Ethan stared at the vase of flowers on the table across from his hospital bed. He stared so intently that he figured, any second now, they would burst into flames. The card that stuck out of the bright, mismatched blooms mocked him from a distance.

'I'm sorry. ~Jesse'

Not 'Get Well Soon' or 'Merry Christmas' or 'Looking forward to banging you the moment you're well again'. Okay, maybe that last one would have been a stretch for Jesse anyway, but no. All the note said was that Jesse was sorry, and Ethan felt his arms begin to tremble with rage.

Four years. Four fucking years of being together and two little words sent Jesse running like ravenous wolves were on his heels. Two words had fucked up his relationship – no, make that his entire life. Sure, he hadn't been the most healthy of guys since his last year of high school, but these two words had been Death incarnate.

'Transplant Required.'

Just like that, everything changed. His friends didn't bother consoling him after the first month. Hell, no one had visited for weeks now. No one except his boyfriend to tell him that it was just too much to deal with. Too much for his healthy ass to deal with? Try dealing with being so weak you can't walk yourself to the damn bathroom. Try having tubes shoved up your holes so you suddenly have no control over your bodily functions but piss into some bag tied to the bed you stay in 24/7. Try dealing with endless rounds of painkillers and anti-nausea meds along with daily dialysis treatments. And it was too fucking much for Jesse to deal with?

Kidney failure at age twenty-six! If this were some sick awards show, he'd have his absent, runaway father's genetics to thank for this shit. The trend had started before he'd been born. No one stayed—his father, his mom who died in a car crash, his fickle friends, and Jesse. One week until Christmas, and he knew he probably wouldn't live that long. The doctors tried to reassure him that all it would take is some accident on a turnpike, and they'd find a perfect donor.

Bullshit. This wasn't John Q. There was no perfect donor, not for him at the bottom of the donor list.

One week until Christmas, and he was going to die alone.

It hurt. It hurt that he got more compassion from the nurse who checked his vitals every hour than the man who had stuck with him through his mom's death three years ago. It hurt so much that it pissed him off, and as he stared at those flowers across from him, he forgot all about whatever hospital decorum he should have.

He snatched up his water glass from the bedside table, gathered his strength, and screamed as he threw it. He saw the vase break, the bright, cheerful flowers scattering with a splash of water. He saw the note fall out of sight beyond the edge of his hospital bed, and then his vision blurred with tears.

It didn't matter that he'd just made a shitload of work for his nurses. It didn't matter that he'd probably just sped up the decline of his kidneys. Nothing mattered anymore, and that's what he would tell the psychologists when they questioned him for screaming until the nurses rushed in. That's what he would tell them when they asked why he fought to escape until they'd been forced to sedate him.

Turn off the fucking machines that were keeping him in this hell.

Nothing mattered.

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