"Hey." Virgil knocked on the door lightly to get his brother’s attention. When Gordon glanced over and met his eyes Virgil smiled and made his way into the room.
It was a different room than where he was when they had first saw him. That had been in a scanning room—they had let them come and see him after the doctors were sure they had taken care of everything they could.
This room was covered with a warm wood all the way around, the grayish bed and equipment that surrounded Gordon was stark in contrast.
The monitor above him jumped silently with his heartbeat and oxygen levels. A metal tree was next to him with a bag of fluids hanging from it, attached to a tube, which was attached to a machine to dose out pain killers before traveling to his arm and the needle embedded there.
"Did you bring snacks?" Gordon’s voice was still raspy and a little weak. With his injuries it was going to be painful for him to breath, let alone speak, for quite some time.
"Well, probably not what you were expecting." Virgil held up a cup that had clearly come from the nearby gas station. "Doctor said he doesn’t want you eating anything solid till they can get you sitting up more. So, I brought you an ICEE. I had them make you a rainbow. We have cherry, blueberry, orange, and lemon."
"Anything’s better than plain ol’ crushed ice." Gordon tried to chuckle, but winced instead.
Virgil couldn’t help the frown but tried to cover it up by turning to grab a nearby chair. He sat down and pulled himself up as close as he could to the bed. "Alright, which flavor do you want first?"
"All. It needs to all be in my mouth right now."
Virgil cracked a small smile and took a small scoop of the flavored ice and let it slide into Gordon’s mouth.
"Mmm." Gordon closed his eyes and savored the flavor as it melted.
"So, get any sleep while I was gone?" Virgil took a bite of the ice himself.
Gordon swallowed and then glanced over at his brother. "Nah. Too uncomfortable."
"I can imagine. You in any pain?" He fed his brother another scoop of ice.
It took a moment for Gordon to answer as he let the ice melt in his mouth. "A little, but they’re giving me some good stuff." He glanced up to the bag hanging next to him.
Virgil grunted a little.
"Did they tell you everything?" Gordon met his brother’s eyes.
Virgil was about to feed him another scoop of ice, but put it back in the cup. "Yeah."
"Mind telling me? I think they did, but I wasn’t quite in the right mind to understand."
Virgil took a deep breath. It wasn’t like Gordon wasn’t aware of how bad off he was. He was sure Gordon knew exactly what was wrong, but there was a difference in just knowing and being told—having that justification of what your body was telling you.
"Ice first. More cherry if you please." Gordon tried a small smile, but it was minuscule at the best.
Virgil took a scoop of the red ice and brought it to his brother’s mouth. "Well, from bottom to top: Your left leg is fine, obviously—might be sore, though."
"Definitely sore. More ice."
"As for your right leg, you broke your fibula and cracked your tibia. Tore a few ligaments in your knee—any idea how it happened?"
"I think my foot got caught on something. Ice please, and keep going."
Virgil took in a deep breath, he didn’t really like doing this, but kept going anyways. "Left arm, minor tear on your UCL, and a torn muscle in the shoulder."
"None of the tears are that bad, they’re hoping they’ll mend on their own. But that means rest. A lot of rest."
"No arguments here. Ice me. Blueberry this time."
Virgil spooned the blue ice onto Gordon’s already multicolored tongue. "Left arm. Mostly undamaged, though you hit something hard enough it gouged you pretty deep without tearing your suit. I think they said it was about an inch long and a half inch deep."
"Ah, that’s what that is."
"What do you mean?"
"My arm hurt, but I didn’t know why." Gordon took in a shallow breath, his eyes not quite all the way open.
"Maybe you should rest a bit." Virgil moved to put the cup of ice on the side table.
"No, keep going. And more ice. It’s good."
Virgil shook his head a little. "Here, have some purple."
"The cherry and blueberry have mixed together."
"Ah, my favorite." Gordon took the bite and hummed in appreciation. It was silent for a moment as Gordon sucked on the watery ice before swallowing it. "Keep going, please."
Virgil nodded. "Torso. Three broken ribs, one cracked."
"Don’t I know it." Another chuckle escaped followed by a small hiss of pain.
"Gordon, you really should try and rest."
"Keep going and keep the ice coming."
"Torso, continued." Virgil sighed and spooned more ice into his mouth. "You have a couple of cracked disks in your lower back. Not currently affecting your spinal cord but one reason for the neck brace, and the compression band around your waist. Which is not helping the ribs much."
"Those ribs are fine, the broken ones are higher up."
"Then why aren’t you breathing deeper?"
"I don’t wanna."
"Do you want me to get Scott in here?"
"How about Alan? He’s basically a mini Scott."
"You’ve got Alan wrapped around your little finger. He’d do almost anything for you."
"Just almost? Man, gotta work on that."
Virgil couldn’t stop the chuckle. It was good to see his brother’s humor was still there.
"More ice and then I think we’re on the head."
"You haven’t breathed yet." Virgil was still smiling as he gave him a very meaningful glare.
Gordon let out a small sigh and closed his eyes. He took in a few shallow breaths and then braced himself as he took in a lung full of air, visibly expanding his chest. He held the breath fo a micro-second and then the air burst out of him with a moan and a small whine.
"Next time try and let it out just as slowly."
"I’d like to see you try it with three broken ribs."
"And one cracked one."
"Yes, sir." Virgil smirked as he spooned some now fully mixed half melted ice into his brother’s mouth.
"Head." Gordon murmured around the ice.
"Right. Concussion for sure, very little swelling and no bleeding that they’ve noticed, but they want to keep an eye on you for a few days at least. Several cuts along the back of the head and side. You put your helmet on right away didn’t you?"
"Tried to. Got knocked out of my hand when the first rocks hit Four. Cockpit was already filling up with water by the time I was able to get down and grab it. Got it on just before I was completely smashed. I think at least."
Virgil wasn’t looking at his brother anymore but at the cup on his hand. They were so close to losing him today, all for a robot. Virgil was starting to think they should have just silenced the signal and left him down there.
His thoughts were cut off when a hand softly touched his. He relaxed his hold on the cup—a moment later and he’d been covered with multicolored ice and water. He set the cup down and took his brother’s hand.
"I’m going to be fine, Virgil."
"I know. I just—"
"It could have been any of us. We’re just lucky it was me. I have the thickest head of us all."
Virgil’s smile was small and weak.
"If the Chaos Crew hadn’t been there—"
"But they were, and I don’t regret any of the actions I took in response."
"You were pretty slick out there."
"Always am." Gordon smiled and squeezed Virgil’s hand a little. "Now for the big question."
Virgil seemed to get jolted from his thoughts and looked blankly at his brother for a moment. "Oh, The Hood got away, but we did save Braman."
"That’s good, but not what I was talking about."
Virgil’s eyes scrunched together."
"My bird. How bad is she?"
"Ah." Virgil had all but forgotten about the little yellow sub. "She’s still sitting under that chimney rock."
"Still? Come on, Virg. What’s taking so long? We had her up quicker when she was at the bottom of the Mariana Trench."
"And her pilot wasn’t being rushed to a hospital with weak life signs either."
"Alright, that’s fair." A beat of silence. "So, when—"
Virgil let out a sigh and rolled his eyes. He couldn’t blame him, he’d probably be just as bad if it were him in Gordon’s spot. "Scott and Alan are going out in a bit to get her."
"Use some balloons and then drag her out with the pods. Nothing fancy. Though it’s going to take a bit more than some welding to get her back together again I think."
"Is Brains mad?"
"Wha?—Why would Brains be mad?"
"Cause I’m always damaging Four in one way or another."
"Gordon, he’s fine. This wasn’t your fault. He’s been busy with the data we got from the Calypso."
"Ah, that’s good." Gordon let out a weak sigh again, his eyes looking even heavier than before.
"Get some sleep Gordon. I’ll be here."
Virgil stood and walked over to the mini-fridge that sat in the corner of the room and placed the cup in the even smaller freezer—it wouldn’t freeze it but it might make it into slush again. He then made his way back over to the bed and sat down. Gordon seemed to have drifted off into a light sleep, his chest rising and falling ever so slightly.
He settled himself in his chair, content to watch his brother’s chest, to make sure it didn’t stop for any reason when his communicator beeped to life.
"Scott, Virgil, John, Alan. Brains has discovered something in the Calypso’s code—"