Since Jon had been admitted to the hospital, Jimmy Fallon had temporarily moved in with Stephen to help him pay rent and eventually, Jon’s medical bills. Hopefully not his funeral bills. But Jon’s bills would be high. Jimmy did feel bad about leaving Steve behind, but that was just life now.
In most ways, life wasn’t the same without Jon. But the friends couldn’t keep sitting around, waiting for him to wake up from his coma. At some point, they had to move on. And there was no longer a risk of them getting Meningitis themselves, but it served as a cautionary tale for them to go to the doctor immediately, though for some, it bordered on paranoia.
Shep Smith was not one of the paranoid people. He was at CNN headquarters, where he worked for Anderson Cooper. Formerly an intern, now bumped up to reporter. And he loved it. Yet doing this and keeping up with his duties as editor of the campus paper proved difficult.
“How’s your friend, Smith?”
“Oh. Um...” Shep didn’t know how to react at being asked a question by the Anderson Cooper. It never got old for him. “Yes.”
Shep cursed internally. Anderson hadn’t asked him a 'yes or no' question. “Sorry. I’m a bit distracted. The Rebels lost on Saturday.” Not a lie. “Yeah, Jon is... well, last I heard, he’s still in a coma. No change.”
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that.” Anderson said. “How’d you feel about covering President Sanders’ New York visit?”
“Oh my god. That is... such an opportunity. Yes!” Shep nodded enthusiastically. “Yes!”
“Good. Great.” Anderson said. “I look forward to your report.” With that, he walked off, leaving Shep alone in the corridor.
Shep wasn’t totally alone. People still walked past, up and down, but Shep felt alone. He still had an essay to put in by the end of the week, write a good story for the paper and file this report for Anderson Cooper. The Anderson Cooper. Holy shit.
Almost at that exact moment, his phone buzzed in his pocket, then his really loud ringtone began blaring; Cheeseburger in Paradise, by fellow Mississippian Jimmy Buffett.
Shep chuckled awkwardly as people stared and he tried to turn down the volume and answer his phone.
“Shepard! What’s going on?” The voice on the other end of the phone said. And Shep knew exactly who it was.
“Dammit, Colbert.” Shep said. “You have to go back to your life at some point.”
“So go.” Shep said. “I’m working.”
Shep pinched the bridge of his nose. “I just got in, actually. And now I’m going out on assignment for Anderson Cooper-yeah, the Anderson Cooper. While writing a two thousand word essay that has to be in by Friday and I also gotta get a story for the paper this week-and bring it all together. I haven’t got the time for this.”
“I’m so lonely.” Stephen said.
“I know.” Shep said. “I know you miss Jon-“
“I see him every day.”
“He’s in a coma.” Shep pointed out. “He can’t talk back. Why’d you have to tell the doctors y’all were engaged? That was some dumbass thing to do.”
“Because friends aren’t allowed in the ICU.” Stephen explained. "It's family only."
“Yeah, I know that, I just-“ Shep stopped abruptly. “Look, I’m gonna have to go now. Just... take care until I get off work, right?” He ended the call.
In his apartment, Stephen sighed. He knew he would have to get back to his life, but despite only knowing Jon for three years, he couldn’t remember life without him. Jon was his best friend, his brother. How could he be expected to live a normal life when Jon wasn’t there with him?
He was lonely. Yeah, Jimmy had moved in to pay the rent, but Jimmy was out working, leaving Stephen alone in his apartment. Jimmy would be gone until five, then he’d be right back out again by seven to do stand-up.
Stephen had called all of his friends; they were all busy. All fourteen of them. Yeah. Their sympathy and patience were running low, but Jon was still really sick. Just because he hadn’t died yet, doesn’t mean he still couldn’t. And that was all Stephen could think about. Jon’s death. Jon being ill. Whatever disabilities Jon would end up with after this.
He picked himself up off the sofa, put his phone in his jeans pocket and prepared to leave his apartment to see Jon in the hospital, like he did every day.
“Stefon, I know it’s not what you’re usually used to-“
“Seth Meyers. We’re at a Starbucks, not at public toilets.”
“That would be a horrible place for a date.” Seth admitted.
“Not if you know the right people.” Stefon said.
Seth said nothing, even though his stomach turned at the thought of what Stefon was suggesting. If he was thinking what Stefon was thinking. After all, they didn’t usually think of the same things.
“So. What does your cup say?” Seth asked. “How did they mess up your name?”
Stefon picked his cup up and examined it. “Apparently my name is ‘Techno’ now.”
Seth stifled a giggle. “And I’m Ziff.” He said. “The funny thing is, Techno actually suits you.”
“And Ziff suits you too.” Stefon said. “Ziff Meyers. I can get used to that.”
“Techno Zolesky has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?” Seth smiled.
“Not as nice as Techno Zolesky-Meyers would sound.”
“Come on, Stefon. We’re twenty-one-“
“You’re twenty-one. I’m twenty.” Stefon corrected.
“Still, more of a reason for us to just be living our lives now, while we’re young.”
“Seth Meyers, you do know I already have a son, right?”
Seth Meyers did not know that. The news took him by surprise, in the same way a punch to the gut would have. All joy was instantly sapped from his body and his blood ran cold. Why would Stefon not have told him this? “Y-you... You’re a-a father?” Seth asked. “But you take so much drugs and go clubbing and-“
“His name’s Vlad and I had him with a Russian prostitute.” Stefon said with a straight face.
Seth paled. Stefon was serious. He tried to speak, but all that came out was a noise, resembling a cat being strangled (Or someone who had seen Infinity War and was trying not to tell anyone the ending).
“I’m just kidding, Seth Meyers. About the Russian prostitute thing. My name isn’t Donald Trump.”
“Oh. Ha ha.” Seth said, unconvincingly.
“I’m not kidding about the son.” Stefon said. “It was in 2018, before I knew I was gay. Though I think I knew then, really. But there was a lot of partying in them years. Anyway, his name is Noah.”
“2018... you would have been-“
“Fifteen, Seth Meyers. I was fifteen.”
“My god.” Seth blinked, not knowing what else to say.
“Noah is nearly five.”
“The... Noah’s mother?”
“Went to study in Montana or something.” Stefon shrugged.
“Did she take Noah with her?” Seth asked. “Do you ever see him?”
Stefon shook his head. “No. Noah lives here. In New York. With his grandma. And I don’t see him often. Only Wednesdays.”
Seth nodded. Now it made sense where Stefon went on Wednesday evenings and came back still sober.
“Seth Meyers,” Stefon began, “if we were to have a kid together, he would be raised Jewish, right?”
“Stefon...” Seth inhaled deeply. “Stefon. I’m not having any kids with you. For starters, we’re both men. Biologically speaking, we would need a woman to have a kid. Same goes for lesbians. Well, they’d need a man.”
“So let’s find some lesbians.”
“Stefon!” Seth shook his head in incredulity. “We’re men! We like other men-“
“Actually, Seth Meyers, you like both.”
“That doesn’t mean lesbians would.” Seth pointed out. “Lesbians like other women.”
“Hey, Shep!” Kimmel shouted.
Shep turned his head away. “I... don’t know him.” He muttered to his cameraman.
“Shep! Come on! It’s me! Jimmy Kimmel!”
“I’ve never met him before in my life.” Shep said.
Kimmel practically ran over to Shep and his cameraman. “Come on, you can’t have amnesia or whatever-“
“James, I’m working.” Shep said.
“If that’s the way you want it... David.” Kimmel shrugged.
“Hey, never call me that!” Shep snapped.
“But that is your name, isn’t it?” Kimmel asked.
“If we’re getting technical, Jimmy isn’t your name.” Shep said. “Now go away.”
“Why don’t you have time for me-“
“Because I’m working, Jimmy!” Shep pointed to his cameraman. “By the way, he’s Jason.”
“Hey.” Jason the cameraman greeted.
“Hey.” Kimmel greeted.
“Jason and I are here to cover the President’s visit.”
“And I’m here to see the President.”
“Great. Good for you. Now leave me work.”
“I still can’t believe you work for CNN.” Kimmel said. “Like... you’re an openly gay man from a racially segregated town in Mississippi that hates the gays-“
“Ninety percent wrong.” Shep interrupted.
“And yet you work for Anderson Vanderbilt-“
“Yeah, but his mother’s Gloria Vanderbilt though.” Kimmel said. “That makes him a Vanderbilt. Probably only got his job because of her.”
“Well... he’s a good journalist too.” Shep said. “Now I’d kindly appreciate it if you went to see President Sanders and left me alone to report on it, because that is the thing I literally get paid to do.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Kimmel nodded. “Bye then, Shep. Oh and Jason.”
Kimmel walked away, over to his much smaller, much more Hispanic roommate, Guillermo. “He didn’t want to know me. Prick.”
“Why? What did he say?” Guillermo asked.
“That he was working.” Kimmel said. “Covering the President’s rally.”
“Then he was working. And covering the President’s rally.” Guillermo said.
“Yeah, but he didn’t even say 'hi'.” Kimmel sighed dejectedly.
“If he was working, like he said he was, then he was busy.” Guillermo pointed out.
“He was just standing there.” Kimmel said.
“He’s a reporter. They just stand there. It’s their job.”
“Yeah. I don’t know.”
“Just forget about it. Enjoy the President.” Guillermo said. “He isn’t Trump.”
“No, actually, that’s really true.” Kimmel agreed. “Let’s enjoy the rally.”
Over at the hospital, Stephen took his regular place in the chair at Jon’s bedside. “Hey, Jon.” Stephen said, not looking at his friend. “I’m here. It’s okay.” He took a few breaths, staring at the floor. He turned his head to look at Jon and put his hands on his knees.
“God. I... I don’t even know what to say any more.” He said. “Why’d you have to leave me all alone, Jon?” He turned his head slightly to see Jon, who was lying on the bed, unmoving, with those same IVs in his hands and his neck, the same blood pressure cuff on his arm, the same wires stuck to him, monitoring his heart, the same...
Stephen frowned and took a closer look at Jon. Jon had had a tracheotomy. Now he was wearing an oxygen mask? Did that mean he was... getting better? Stephen was afraid to hope.
“So an asexual and a pansexual walk into a bar-“
“I’m not in the mood for one of your jokes today, John.” Jessica said.
“Why?” John asked. “What’s wrong?”
“I...” Jessica shrugged. “I’m just not in the mood.”
“There has to be something.” John said. “Is it because of the Presidential election coming up?”
“It’s in a year and a half.” Jessica said.
“But they’re campaigning now.” John pointed out. “You know, I really don’t understand that. In Britain, they wait and wait and wait and then aggressively campaign for about two months and then people vote.”
“Maybe it’s because Britain’s a smaller country.” Jessica suggested half heartedly.
“Maybe.” John nodded. “Look, Jess, you’re my friend and I’d like to think you can tell me if anything’s going on-“
“I don’t think I want to be here any more.” Jessica blurted out.
“I don’t like university.” Jessica said. “I didn’t wanna let my mom down, so I went to university, but I realise that... it’s really not for me.”
“But you don’t have to-“
“I’d be disappointing my Mom if I didn’t.” Jessica sighed. “I don’t know what to do, John.”
John inhaled sharply. “Well, I may know of someone who you can talk to.” He said. “It may have to wait a few hours, but he really understands what you’re feeling.”
“How may I help you?” Jimmy asked. He was working the customer service desk at the Disney Store.
“Yes... Jimmy.” The customer said. “I bought this Marvel Select Thanos action figure and I’m very disappointed in it.”
“Is it defective in any way?” Jimmy asked. “We can offer a refund or an exchange-“
“I don’t like the height compared to my other Thanos.” The customer said. “It doesn’t have the same height as the Marvel Legends Thanos figure.”
“I’m sorry, but if it’s not defective-“
“It’s defective to me!” The customer hissed. “Now you’ll take this figure back and offer me a refund.”
“I can’t do that, Sir-“
The customer shoved the figure and its box into Jimmy’s arms. “You can and you fucking well will.”
“Sir, can you please not swear, you’re in the Disney Store and there are children present-“
“Look, Jimmy, I don’t give a rats ass if there are children present, you will take this fucking toy and give me my goddamn money back!”
Jimmy looked around for someone, anyone else. “Julian!” He said in relief. “Look after this ‘gentleman’ for me, I’m going to go see Claude.”
Julian nodded and swapped places with Jimmy behind the counter.
Jimmy moved and looked for an escape.
“Sam, don’t do that!” Jimmy snapped. “Wait, what are you and Jason doing in Midtown?”
“Sightseeing, Fallon.” Jason said. “We didn’t all grow up in Brooklyn.”
“We had no idea you worked in a Disney Store.” Sam said. “On Broadway.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Sam.” Jimmy said.
“What Sam means is, why the Times Square Disney Store?” Jason said.
“Well... I mean, it was either here or the Footlocker on 35th Street.” Jimmy said. “I applied almost everywhere, but the Footlocker and the Disney Store were the only places that accepted. So I took the Disney Store thinking it would be magical. Or at least more magical than a Footlocker. I was wrong.”
“Don’t they have any other Disney Stores in New York?” Jason asked.
“Yeah, they have one in Queens.” Jimmy said. “But we live in Manhattan. So Queens is a bit of a no-go.”
“Does Stephen know you work in the Disney Store?”
“I didn’t tell him.” Jimmy said. “And he’s too wrapped up in Jon being sick to notice.”
“Fallon!” A voice called out.
“We can see you’re busy.” Sam said.
“Yeah, we’ll just leave you now and go and see our Wicked.” Jason said.
“You’re going to see Wicked?” Jimmy asked. He was actually very jealous. The rest of his afternoon would consist of nothing but getting shouted at by customers, colleagues, bosses, Stephen and hecklers.
“We’re going to see Wicked.” Sam confirmed.
“Well... bye.” Sam said.
“Good luck with the...” Jason said, gesturing around.
Left alone, Jimmy groaned again and went off to try and find his boss.
Stephen was still sitting in the uncomfortable plastic chair next to Jon’s bed, reading the newspaper. Jon’s mother had come and gone. She had been there for at least three hours, but had to go to work. If anything, it was testament to how long Stephen had been there. He had only moved to go to the toilet. His stomach was grumbling. He had to get food. But he was afraid of leaving Jon. He’d let everything suffer for fear of leaving Jon-or more accurately, a fear of losing Jon.
Stephen had had enough death in his life, his relatively short life. He had only lived twenty years, two decades. But death and despair seemed to follow him wherever he went. He was miserable before he met Jon-so miserable he was, in fact, on Prozac-but Jon... there was something about him that could naturally lift Stephen’s spirits.
And now Jon was gone. And Stephen felt miserable again. Though it might have been a combination of fear of losing Jon and reading out the newspaper. Why did the Middle East have to be so complicated?
Stephen lowered the paper and took a look at his friend. He studied the rise and fall of his chest, that was now actually his own, rather than it being some machine doing it for him. He tried to convince himself that Jon wouldn’t die. Jon’s mother had said that Jon had been improving and that was the evidence.
Stephen stood up and looked down at the floor, almost feeling guilty for what he was about to say. “I’m going to go now. I... have to eat.”
As he prepared to leave, he heard something that he absolutely wasn’t expecting to.
He looked around for the speaker of the hoarse voice and saw only Jon, looking back at him with half lidded eyes.
“Jon?” Stephen didn’t dare hope. He was dreaming. Or hallucinating. He already had a history of mental illness, what was wrong with adding psychosis to that list?
Jon brought his hand up to his neck, covering the gauze where the tracheotomy tube had once been. “Stephen.” He croaked. “Stay.”
“This is...” Stephen breathed heavily. “You’re really okay? How long have you been awake?”
Jon put three fingers up. “Days.”
“You have no idea how happy I am right now.” Stephen felt like crying. But not for the same reason as earlier.
Jon simply smiled.
“I would have stayed yesterday if I’d known.” Stephen said. “Does your mom know you’re out of your coma? Why didn’t she tell me?”
Jon nodded. Then he gave a small shrug. He brought his hand back up to the gauze pad covering his stoma. “Don’t know.”
“I’m so happy you’re okay. You... you were ill for a long time, Jon. You’re still in intensive care.” Stephen reached over and put his hand on Jon’s. “I thought I would be burying you. I... couldn’t do that. Not again, Jon. Not you.” He gave a quick squeeze on Jon’s hand. “Maybe we are like Conan and Andy. But maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. I’m so sorry I never told you how much you mean to me before you got sick.”
“Stephen.” Jon said.
“Jon... for a long time before I met you, I was numb. Numb to a lot of things. Everything. My heart was beating and that was the only way I could tell I was alive-“
“Then you came into my life and changed it for the better. I laughed, I cried, I learned, I did things I wouldn’t do, I enjoyed my life again. What I’m trying to say, Jon, is I... I love you.”
“Not in a romantic way, I mean, like a brother. I love you like I love my brothers-“
“I know.” Jon said.
Jon nodded with a small smile on his face. “Some things...” he began, trying to ignore the ticking feeling in his throat, telling him he needed to cough. “Don’t need... to be said.”
Stephen simply nodded and then flinched as Jon went into a full blown coughing fit. A nearby nurse rushed over to help him.
“I guess... I’ll be leaving now. For food.” Stephen said.
Despite his awful coughing fit, Jon gave a thumbs up.
Stephen walked right out of the ICU and walked the way to the cafeteria-he knew his way around this hospital like the back of his hand now. On his way, he took out his phone and sent a mass text to everyone, updating them on Jon’s status.
“So do you think I could maybe... meet Noah someday?” Seth asked.
“Well... I would have to go through Noah’s grandma. And you have to understand that I want Noah to have some stability.” Stefon said.
Seth nodded. “Of course. Can’t... be bringing, like, Valium or whatever to your son.”
Stefon gave Seth a funny look. “I take a lot worse than anti-anxiety medication, Seth Meyers.”
“Is that what Valium is?” Seth asked. “I always thought it was, like, a horse tranquilliser or something.”
Stefon tried to suppress his laughter and brought his hands to his face.
“What’s so funny?” Seth asked.
Stefon moved his hands down slightly. He was still trying to fight the laughter. “You are, Seth, honey. Oh. I have to tell Gayvid Tennant about this later.”
“And Gayvid Tennant is...?” Seth prompted.
“Nobody you need to concern yourself with, Seth Meyers.” Stefon giggled.
Seth and Stefon’s phones buzzed at the same time and they both shot each other curious glances.
Seth took his phone from his pocket first. “It’s from Stephen Colbert.” He said. “Jon’s awake.”
In Conan and Andy’s Dorm:
“No, see, that’s Hawkeye.” Conan said.
“You can’t just say any old man with a bow and arrow is Hawkeye!” Andy complained.
“Dude, we’re watching Civil War! Hawkeye’s actually in this!” Conan said incredulously. “You just saw him when he went to pick up Scarlet Witch.”
“What if it’s the Green Arrow?” Andy asked.
“Green Arrow is DC-wow, you are just so poor at recognising superheroes.” Conan shook his head.
“A superhero’s a superhero.” Andy shrugged. “Why should I really care?”
“Because we’re trying to catch up so I can take you to see the latest Marvel release.” Conan said.
“Take Stephen, he’s into that crap.” Andy said.
“Stephen’s either going to be at Jon’s bedside in that hospital, or he’s going to mourning Jon’s death and for his sake, I hope it’s not the latter.” Conan said.
“But Jon’s our friend too.” Andy pointed out.
“Nobody’s closer to Jon than Stephen.” Conan pointed out. “Not even Jon’s own brothers.”
“That is true.” Andy agreed. “So who’s this guy?” He asked, pointing to a man clad in black and wearing a black cat mask.
“That’s Black Panther.” Conan said as his phone buzzed on the coffee table. “He’s-“
“Hang on, I just got a text.” Andy said, reaching into his pocket for his phone.
Conan swiped his phone from the coffee table and read the latest text. “I don’t believe it.”
“What?” Andy asked, still trying to free his phone from his back pocket.
“Speak of the devil... Jon’s awake.” Conan said. “I gotta make some calls.”
In the Disney Store:
“Yes, how may I help you?” Jimmy asked. He was desperately trying to smile and hide the fact that he was basically dead inside.
“I want to return this remote control car from Cars. It’s defective.”
“How is it defective, Ma’am?” Jimmy asked. He made a mental note to slit his throat later when Stephen was out.
“It doesn’t work.” The woman said. “I tried turning the car and the remote on, but neither work and the car won’t go. It’s upsetting my son.”
Jimmy took the car from the woman and examined it. “Have you put the batteries in?”
“Batteries? What batteries? It’s a remote control car, they don’t need batteries.” The woman said.
“Yyyyes they do.” Jimmy snapped open the battery port to show the woman. “You didn’t put the batteries in the car.”
“How did I know it was supposed to have batteries?” The woman snapped.
‘Probably because the box said batteries not included’, Jimmy felt like saying, but but his tongue. “Just get some batteries, Ma’am, and it should work fine.”
The woman snatched the toy from Jimmy and walked away in a huff as Jimmy’s manager came from the back room.
“Fallon, you’ve had an urgent call from a Conan O’Brien regarding someone named Jon Stewart.”
“Oh sh...oot.” Jimmy grimaced as the worst possible scenario floated through his head. The worst possible scenario in this case being Jon’s death. Jimmy slowly followed his boss into the break room.
His boss gestured for him to take the phone and gingerly, Jimmy reached out for it and held the receiver to his ear. “He-hello? Conan?”
In the Gershwin Theatre:
“I can’t believe it.” Sam exclaimed. “That was such an awesome-you know I get why people come here now.”
“For Defying Gravity?” Jason asked.
“Defying Gravity is the best song so far.” Sam said. “Right. I’m gonna go pee.” She said standing up.
Jason stood up as well. “Yeah, me too.” He said.
They both manoeuvred their way through the seats and into the aisle, where they went their separate ways.
Sam went to the ladies bathroom, only to find an extremely long line. She took her phone from her jeans pocket and turned it on, figuring she could play a little bit of Candy Crush.
The text she saw when she’d booted up her phone turned her blood ice cold and she ran to find Jason at the men’s room.
“Jason!” She said, loudly. “Jason!”
“What?” He asked. “What is it?”
“This.” Sam thrust her phone into Jason’s hand.
Jason read the next over and over, but it wasn’t sinking in. Suddenly, his eyes widened and his hand flew to his mouth. “Holy shit.”
“I know, right?” Sam said.
“What do we do?” Jason asked.
“Once this show is over, we’ve gotta get down to the hospital.” Sam said.
“I can’t believe it.” Jason shook his head. “Jon’s awake.”
At Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Rally:
The President was talking. People were cheering, including Kimmel and Guillermo.
Kimmel suddenly felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and reached for it.
“Your phone?” Guillermo asked.
Kimmel nodded. “I don’t wanna be like... rude to President Sanders. But I do wanna see what the text is about. What if it’s important? What if it’s my parents cutting me off?”
“They won’t do that.” Guillermo said.
“You don’t know my parents.” Kimmel took his phone from his pocket and looked at the text. He stared at it before he took off running.
“Jimmy! Jimmy wait!” Guillermo called after him.
“Shep!” Kimmel shouted. “Shep!”
“And as you can see-“ Shep looked over his shoulder when he heard his name. “Oh no. This guy.”
“Shep, Jon’s awake!” Kimmel said excitedly.
“Jimmy, I’m broadcasting live here.” Shep said.
“Oh.” Kimmel said. He took Shep’s microphone. “Hey, Mom and Dad!”
Shep wrestled his microphone back. “Go away, Jimmy.”
“But Jon’s awake from his coma, don’t you care?” Kimmel asked.
“I care, but you’re interrupting my paid work.” Shep said. “Which I also care about.”
“Sorry, Shep. He escaped me.” Guillermo said, catching up.
“Oh for...” Shep gritted his teeth. “Another one. Jake, I’m sorry.”
“I got it.” Guillermo took Kimmel’s arm and pulled him away.
“Thanks, Guillermo.” Shep said. “Well,” he looked behind him. “President Sanders is still talking behind me and he’s saying...” he looked into the camera and shook his head. “I’m sorry, Jake. I-I gotta go.” He handed the microphone to Jason the cameraman and ran to join Kimmel and Guillermo.
“Shep, you care!” Kimmel said.
“Yeah, I care.” Shep said. “I think I probably just lost my job, but let’s just... get to the hospital. Jon’s awake.”
At the student bar:
“Jess. I’m sure your mother will be understanding of you wanting to switch majors.” John said. “It’s not like she had this major lined up for you, after all.”
“I... guess.” Jessica sighed. “Look, I don’t wanna talk about it any more.” She said. “Can we talk about something else?”
“Yeah. Sure.” John nodded. “How about the weather?”
“You Brits sure love to talk about the weather.” Jessica smiled.
“What can I say? I’m British.” John said. “And we Brits don’t like to disappoint either.”
“John-“ Almost at that exact moment, a mooing sound came from under the table.
“I just... I had a text. That’s my text alert.” John said.
“Aren’t you going to answer it?” Jessica asked. “What if it’s important?”
“Why would it be so important?” John asked.
“It might be from Amazon, telling you that they’ve broken into your house to dump your parcel inside-“
“Well, I don’t have a house and I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon.” John said. “I think I’m clear.”
“Well, it might be from your mother.” Jessica suggested. “And you’re here, in New York and she’s all the way back home in England.”
“Fine, I’ll look at it.” John stood up and retrieved his phone from his pocket. He pressed his finger to it to unlock it and the first text he received popped up on the screen. He simply stared at it.
After around half a minute, Jessica frowned slightly in concern. “John? Are you okay?”
“It’s Jon Stewart.” John said.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry.” Jessica blurted out.
In the Political Science lecture:
Trevor had felt his phone buzz silently in his back pocket. He had to get it out to look at it, his Generation Z instinct was overriding his survival instinct and telling him to. He looked at his notes and up at his professor, who was writing something down on the board.
Trevor decided now would be the time to get his phone from his pocket. He stood up slightly and quickly wiggled his phone from his back pocket. When his professor turned around again, Trevor picked up his pen and tried to copy what he has written down on the board, while under the desk, he was fiddling with his phone.
“Mr Noah.” The professor called out, causing Trevor to nearly jump out of his seat. “You know the rules.”
“What rules, Sir?” Trevor asked, trying to sound as innocent as possible.
“No cell phones in my class.”
“I-I wasn’t looking at my phone, Sir, I was copying my notes.”
“If I catch anyone using a cell phone in my class, I will not hesitate to confiscate it and you will get it back at the end of the lecture, do I make myself clear?”
Trevor wasn’t listening. He was reading his text. His eyes widened and he quickly stood up. He grabbed his backpack and his coat.
“Mr Noah, where are you going?”
“Sorry, Sir, there’s been an emergency.” Trevor said, swiping his notebook. “I have to go.” He pushed past some other students and ran for the door, leaving behind his pen, his sandwich and his headphones.
But that wasn’t the important thing here. The important thing was that Jon was awake.
At the hospital:
Trevor had made it to the hospital and found his way to the ICU. After asking about his friend, Jon Leibowitz, he was directed to the waiting room, where just about everyone else was also waiting. That was, everyone except Sam and Jason and Jimmy Fallon.
“Stephen-“ Trevor began.
“Jon’s awake.” Stephen said. “I talked to him. He talked to me.”
“But Jon has a tracheotomy-he had a breathing tube jammed in his neck. He wouldn’t be able to talk.” Seth said.
“Unless he had it taken out.” Amy said.
“I thought those kinds of things were usually, like, permanent.” Stefon said.
“Yeah.” Seth nodded in agreement.
“Well, quadriplegics can talk.” Kimmel said. “Why shouldn’t Jon be able to? If he’s awake, I mean.”
“The tube is out.” Stephen confirmed.
“But is the hole still there?” Seth asked.
Stephen nodded. “It hasn’t healed yet.”
“It’s always going be there, like a pierced ear.” Stefon said.
“It’s going to heal. Jon didn’t have his trachea pierced!” Stephen said indignantly.
“Can you imagine that though?” Kimmel said. “That would be really weird.”
“Ignore them, Stephen, what did Jon say?” Amy asked.
“Nothing.” Stephen said. “But I think I maybe declared my love for him.”
“But... I didn’t think you were gay.” Stefon said. “It’s like a thing we gay guys have, we know when other guys are gay-“
“Ignore him, he’s lying.” Shep said. “I don’t have that feeling.”
“That’s because you’re repressed.” Stefon said.
“Hey! I am not repressed!” Shep snarled.
“Guys! This is a hospital!” Jessica said. “Chill the eff out!”
Fallon walked into the room. “Wow, you could cut the tension in here with a knife.”
Everyone turned to look at him.
“You work in the Disney Store?” Seth asked.
“Uh...” Fallon looked down and saw he was still wearing his Disney Store uniform. “No, this is... for a... thing.”
“Your name tag says 'Jimmy'.” Trevor pointed out.
Fallon shrugged. “I borrowed it from a guy called Jimmy.”
“Jimmy F.” Trevor said.
“Jimmy, uh, Franklin.”
“Your name is also Jimmy F.” John said. “And that uniform looks like a perfect fit for you. Also Sam texted me to tell me that you were working at the Disney Store in Times Square.”
“... I got nothing.” Fallon said, shaking his head.
“Aw, Jimmy Fallon, you work at the Disney Store!” Stefon exclaimed. “Can you get me a Cinderella doll?”
“Why Cinderella?” Fallon asked.
“Because all she wanted to do was party. She’s just like me.” Stefon said with a smile.
Fallon opened his mouth to say something, but after looking over at Seth, who shook his head, he decided not to.
“Is that a yes or a no?” Stefon asked.
“It’s a maybe.” Fallon said. He turned to Stephen. “So what happened to Jon? He just open his eyes or something?”
“That never happens in comas.” Stephen muttered. “No, I don’t know how he woke up, because he’s been awake for a few days now. But we were talking-“
“Jon was talking?!” Fallon exclaimed.
“And I think I told him I loved him.” Stephen said. “But I’m straight. I’m definitely straight.”
“You may be straight,” Conan began, “but you do love him. I can tell. It's like I love Andy.”
“Where is Andy?” Fallon asked.
“Getting a coffee.” Conan replied. “He figured we’d be here a while.”
“You know,” Trevor began, “I kind of wasn’t expecting Jon to wake up. I just figured he’d be in a coma forever. I hoped he would get better, I mean our DnD campaigns aren’t the same without Jon’s wizard-“
“We haven’t even continued our DnD campaign since Jon got ill.” Stephen said. “As the Dungeonmaster, I would know.”
“Well, it wouldn’t be the same without Jon and his wizard anyway.” Kimmel said. “I get what Trevor means.”
“You’re just jealous of Jon’s wizard because you have a stupid gnome.” Fallon said.
“Hey! There’s nothing wrong with Arkady! At least I didn’t choose a dumb ass elf.” Kimmel muttered under his breath.
“He’s right, you know.” Amy said. “I have a powerful paladin-way more powerful than your little elf druid.”
“In your dreams.” Fallon said.
“Guys, we’re still in a hospital.” Jessica said. “We’re here for Jon.”
“Yes! What’s happening with Jon?” Conan asked.
“You said he was talking, what’s he like?” Amy asked.
“Is he still Jon?” Kimmel asked.
After that, voices started to overlap with everyone bombarding Stephen with questions.
“Guys!” Stephen said loudly. “He’s awake, his voice is real hoarse and yeah... I would say he’s still Jon. He’s got the same smile, the same face, the same dark brown, greying hair and the same piercing blue eyes... that I never thought I’d see again.”
“So gay.” Stefon muttered.
Seth hissed a shushing noise in Stefon’s ear.
“I never thought I’d hear his voice again.” Stephen said.
“It’s been the same for all of us.” Fallon said. “I took a job at the Disney Store and Shep’s lost so much weight he’s been that worried-“
“Actually, I think it’s stress.” Shep said.
“Yeah, and you’ve got the dark eye circles too.” Kimmel said, pointing under Shep's eyes.
“Alright." Shep swatted Jimmy's fingers away/ "I’m aware I’m tired and I'm stressed, just leave me alone.” he grunted. “I’m probably spending too much time sleeping these days. But if I need to, I guess I’m gonna.”
“Hey, that’s not good, man.” Kimmel said. “I’ll give you the number of my narcolepsy doctor and maybe he can do something to help you.”
“I don’t have narcolepsy, Jimmy.” Shep said.
“Well...” Kimmel shrugged. “You might.”
“This isn’t even about me. This is about Jon!” Shep said.
“Yeah. Jon.” Amy nodded.
“He’s touched us all.” Seth said.
“I can’t imagine my life without him.” Fallon said.
“We wouldn’t be friends without him.” Conan said.
“Yeah. Yeah!” Trevor agreed. “We probably wouldn’t know each other. And we would have no friends.”
“It would be the Darkest Timeline if Jon had died.” Jessica said.
“Life would be very different without Jon.” John agreed. “But even if Jon had died, we still would have his influence, just as we all do now. But if he had never been born... that would truly be the Darkest Timeline.”
“I...” Stephen inhaled deeply. “I’m so happy he’s better. I don’t know what I’d do without him. I don’t know what any of us would do without him.”