough," Jewel said, as Mike stood in the bathroom, with the water washing over his hands.
Shutting off the tap, she dried his hands, and gave him a hug.
It had been about two hours since Johnny had gotten rushed to the hospital, and Mike had come home crying. And since then, the gunshot was all over the news, although they didn't give Johnny's name out, and Mike had stopped crying; but now Mike wouldn't stop trembling, and blaming himself. And if he dared stay in Jewel's arms for more than ten seconds, he was back to being a puddle of tears.
"Mike, it's okay," she said, trying to get him to calm down. "It's not your fault. Johnny would have taken a bullet for anyone. Not just you."
"But he didn't take the bullet for me. He got shot because that damn bear didn't want any witnesses," Mike said, his voice breaking again, as Jewel gave him another hug.
"Stop blaming yourself," she said. "I know you feel awful about Johnny getting hurt by those bears. But sitting here, and bawling your eyes out over it, isn't going to fix anything. And I bet if you went to visit Johnny in the hospital, he'd tell you the exact same thing."
"I know," he said, wiping his eyes, and returning the hug; breathing in the scent of her perfume, as Ash kicked his door in. "Oh no."
"You asshole!" she yelled, grabbing Mike, and pinning him to the wall with her hand; pulling her phone out, and showing him a video someone had taken on their phone of Johnny getting hurt.
"Where'd you get that?" he asked.
"Lance sent it to me," she said. "You got Johnny shot."
"I know," he said. "And I'm sorry. I didn't know those bears were going to attack him like that. I told him to run, but-"
"Shut up!" she yelled at him, tears filling up her blue eyes. "This is your fault! If you didn't owe those bears money, none of this wouldn't have happened."
"You don't think I know that?" he said, feeling the tears roll down his face again. "You don't think I feel horrible for what happened to him tonight? For God's sake, at least I tried to help him after he got shot. All your ex-boyfriend did was record the entire thing, and probably put it online; he did nothing to help. So do me a favor and quit putting this on me. I know this is my fault, but sitting around and crying about it isn't going to change anything."
Feeling her let go of him to wipe her eyes, Mike dropped to the floor, and landed on the soft carpet of his room; wiping his eyes, as Jewel came over to see if he was okay.
"I really am sorry this had to happen," he said. "Trust me, if I could change things, I would."
"Come on," Jewel said, pulling him to his feet. "I think Johnny would want to see us when he wakes up. All of us."
Please be okay, Johnny, Rosita begged silently, as she finished putting the last of her piglets to sleep.
She really couldn't see why anyone would want to hurt Johnny. He was so kind, and friendly; and he loved to help her out with her kids: if he had a free moment, he'd personally set aside a few hours just to play with them, and let her have some time to herself and get some extra housework done. Someone as pure, and kind as him didn't deserve to be gunned down like that. And when she saw the video online, she felt sick to her stomach, knowing Johnny was really hurt, and her kids will soon see it too, should it be in the news at any point in the next week.
"Mommy," her son-Casper-said, sitting up on his bed to look at her. "Is Johnny going to 'go away for a little while'?"
Feeling her breath catch in her throat, Rosita knew he must have seen the video too, and tried not to cry in front of her son, as she walked over to him, and sat down next to him; giving him a hug, and a kiss on the head.
"No," she said, half lying because she didn't know whether or not Johnny would make it; but she wanted to stay positive. "Johnny's going to be okay?"
"Then why are you crying?" her daughter-Tess-asked, leaning over the top bunk to look at her mom.
"I'm not," she lied, trying to keep the tears at bay, as she gave her daughter a kiss too. "Both of you go to sleep. You have to be up for school in the morning."
"But it's Friday," Tess said.
"Bedtime," she said, tucking them both back in.
"Okay," Casper said, as Tess got down from her bed; the two of them giving Rosita a hug.
"Love you, Mom," they both said.
"I love you too," she said, trying her best not to let her voice crack, as she tucked them both in, and made sure the night light was on before she turned off the lights and went downstairs into the living room where Norman was fast asleep in his chair; turning on the TV, and still seeing the same news clip from before when they first reported on the gunshot. And like before, they didn't give out the name of the 'Local Talent' that got injured; they kept that part anonymous. But she knew that probably by tomorrow, everyone would have seen the video, and the video would have made it to the news for even more views, and everyone would be crowded outside of Johnny's hospital room wanting to know if he was okay.
"Norman," she whispered, waking up her husband to move him to their room. "You fell asleep on the chair again."
Moving her husband up to their bedroom, she got him changed, and gave him a kiss on the cheek; going back downstairs, and just staying glued to the TV, and her phone. Checking for any changes in the news before she texted Buster:
Rosita: You hear what happened to Johnny?
Buster: Yes, I was the one that called the police before he got shot. Mike, Ash and I are at the hospital now waiting on him.
Rosita: Is he going to be okay?
Buster: I don't know, he's still in surgery. But I'll keep you posted.
Rosita: Thank you.
Turning away from her phone, Rosita set it down beside her, and just broke down crying. As much as she wanted to be there with Buster, Mike, and Ash to see if Johnny will be okay; she couldn't just leave her kids. Especially when Norman was too heavy a sleeper to really tend to them.
Hearing her phone buzz on the table beside her, she picked it up, and saw another text, but this time from Mike.
Mike: Hey, I could use a pep talk. The anxiety with Johnny's killing me.
Rosita: Yeah, I know. I saw the video. How are you holding up?
Mike: Honestly, not very good. I feel awful for getting him hurt. Those bears were after me.
Rosita: Well, hopefully this teaches you not to make bets with people you can't pay back.
Mike: Oh, trust me. I learned my lesson. I just wish it wasn't this way.
"Mom," Rosita's other daughter-Tina-called from upstairs. "Jacob wet his bed again."
Rosita: I have to go. Keep your chin up, I doubt Johnny's going to be mad at you.
Putting her phone back down, Rosita wiped her eyes, and made sure she didn't look like she had just been crying before she got up to tend to her kids.
"I'm telling you, this bullet is not in there," the doctor said, as he looked around inside Johnny's chest for the bullet.
"Well, this bleeding has to be coming from somewhere genius," another one said, as the third doctor removed the knife from the teenage gorilla's side; his brown eyes holding the slightest touch of awe in how close the knife came to slicing open the kid's liver. Just by mere millimeters.
"Would you two shut up?" he snapped, setting the knife aside, and looking at the bullet wound; the heart monitor slowing down tremendously, as the cavity started to fill with blood quickly
"He's hemorrhaging," the second doctor said, as she scrambled to grab something to stop the bleeding; the heart monitor giving off one final beeping noise before flat lining.
"He's flat lining," the first one said, pressing down on Johnny's chest to try and get his heart going again.
When Johnny woke up, he was on a grassy hill; the warm sun shining on him, as he peeled his eyes open, and saw a female gorilla sitting above him. One he hadn't seen in years.
"M-Mom?" he asked, seeing the female gorilla smile at him, as he sat up. A smile creeping across his face, because he hadn't seen his mom in so long. "Mom!"
Hugging his mom, he felt her return the hug, and kiss his temple; tears rolling down his face, because for once, he could forget all of his troubles...But then he remembered that his mom died shortly after he was born. That was the reason why he lived with his dad in the first place.
"Everything's going to be okay, Johnny," she whispered to him. Other voices filling his head, as she gave him a kiss on the forehead. "You're home now."
"Come on, kid." a male voice grunted, as a weight kept getting pressed onto Johnny's chest. "Wake up."
"Is something wrong?" his mom asked him, her voice becoming faded and distorted, as the other voices became clearer. "Johnny?"
"Johnny," another female voice called, as everything around him went dark. "Johnny, can you hear me?"
Feeling air rush back into his lungs, Johnny gasped, and his eyes snapped open; quickly getting blinded by the operating lights in the room.
"We got him," another male voice said, more blood filling Johnny's mouth, as they once again put a tube in his mouth to suck out the blood.
"Glad to have you back," the first one said, breathing a sigh of relief.
Why do these things have to take so long? Buster thought, looking at his watch before he looked over at Ash, Mike, and Meena who were all sleeping beside him; Ash having her head resting on Meena's shoulder, while Mike had his head on his girlfriend's lap. It had now been six hours since Johnny got brought in, and they still weren't done. And judging by what the nurse had told him earlier when he asked, it was probably going to take all night.
Looking over at the sleeping animals beside him once more, he got up, and went to get some coffee; still seeing the damn news report on the TV screen.
"Excuse me," he called over to the nurse. "Is there anyway you can change the channel on that thing?"
"I'm sorry," the nurse said, looking away from his computer screen. "I can't."
Sighing in annoyance, Buster went down to the Emergency Room's entrance where there was a small vending machine that served coffee. Albeit, terrible coffee, but it was still something that would keep him awake. And with everyone else asleep, someone needed to be awake in case the doctors came looking for Johnny's family members; especially since Johnny's immediate family was behind bars.
Taking a sip from his coffee, he struggled not to gag at the awful taste, and forced it down his throat. But it still left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth, as he pulled his phone out to text Eddie.
Buster: Hey, you get a hold of Johnny's dad yet.
Eddie: No, the guards aren't letting me see him.
Buster: Well, you have to try something. Johnny's still in surgery, and you and I both know that the first person he'll want to see when he wakes up is him.
Eddie: I know. And by the way, don't worry about me, I came prepared.
Seeing Eddie send him a picture of him in football gear, it took everything in Buster's power not to laugh and spray coffee everywhere; because Eddie looked ridiculous to say the least.
Buster: Well, it's good that you're prepared. Good luck.
Chuckling at the picture again, Buster set his phone aside, and took another sip of his coffee. Only for his phone to buzz again, and see Eddie had sent him another text message
Eddie: Can you do it? I'm too scared.
Sighing in annoyance again, Buster called the prison, and asked to talk to Johnny's dad.
"Hey, Big Daddy," one of the guards called, coming into the gorilla's cell. "You have phone call."
"Who'd be calling us this late at night?" Barry asked, as Big Daddy got up, and followed the guard into the hallway where there was a phone hanging on the wall.
"Hello?" he asked.
"Hi, my name is Buster Moon," a voice said on the other end. "I work with Johnny down at the Moon theatre."
"I know who you are," he said. "What do you want? It's one in the morning."
"Johnny's been shot," Buster said, making Big Daddy's heart drop into his stomach, as his palms started to sweat.
"What?" he asked.
"He got shot," he repeated. "He's at the hospital now, and he's in surgery. I just thought I'd let you know because I don't think they'd tell you unless he died or something."
Feeling bile rise in his throat, Big Daddy swallowed hard to keep his food down, and punched the wall next to the phone hard enough that he left a huge hole in it.
"Tell me you're lying," he said, almost begging him to say it.
"If I did that, I would be lying," Buster said to him, his voice breaking slightly, as tears started to roll down Big Daddy's face. "I'm sorry you had to find out this way."
Slamming the phone down onto the receiver, Big Daddy hit his knees, and squeezed his eyes shut to prevent anyone from seeing his tears. Swearing that if he ever saw the animal who did this, he was going to unleash hell on them.
He wasn't sure when the guards had moved him back to his cell, because when he opened his eyes that was wear he was; but the second the door to the cell shut, he did what he had done before, and pulled the window loose.
"Boss, what are you doing?" Bob asked, as the mortar that held the brick around the window in place started to crumble away.
"Johnny's. In. The hospital," he grunted after every pull, the bricks sliding out from the crumbling mortar. "I need to see him."
Hearing the guards come bursting into the cell, he finally got the window out, and threw it at them like he did before; jumping out onto the top of an oncoming bus like he had done before; this time with Barry and Bob at his side.
"Sorry to have to do this to you kid," the bear's voice rang in Mike's head, as he once again stood at the intersection where Johnny got shot.
"No!" he shouted, jumping out of Johnny's jacket pocket, and diving in front of the gun to take the bullet. But just like before, the bullet missed him, and went right into Johnny; and the police weren't there, so Mike was the only one trying to stop the bleeding; which was impossible because of his small size.
"No," he muttered, seeing the blood drip from Johnny's mouth. "No. No. Johnny, please don't die. I'm so sorry. I didn't want you to get hurt."
Seeing Johnny's eyes start to slide shut, Mike panicked, and started to scream at him to wake up, and stay awake. But Johnny still slipped away, and the next thing he knew, he was in a cemetery, where Johnny's casket was being lowered into the ground. His dad crying while everyone else sang a farewell song, and Mike felt sick to his stomach just watching this.
"No," he muttered to himself, as he then found himself in an alley, surrounded by the bears, and Johnny's dad and uncles. "No, t-t-this isn't real. Johnny's going to be okay. He has to be."
"Mike..." Jewel's voice called. "Mike, wake up. You're having a nightmare."
Gasping, Mike snapped his eyes open, and sat up; looking around the hospital waiting room, and seeing some animals waiting to be looked at by a doctor, some walking around doin their jobs, and Ash and Meena sleeping beside him before he relaxed, and hugged his girlfriend.
"I know," she said, rubbing his back, as his tears soaked into her top. "Ash and Meena keep having them too."
"What's going on?" Meena asked, waking up from her sleep, and yawning hugely. "Is Johnny okay?"
"We don't know. He's still in surgery," Buster said, looking up at the TV again, and seeing the news report switch from Johnny getting shot, to one about his dad escaping from prison again. "Oh no."
"Marcus, why are we stopping here?" Barry asked, as Big Daddy broke down the door to the garage they used to work, and live out of.
"We can't go see Johnny wearing our prison outfits. They won't let us in," he said, going to change out of his clothes.
Pulling a shirt out of his closet, he heard something fall to the floor behind him, and looked down to see he had accidentally knocked over a box of photos Johnny's mom took of them when they first had him since his late wife was a photographer. His favorite one being not one that she took, but one that Bob had taken because it was the night Johnny was born. The one where he and his wife shared a kiss while Johnny slept in her arms.
~Flashback: 17 years ago~
Idiot. Idiot. Idiot! Big Daddy thought, as he ran through the long, winding halls of the hospital. Why'd that damn elephant have to keep me so late?
Running up to the front desk, he asked the nurse where his wife was, and ran straight there when she gave him the room number; his wife laying in a hospital bed, looking very exhausted, yet very relieved that she had managed to give birth to a healthy baby boy.
"Marcus, how long are you going to stand in the doorway? Come over here and meet your new son," she said, ushering him over.
Approaching the bed, he sat down on the chair beside her, and gently pushed the blue blanket away from his son's sleeping face. His eyes filling up with tears as the baby gorilla in his wife's arms opened his eyes, and looked at him.
"Hey buddy," he said softly to him, as the tiny animal gripped his finger. "Hi."
"You can hold him of you want to," his wife said, letting him take the baby from her so he could hold him; but the second he cradled his son against his chest, he started crying and wanting his mom back.
"Wow," Barry commented. "He was born an hour ago, and he already hates you."
"At what point did 'one at a time' mean you two could come in?" he asked his brother, the doctor who had delivered his son telling them to go in one at a time.
"You took too long," he said, as Bob met his new nephew. "So, what are you going to name him?"
Oh crap, he thought, having not thought of a name for his kid.
"I was thinking...Johnathan," his wife said, as Bob continued to dote on his nephew; Johnny starting to cry because he wanted his mom back. "Okay Bob, you're not supposed to hold him like that."
"Let me hold him," Barry said, reaching to hold his new nephew.
Grabbing his son before either of his brothers could do anything stupid, Marcus sat down next to his wife again, and let Johnny take a hold of his finger again.
"I like that name," he said, as his wife rubbed Johnny's back. "My little Johnny boy."
Kissing his new son on the head, he placed a kiss on his wife's lips, and saw the flash of the camera through his closed eyes. The flash startling Johnny, and making him wail.
"Bob!" they both yelled.
~End Flashback: Present Moment~
"Marcus," Barry called, shaking his brother's shoulder, and breaking Big Daddy out of his thoughts. "Come on, Bob's waiting in the truck. We have to go."
"Right," he said, getting changed, and slipping the photo in his hand into his pocket. Following his brother downstairs to their old getaway truck, and driving to the hospital; keeping an eye out for the cops, and making sure they didn't break any traffic laws that would get them pulled over.
Pulling up to the hospital's entrance, Big Daddy and Barry jumped out so Bob could park, and ran inside; immediately asking the nurse if Johnny was okay.
"Sir, your son is still in surgery. You need to take a seat," she said, pointing to the empty chairs behind her.
Sitting down on one of the chairs behind him, Big Daddy let out a heavy sigh, and tried to keep from crying; his leg shaking up and down, as Bob came in and joined them.
"Marcus, you're biting your nails again," Barry said, as his brother started to gnaw on his fingernails; an old nervous habit that Johnny had inherited from him since they both did it out of stress.
Wow, this is really eating away at him, Meena thought, not paying any attention to Johnny dad and uncles, but to Mike, who was gnawing on his shirt out of the anxiety that Johnny might not make it. Buster and Jewel going to get some coffee, and Ash still asleep beside her.
"Mike, stop doing that. You're going to chew a hole in your shirt," she said, pulling Mike's sleeve out of his mouth.
"Well, you can't expect me to keep calm when Johnny might die," he said, unaware that Big Daddy had heard him, and was already standing over him. "I can't even begin to think what his dad will do to me when he finds out. Do you have any idea what guys like him do to people like me when they find out I got their son shot"
"Uh...Mike," she said, staring right into Big Daddy's eyes as Big Daddy wrapped his hand around the white mouse, and squeezed him hard enough that Mike turned blue almost instantly.
"Can't...b-br-breathe..." he choked, trying to get out of Big Daddy's hold, as the angry gorilla brought him around to face him.
"You got him shot?!" he asked.
"I...didn't mean to...I need...air..." Mike gasped, his eyes about to pop out of his head before Big Daddy loosened his grip on him to let him breathe before squeezing him again.
"Um, s-sir. You're going to kill him," Meena said quietly, hiding behind her ears, as Big Daddy once again loosened his grip to let Mike breathe.
"Listen here buddy, either you tell me what happened. Or else I won't loosen my grip the next time," he said, as Mike panted. "Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sir," Mike squeaked.
"Good," he said. "Now, tell me what happened. And maybe I won't kill you off too."
"I owed some bears a lot of money, and they came after me. Johnny tried to fight them off, but things escalated, and he got hurt. I told him to run, but everything happened so quickly. I didn't mean to get him hurt, I swear."
"What were their names?" he asked.
"What are you? Nuts? I'm not telling you that. They already tried to kill me twice," he said. "You want me to tell you their names, you're going to have to do your worst to me."
"Okay, but you asked for it," Big Daddy said, before he whistled, and brought over Barry and Bob. "You two should know what to do."
Giving Mike to them, he let Barry take a wooden paddle that Bob had in his back pocket, and tied Mike to it; using him as a paddle ball, as Buster and Jewel came back.
"Where'd Mike go?" she asked.
"Right there," Meena and Big Daddy both said, as Mike continuously got hit with the paddle, and flung forward before the elastic string he was tied with rebounded, and brought him back.
"Okay, okay, I'll talk. Just make them stop," he called, making Barry stop hitting him with the paddle.
"Spill it," he said, as Mike shook away the dizziness he felt.
"Their names are Roscoe, Victor, and Yakov. They're a group of Russian bear mobsters. But good luck trying to find them, the cops arrested them earlier when Johnny got shot."
"Oh really?" Bob said. "Then our return to prison should be interesting."
"Can you please untie me now?" Mike said, Barry untying him, and putting him down next to Meena, who was trying not to giggle.
"What's so funny?" Big Daddy asked before he looked at Mike, and bit his tongue to keep from snorting back a laugh; because Mike had gotten so scared when Big Daddy got a hold of him that he peed himself, and there was an obvious stain on his pants.
"Uh, Mike. Honey," Jewel said, seeing her boyfriend's predicament. "You may want to look down."
Looking down to see why she said that, Mike saw what he had done, and covered the stain with his hat before darting off to the nearest bathroom.
Warning: This chapter has a flashback that contains major feels. You may cry. I am sorry.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Marcus, if you don't sit down now, you're going to wear a groove into the floor," Bob said, as Big Daddy paced the floor in the waiting room, waiting for any new news on Johnny. Because it was going on fourteen hours since Johnny was rushed in.
"Is he always like this?" Buster asked, looking over at Barry.
"Oh yeah," Barry responded, taking a sip from the coffee in his hand, and resisting the urge to gag. "And if you think this is bad. You should have seen him when Johnny had to get his appendix removed."
"Johnny?" a lion called out, making everyone jump to their feet, as Big Daddy stopped his pacing. Ash waking up from her slumber to join them. "Just his family please."
"We are his family," Buster said.
"Is he okay?" Ash asked.
"Can we see him?" Meena asked.
"Yes, right this way," the doctor said, leading everyone back to Johnny's hospital room, where he was hooked up to a bunch of wires and tubes keeping him alive, with a breathing mask over his mouth and nose.
"Is he going to be okay?" Ash asked.
"I can't tell for sure. He had a lot of internal damage from both the knife and the bullet. Especially after he tried to see you," the doctor said, nodding at Big Daddy. "And we had to revive him twice on the operating table. So we're going to have to keep a very close eye on him the rest of the night. But if he wakes up, just give me a call, and make sure he doesn't get up right away."
"Okay," Buster said, as Big Daddy sat down in one of the chairs next to Johnny's bed, pushing a piece of fur off of Johnny's face, as his heart monitor beeped steadily. Everyone else taking a seat elsewhere, and falling asleep because they had spent half of the night worrying about Johnny. And like clockwork, the cops showed up to take Big Daddy and his gang back to jail; but he didn't move.
"Ross, you can take us back when we know he's going to be okay," he said calmly to the officer standing beside him. "But for right now, we just want to be here for my son when he wakes up."
"You do know you're risking your freedom by doing this again," the rhinoceros prison guard said. "Don't you want to be there for your boy later on down the road? Actually with him, and not in a prison cell."
"Of course I do," he said. "All three of us do. And I am not resisting arrest. But I can't just leave him here with the possibility that he might die. I'll never forgive myself if he does."
Staring at Ross in silence for a few moments, Big Daddy relaxed when he breathed a defeated sigh, and pinched the bridge of his nose...or horn, or whatever.
"You know, you're going to make me lose my job for this," Ross said, a garbled voice coming through his walkie-talkie asking him if he had found them yet. "No sir, they're not here. But I'll keep watch outside."
Nodding in thanks to the prison guard, Big Daddy turned back to Johnny and took a hold of his hand; seeing a faint scar above his son's eyebrow from one of the times Johnny had fallen off his skateboard
Feeling his lips start to quiver, Big Daddy held in his tears, and kissed his son's forehead; still keeping a hold on his hand so that he knew he was still there with him.
"Please be okay Johnny," he whispered to him. "I don't want to lose you too."
~4 hours later~
When Bob woke up again, the sun was starting to come up, and Johnny was still asleep; snoring loudly enough to probably wake the entire floor, had the breathing mask not muffled the sound of it. The snoring being another trait he inherited from his dad, who was snoring just as loudly.
"Starting to turn into your dad more and more each day," he said out loud to himself, as he reached out and scratched Johnny's head; Johnny pressing his head against his uncle's palm because he liked having his head scratched.
Hearing the door open, he saw a different doctor enter, a wolf this time instead of a lion. And he looked a bit shocked to see so many animals in the room, including three escaped convicts.
"Security!" he called, bringing the cops back into the room to take away the three older gorillas. The wolf's call waking up everyone else.
"What's going on?" Barry asked, seeing the security guards coming into the room.
"What the hell?" Big Daddy said, as Ross grabbed his handcuffs, and mouthed 'I'm sorry' to him.
"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Mike asked, as the cops put the handcuffs on Johnny's dad, and pulled him out of his chair. "He's the kid's dad."
"He's an escaped convict," the doctor said.
"I'm not hurting anything," Big Daddy barked at him, as Ross shoved his head down.
"Marcus, it's best that you just keep your mouth shut, and just come back," he hissed at him. "Otherwise you may just ruin your chances to see him again."
Letting Ross take him, Barry, and Bob outside so they could wait for the police van to take them back to prison while everyone else argued with the doctor to let them stay, Marcus pulled his out of Ross's, and broke out of his cuffs so he could sit down on a bench nearby, and bury his face in his hands.
"Marcus," Barry said. "It'll be okay."
~Flashback: 17 years ago~
"Marcus Myers," a doctor called, making Marcus stand up from where he was sitting in the hospital waiting room; waiting to hear on his wife, Maya, who had collapsed at the house and stopped breathing almost twenty hours ago.
"Is she okay?" he asked.
"Sit back down, please," the lioness said, ushering for him to sit back down in his chair before sitting down next to him so they were at eye level with each other.
"Mr. Myers, what does your wife do for a living?"
"She's a photographer. She's been doing it since high school." he answered. "What does this have to do with why she collapsed. Can I see her?"
"Does she develop her photos by herself, or does she send them to someone?" the doctor asked.
"She develops them herself," he said. "Why are you asking me this? I want to see my wife."
"Mr. Myers, you have to calm down," she said, grabbing his arm to keep him from getting up.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Mr. Myers, you have to understand that the chemicals your wife has been using to develop her photos took a very heavy toll on her lungs. When she came in, her oxygen levels were low enough to kill her."
"She's going to be okay. Right?" Bob asked, holding a sleeping Johnny on his lap.
"I wish I could say that," the doctor said. "But because her oxygen levels were so low, her brain started to shut down, along with the rest of her body. We have her on oxygen now, but there's no telling how much longer she's going to last."
"Can we see her?" Marcus asked.
"Yes, go right ahead," she said.
"Bob, can you call Wilbur, and tell him to come in?" he asked, taking Johnny so Maya could see him.
"Sure thing," he said.
Following the doctor into Maya's hospital room, he saw a male lion, probably an intern at the hospital, put something into Maya's IV line to help with any pain she may be in, and sat down next to her bed; his wife wearing a blue hospital gown, and hooked up to all sorts of wires and tubes. And even though she had a breathing mask on, he could hear her struggling to breathe.
"We'll leave you two alone," the doctor said before she whistled sharply at the intern, and ushered him out of the room.
"Where's Johnny?" she asked, her voice muffled by the oxygen mask.
"Right here," he said, giving him to her. "He fell asleep waiting on you."
"My sweet boy," she said, taking her mask off to kiss Johnny on the head before replacing it again. "Has he been asleep...this entire time?"
"Bob's taken him home a few times," he said. "He's out in the waiting room trying to get a hold of your dad."
Hearing her start to cough, he took Johnny from her, and held her hand, as she used her free one to take her oxygen mask off again, and break down into a fit of coughs that left her even more winded than a moment ago before she sat up, and grabbed a basin that was next to her bed, and spat out a very icky looking yellow phlegm.
"I assume she already...told you I was dying..." she said, her voice a lot more weak this time, as she laid back down.
"Yeah," he said. "But I know you. You'll kick this thing in the butt, and you'll be back to normal in no time."
"Marcus," she said, coughing again. "My lungs...don't work. They haven't...since I was a kid. The...doctor said it was a miracle I didn't...end up like this sooner."
"But you've made it this far," he said. "You've made it far enough to marry me, have Johnny, make me one of the happiest men in the world. You're strong Maya."
"I know," she said, sitting up, and coughing out whatever was filling her lungs again. "But I'm not...afraid either Marcus...I've *cough cough* been like this before...and I'm not afraid anymore."
"But I am," he said, as she spat out more phlegm. "He needs you Maya, your father needs you...I need you. I don't want you to go."
"Marcus, I have to," she wheezed, putting her breathing mask back on, as Marcus starting crying. "If I hang on...my body's just going to...strain itself to...keep itself going. Johnny...will live in c-constant fear...that I'm going to end up like this again. Our...finances will be sky high...it's not worth it."
"But I don't want to lose you," he said, his voice cracking, as the tears ran down his face. "I can't lose you. You're the best thing that ever happened to me. You-"
"Keep you...grounded?" she asked, seeing him nod, and suppress a sob; because whenever he got upset, Johnny would know, and would immediately try to make him feel better. "Come here."
Leaning in a little closer to his wife, he watched her take her breathing mask off again so she could kiss him on the forehead before wiping away his tears.
"I know...you're scared Marcus..." she wheezed. "And I know...it'll hurt. But...I need you...and the others...to be strong for Johnny. I...I need you to keep him out of the gang business...Can you p-promise me that?"
"I promise," he whispered, feeling his lips start to tremble, as she gave him one last kiss before she settled back down.
"I...will always love you," she breathed. "Both of you."
~End Flashback: Present Moment~
"Marcus," Ross said, putting a hand on Big Daddy's shoulder. "Come on. We have to go."
Standing up from the bench, Marcus let him put another pair of cuffs on him, and went into the prison van without a fight. His lips quivering once again, as he slammed his head against the window, and just broke down. Because he had promised his wife years ago that he wouldn't try and put Johnny in the gang, and he broke that promise. And now he was going to lose Johnny too.
"Marcus," Bob said, trying to calm his brother down despite the fact that he was starting to cry too.
"Don't," he said, sniffling loudly. "Just don't."
Okay, hopefully I'll wake Johnny up next chapter. Depends on if I remember to do so. Also, just so you know; I made myself cry while writing the flashback. Not relevant, but if any of you who read it are crying too, I'm right there with you.
"Nice to have you back," the guard said, as Ross put Big Daddy and his brothers into their new cell; this one having no windows that he could grab a hold of, and break out. "Enjoy your new home. It'll be yours for the next ten years."
"Marcus, I am so sorry about this," Ross said, as Big Daddy sat down, and wiped away his tears.
"Hey, you three are in luck," another guard called from the hallway. "Right in time for breakfast."
"Come on," Barry said, patting him on the shoulder. "We should probably eat something. Keep our reputations afloat."
Wiping his face, Marcus shuffled behind his brothers instead of walking in front of them, and instead of getting a meal, he just sat down at their usual table because the smell of the food alone was enough to make him sick to his stomach.
"Hey Marcus," said Bruce a crocodile who was in there for assault. "How's your boy?"
"Don't ask him that," snapped Winston, a tiger who was in there for armed robbery, as he thumped Bruce on the back of the head
"How'd you know I broke out to see my son?" he asked, looking over at them.
"Some new guy was bragging that he shot a teenage gorilla last night just a minute ago," Winston said, as Barry and Bob came over. "And you said that you had a teenage son, so I could only assume. The guy sounded pretty full of himself."
"Who told you this?" Barry said, as three bears appeared behind him, and pushed him out of the seat.
"Hey!" Bob snapped.
"You're sitting at our table," one of them said, a thick Russian accent in his voice.
"This is not your table," Big Daddy said. "Only the toughest inmates can sit here, not newbies like you and your buddies. So either apologize to my brother, and beat it; or I'm beating your ass."
"Should we do something?" Bruce asked with a mouthful of food, as he and Winston watched the confrontation from a different table.
"Of course not you moron. No one gets between Big Daddy and his prey, that's suicide," Winston said, wiping the side of his mouth with his paw.
"You honestly think we would be afraid of you?" one of the bears scoffed. "Please. You and your brothers don't know what we're capable of. Just last night, I shot a gorilla just like you three. Kid had it coming too, punching Yakov in the face the way he did."
"Really?" Bob asked. "Don't you think that maybe this kid has a family that will miss him."
"Who would care?" the bear growled, getting in his face. "And what are you going to do about it?"
Standing up from the table, Big Daddy stuck his thumb and forefinger into his mouth, and whistled sharply enough to make the entire cafeteria go silent so they could look at him.
"Everybody clear out!" he roared, making everyone scramble to leave; leaving him, his brothers, and the three bears alone. The bears realizing the severity of the situation, as he stepped closer to them
"Let me make something clear," he said to Roscoe, the bear that asked the question, grabbing him by the front of his jumpsuit with one hand, and balling his free hand up into a fist. "I care if that gorilla you shot lives. Because that boy was my son, my flesh and blood, and my entire world...So know I feel absolutely no regrets, when I do this."
Seeing Big Daddy deliver a solid punch to the bear's jaw that left the brown haired mammal hunched over the table holding it, Winston winced, and looked over at Walter, another guard, who was standing there with a bag of peanuts.
"Aren't you going to do something to stop this?" he asked, taking an nut from the bag while he watched the brawl continue.
"Not without back up," he said, as Winston popped the peanut into his mouth. "Last time he got into a fight with an inmate he couldn't stare down, it took both his brothers, me, and five more guards to get him off the guy."
"So you're just going to let him do this?"
"Just until the boss man stops ripping Ross a new asshole for not bringing them in earlier," he said, eating a nut, as a crash sounded from the cafeteria that was so loud, everyone winced.
"That had to have hurt," Bruce said.
"Excuse me," Rosita said to the nurse, as she adjusted her purse on her shoulder. "I'm looking for-"
"Fourth floor, room 402, second door on the right hand side on the west wing, and good luck getting in; Dr. Mane had to throw out everyone who was in there earlier, and locked the door," the jaguar said, her eyes not leaving the computer screen, as she typed something into the keyboard.
"Thanks..." she said slowly, going up to what she hoped was the right room, and trying to open the door, only to find it locked.
"Excuse me," she said, stopping a lion as he walked over. "Dr....Wolfe, is there anyway you can get this door unlocked? My friend's in there, and I would like to see him."
"What?" Dr. Wolfe asked, trying the knob, and groaning in frustration. "And mom says me picking locks is a bad thing."
Watching Dr. Wolfe pick the lock with his claws, Rosita opened the door, and went in; seeing Johnny just starting to wake up.
"Hey," she said softly, as he moved to sit up; wincing sharply at the pain in his side. "Oh, don't sit up so fast."
"Here," the doctor said, using the remote that was next to Johnny's bed to raise up the bed so he wasn't straining himself. "How're you feeling?"
"Very drugged, and sore," Johnny slurred, as the doctor shined a light into his eyes. "Where's my dad?"
"He was here a few hours ago," Dr. Wolfe said, looking kind of confused.
"The nurse at the front desk said another doctor threw out everyone that was in here," Rosita said, seeing Dr. Wolfe's expression go from confused to annoyed.
"You must be talking about Dr. Mane," he said, checking Johnny's heartbeat with his stethoscope before wrapping it behind his neck again, and reaching for Johnny's breathing mask. "Johnny, I'm going to remove your breathing mask for a minute to see if you can breathe without it."
"Okay," he said.
Helping him take off the breathing mask, Johnny sat up a little bit straighter so he could press the stethoscope to his back, and flinched slightly because it was cold.
"Sorry, I know it's cold," he said. "Now, take a slow, deep breath."
Inhaling slowly, Johnny winced when the air entered his lungs, and exhaled; repeating the same thing when Dr. Wolfe moved his stethoscope to check his other lung.
"Well, your lungs are working just fine," he said, putting his stethoscope back around his neck, and checking Johnny's lymph nodes. "But given the damage done by both the bullet and the knife, it may take a while for it not to hurt when you breathe. So just take it slow."
"Okay," he said, laying back to relax, and closing his eyes; his mind giving him a flashback to what had happened the night before where Mike jumped in front of the gun, making him sit back up and open them again to look around the room. "Where's Mike? Is he okay?"
"He's fine," Rosita said. "I talked to him while you were still in surgery. He's a little shaken up, but he's alive."
"Thank goodness," Johnny breathed, relaxing into the bed again. "He jumped in front of the gun when I got shot. I was afraid he was dead."
"I can assure you he's fine," she said, pulling her phone out of her purse. "Do you want to talk to him?"
"Yeah," he said, sitting up, and letting her call Mike; putting her phone on speaker so they could both hear him.
Jewel woke up slowly to the sound of Mike's phone going off on his nightstand, making her elbow him in the hip.
"Answer your phone Mike," she yawned, rolling over to go back to sleep, as Mike sat up, and yawned.
"What do you want Rosita?" he asked, holding back another yawn.
"Just wanted to see how you were doing," a familiar cockney accent spoke, making Mike let out a sigh of relief before he fell back onto his bed.
"You have no idea, how badly you scared me back there kid," he said, crying happy tears now that he knew Johnny was going to be fine. "Welcome back."
I know I tagged this for Graphic Depictions of Violence, but what I had in store for the bears was a little too graphic. So I'll just leave the rest of what happened to them to your imagination. But don't worry, they got their asses handed to them.
"Oh, come on Lance," Becky said, as Lance sat in his hospital bed with his arms crossed, pouting. "It's not that bad."
"Not that bad?" Lance asked. "Becky, I got gored in the ass by an ibex. What can be worse than that?"
"The ibex's horn could have went up your asshole," Johnny said, looking over at the porcupines.
"I didn't ask you," Lance snapped.
"Well then next time, don't piss off an ibex that can easily take down a hippo," Lance's sister Astrid said, as she came into the room with a bag of donuts. "Here, I got you a raspberry cream."
"Thanks," he said, taking the bag from her. "Hey, can you do me a favor and close the curtain? I don't want to look at that gorilla's ugly mug."
"I think you'd be doing me a bigger favor in not letting me see yours," Johnny said.
"Hey!" Lance yelled, as Astrid closed the curtain that separated their beds. A rhino police officer coming in to speak with Johnny.
"Hello Johnny," he said. "My name's Ross. I work with the local police department."
"It's nice to meet you," Johnny said, reaching out to shake the police officer's hand. "What can I help you with?"
"I'm here to get your statement on what happened last night. We already have your friend Mike's, but we need yours so we can have more evidence against the bears."
"Okay," he said.
Giving Ross his statement, Johnny tried to piece together what had happened since he was having a bit of trouble wrapping his brain around the fact that he nearly died. And Ross was patient with him, which he was thankful for since while he was trying to wrap his brain around that he got shot, he had almost had a stress induced breakdown twice, and Ross would gently tell him it was okay, and to take his time.
"Okay, I should have enough evidence," he said once Johnny finished giving his statement, and standing up to leave.
"Um, Officer Ross..." Johnny said, stopping the rhinoceros from leaving. "If it's not too much trouble. Would you mind talking to the warden at the corrections facility? I'd like to see my dad."
Looking down at Johnny, and seeing the anxious look in his eyes; Ross sighed, and sat back down to talk to him.
"Johnny," he said. "I'm sorry, but...when your dad found out you were hurt, he broke out again. And they extended his sentence."
"What?" Johnny asked. "By how long?"
"At least ten years," he said. "And I tried to persuade them into reducing it; but they're refusing, and it's starting to sound like they aren't going to let you two see each other anytime soon either."
"That's bullshit," Lance said from the other side of the curtain.
"Lance, shut up," Astrid said.
"I'm sorry you had to find out like this," Ross said, as he stood back up. "I'll tell him you're okay, and see if I can get them to lessen the sentence. But I doubt I'll be able to do anything."
"Okay," Johnny said, trying to hold back his tears, as Ross left; Lance peeking his head around the curtain to look at Johnny.
"You okay?" he asked, seeing Johnny's eyes fill with tears.
"Leave me alone," he said, his voice breaking before he just broke down completely.
"Mr. Moon, don't you think you should lay down for a while?" Ms. Crawly asked, as Buster looked through the papers on his desk. "You've had a long night."
"I'll sleep when I find out a way to pay for Johnny's hospital bills," Buster said, rubbing his eyes.
"I think Eddie has it covered," Ms. Crawly said.
"I got it," Buster said, snapping his fingers, as his phone rang. "A charity concert. Hello?...He is?...Oh, thank god. I was so worried. Hey, how do you feel about a charity concert to help pay for his hospital bills?...But Rosita, you know what he'll say if we wait...Okay, fine. Thanks for the call."
"Is Johnny okay?" Ms. Crawly asked.
"Yeah, he woke up," Buster said, hanging up the phone, and dialing another number. "Hey Ash, I know you're probably trying to sleep. But-"
"Mr. Moon, go to bed before I put you in the hospital with Johnny," Ash said before hanging up on him.
"Next contestant," he said, dialing Gunter's number since Gunter couldn't say no.
"Nana please," Eddie begged. "You have to do something. Johnny was already pushing himself to get his dad and uncles out before he got shot, when he finds out their sentence was extended, he'll push himself harder and get himself sick, or worse."
"Edward, you have to try harder than that to convince me to get those three out of jail," Nana said, as she adjusted her headband with her hoof. "Give me another reason."
"You'll be spending less than what you did on the theatre," Eddie said.
"Not good enough," Nana said, making Eddie groan, and pinch the bridge of his nose.
"Nana, come on," he said. "You know my parents aren't going to post their bail. And Johnny works for us on Saturdays."
"I heard," Nana said. "And what's this I hear about him stealing money from you guys?"
"I slipped him an extra ten and dad freaked out," he said, shaking his head to get back on topic. "But that's not the point. The point is-"
"Don't go repeating yourself Edward," she said, cutting him off.
"Look," Eddie said, taking a deep breath to keep from snapping. "His family is the one thing that keeps him going. If he finds out that their sentences were extended, he's just going to blame himself, and push himself harder. Or come to you like I am now."
Sighing, Nana looked at her grandson's reflection in the mirror, and stared for a good two minutes; pondering whether or not to post Big Daddy's bail. Because on one hand, she wouldn't gain anything from it; and there were no promises that Big Daddy wouldn't revert to his old criminal ways. But on the other hand, she couldn't let someone like Johnny push himself just to fix what he felt he did wrong when in reality he did nothing wrong at all. Because Eddie was right, Johnny had been pushing himself to post his father's bail: working two jobs; his dad's auto shop, and cleaning Eddie's pool on weekends, and juggling school, rehearsals, and piano lessons on top of that. And she didn't want Johnny pushing himself like that, because it would put him right back in the hospital.
"Okay," she sighed. "I'll think about it."
Unfortunately this is the last chapter in the story. But never fear, I will write a sequel...eventually.