Thirty-Five

Teddy didn’t call.

Julian didn’t know why he’d expected him to. After all that…But there was no sense in worrying about it. Julian had the very real stress of wondering if his results would come back positive or not. He felt keenly aware of his failing health, body beaten down. He couldn’t find the positivity he’d been trying to hold onto. He’d allowed himself to have hope that maybe there was a way out of this after all, a way that he never had to worry about cancer again, but Teddy had shut him down.

Julian knew he had every right to be mad at him. And yet, a part of him felt horribly guilty. Teddy’s stricken face when he’d thrown the amethyst chain at him haunted Julian’s thoughts every time he closed his eyes. He’d even convinced himself that if Teddy just called, he’d apologize to him. They could work this out, he knew it. But so far nothing.

Julian groaned, burying his heated face into his pillow. His heart was aching—but it was a different ache from the ache that pervaded every cell of his body; it was longing, and a knot of worry that was tightening every minute settled heavily in his gut. He couldn’t explain the knot. There was no reason to worry about Teddy. He wasn’t the one dying in a hospital every minute. And yet…

Julian worried. He knew something was wrong. Usually, Teddy would have at least tried to call. Even if it was just to insult him or tell him off for his behavior, he should have called. But he didn’t.

And Julian wasn’t really sure what to do with that.

*

 

Remission.

Julian could hardly believe it. The results had come back and he was free of cancer cells in his bone marrow. He still had to stay in the hospital for another week or so, mostly to build up his immune system before sending him out into the world, and he’d need regular blood transfusions, too. And of course, it would be back. Maybe in a few months, maybe in several years, but it would be back and he’d have to do this all over again.

Right now, though, he was officially cancer free and that was something; that was incredible. He knew he should feel happy—and he was—but there was something missing.

The two people he wanted to share this moment with the most weren’t there. He’d bitten the bullet and tried Teddy, and when he didn’t answer, he’d called Grey. No response—could it be that Teddy had told Grey how he’d reacted and now they were both angry at him?

Julian had never felt so alone. He wished he’d never found out; he wished that he’d stuck to his beliefs; he wished he’d never found that stupid hollow book or the picture with the golden-eyed man; he wished he hadn’t handed his silver necklace to Ulfric, who he now realized must have also been a werewolf. He wished a lot of things, but most of all, he wished he still had his best friends.

*

By day three, Julian was feeling antsy. It was hard staying in the hospital when he knew he was technically cancer free. He wanted to head back to the apartment he shared with Teddy, wanted to punch him for not even answering his calls so they could talk about this, wanted to beg both Teddy and Grey to forgive him and promise to ignore their supernatural lives from now on; he wanted things to be how they used to be.

But he knew that it was a fool’s hope. He’d hurt Teddy, and by extension, he hurt Grey. He knew they had a right to be mad at him. Who was he to demand they include him in everything? Who was he to demand something from them that he understood so little about? He should have asked questions first; he should have asked how it worked, what the drawbacks were, what it really meant, before demanding it. He should have been kinder when Teddy told him he didn’t want that life for him. Julian was still upset that Teddy would prefer him dead than him being a werewolf, but he should have at least asked why rather than flying off the handle. If he could go back, he would change everything. He was cancer free now; it was less pressing, less necessary, in hindsight.

His phone rang.

Julian thought he imagined it at first. He’d spent three days praying for this to happen, waiting for some sign that his friends might forgive him. Now that it was here, he found himself questioning whether he was actually hearing it or if he was just hallucinating. Did he have another fever?

It rang again.

Julian scrambled to grab it, saw Grey’s name appear on the screen, and answered the call. “Grey, thank god. I wanted to apologize…“

“Jules,” Grey said, and she was crying. Why was she crying? They’d all shared their fair amount of tears over the years, but this was the first time he was hearing it over the phone rather than in person; the first time he couldn’t pull her in his arms when he sensed she was hurting.

“What’s going on? Are you okay?” Julian asked, forgetting his own train of thought in the light of the far more serious problem of a crying Grey.

“It’s Teddy…” Grey said, and her voice broke.

Julian felt his heart turn to a block of ice. “What happened to Teddy?” he asked. His voice sounded very far away.

“He’s hurt, really bad, and I don’t…I don’t know what to do. We’re doing everything we can but it’s not enough. We can’t take him to a hospital because…”

Because he’s not human, Julian’s thoughts supplied. “I know,” Julian said, not wanting to talk about that over the phone.

“We had a doctor, one who knew about…about everything, but he’s dead now—god everyone’s dead—and…’

“Shh, Grey, shh,” Julian cut her off. He knew there was a lot more that needed to be said, but now wasn’t the time. Not when Teddy’s life was hanging in the balance. “I might know someone who can help.”

Grey quieted immediately, the surprise stifling her tears. “Really? Who?” she asked finally.

“There’s this nurse—Ariana—and she’s the one who helped me find out about werewolves. She’s no doctor, but maybe she can help. I’ll talk to her, see if she’s willing. Maybe she can help direct you to the medicine you’ll need to help Teddy.” Julian didn’t know if she could help; he also didn’t know if she’d be willing. But if there was even the slightest chance to do something for Teddy, to make up—even in some small way—for how he’d reacted, he would do it.

“Thank you, Jules,” Grey said, and her sincere gratitude made Julian’s insides warm marginally.

Just then, almost as if sensing that she was the topic of conversation, Ariana came in. “Good afternoon Jules—Oh, you’re on the phone. I can come back later if you’d like?”

“No, Ariana—Grey, here she is,” Julian covered the mouthpiece of the phone temporarily so he could properly talk to Ariana. “Listen, we need your help. A friend of mine—one with a certain monthly condition—is hurt. They need someone with medical knowledge, someone that can help him without exposing him, you know, and I know this is crazy and it’s not in your job description but if you could just look at him and get some medicine for him, I would be forever in your debt.”

Ariana looked taken aback, her face vacant of expression, then she shook herself out of it. “Hand me the phone,” she said. “I’ll do everything I can.”

Julian handed her the phone.

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