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Hospital Lights

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Guide couldn’t find Tanai. While everyone had been fussing over Runway, Tanai included, a nurse came up to him and said he needed to be checked too. He let himself be pulled away, but that was a while ago. It’s been 10 minutes since Guide had gotten an update from the nurses that the doctor was still working on Runway. He had been looking for Tanai ever since.

Guide found him outside, pacing back and forth so furiously that he had created a faint mudpath on the grass. His hair was a mess and his hand was lightly bandaged. Normally, the state of him would’ve worried Guide enough to keep him inside, but with Runway still being treated, worrying was constant. He pushed the door open.

“P'Tanai,” Guide called. Tanai’s head moved just a fraction towards him, but that’s it. He made another turn and kept pacing. Guide closed the door behind him. He walked towards Tanai, his arm already outstretched, but the moment he made contact with Tanai, he jumped back and away from Guide.

“Could you stop pacing? If you go on any longer, the hospital might bill us for damaging the grass.”

Unaffected by the quip, Tanai stayed silent. He looked right through Guide.

Guide didn’t like how he looked. Tanai’s movements were stiff, like it was too much for him to move.

“Come inside,” Guide said.

Tanai paused and then shook his head. “I can’t be in there and see Runway’s mom. It’s too much.”

“Then I’ll stay out here with you.”

“I’m fine. Runway’s the one on a hospital bed.”

“You have to take care of yourself too.”

“This is my fault.”

“P’Nai…” Guide said, worry lacing his voice.

“If I had avoided the van, if I had made sure he was wearing his helmet properly, if you had taken him home instea-”

Guide lurched forward, and before Tanai could even jump away again, he grabbed him by the shoulders. “Stop it. Stop.”

But Tanai was still drowning in his guilt. “He wouldn’t be-”

Guide put his hands on either side of Tanai’s face, and leaned forward so that their foreheads were touching. Tanai was still breathing heavily, and he wasn’t quite looking at him.

“Stop. Look at me.”

Tanai’s eyes darted up to him. They almost darted back away, but Guide spoke up again. “That’s it. Just look at me first,” Guide said, his voice so quiet it was almost a whisper. It made Guide feel like they were the only people in this whole hospital. Maybe Tanai felt the same way, cause he started to calm down.

His breath slowed. Tension was leaving his body. Tanai’s face was warm in his hands, and Guide could feel the whole thing happening. Once he was convinced that Tanai would listen to him, he pulled his head away and positioned it so that Tanai would be looking straight at him.

“You’re a victim in this too, remember that. You were only trying to get him back home. Runway is inside being taken care of the best he can be.”

“I can’t help it,” Tanai said, his voice defeated.

Guide’s heart twisted a little, but that’s not what matters now. One of his hands moved to rub up and down Tanai’s arm.

“I know. But it won’t help anyone for you to be like this. Runway wouldn’t want you to blame yourself either. Let’s go somewhere inside. Yim is with Runway’s mom. You can continue to feel guilty but do it where I can keep an eye on you.” Tanai hesitated. It was Guide’s turn to be vulnerable. “Please don’t make me have to worry about you too,” his voice shook.

At this, Tanai looked up. He took a moment to really look at Guide. “Okay,” he said finally. “I can do that at least.”

Guide heaved a sigh of relief, his eyes closing for a second. Then he composed himself. He cleared his throat, and pulled his hands away from Tanai. He turned around, but after a beat, he felt Tanai’s hand grabbing his.

He must’ve needed more comforting than he thought. Without even thinking about it, Guide tightened his grip, and they both walked forwards back into the hospital.