Life had been a whirlwind the last few days. The last few weeks, actually, if Team was honest with himself. Win returned from England five months ago and about three months ago they decided that living in Team’s cramped condo not really meant for two was a challenge, so they started hunting for a home together. A real, actual house. Not a dorm, not an apartment, not a condo, but a home. They spent two months searching for houses and deciding on the perfect area to live in. The number of spreadsheets and documents Win had put together honestly boggled the mind, but Team kind of fell more in love with him in the process. Win was definitely the more detail oriented of the two of them, and sometimes it was Team’s job to pull him back from it just a little bit. To remind him to look at the big picture as well as the little things.
They had to first decide on an area, one that was a good distance between Win’s job with his family’s company, the pool where Team practiced swimming, the homes of their friends and was in a nice neighborhood. Once they did that, budgets were next, because even though Win was more than able to pay for both of them, Team insisted on contributing an equal amount. Professional swimming had afforded him a pretty decent paycheck, which was often boosted by the tournaments he won and deals with brand sponsors. Win always helped him decide which sponsors to sign with and which ones to turn down, protecting his personal interests. Team really did love that man, for so many reasons.
He smiled as he briskly walked down the street, thinking back over everything that had happened since he graduated and Win returned. In any case, after picking an area and a budget, they started the actual hunt for houses and that was the part Team liked best. They drove around countless off days looking at homes for sale, worked with a realtor to find what they were looking for and toured homes, talking about what they liked and didn’t like about each place. When they finally found the perfect home, it was like a dream come true.
The only problem was, they weren’t the only couple interested in buying, so they had to put in a competitive offer. It ended up being on the higher end of their budget, but Team and Win both decided it was worth it in the long run, because truly, it was perfect. Yesterday, the seller accepted their offer and they ended up rushing over on Win’s lunch break and when Team could convince his coach to let him take an hour off to go sign the paperwork. His hair was still wet with pool water as he put his name to paper.
In all the rushing, they didn’t have time to properly celebrate the purchase, so that’s exactly what they were about to do now. It was Friday, Team had a short practice and Win was able to get out of the office early, so the day was bright with early afternoon sunlight, a cool breeze moved the air about, making it a comfortable, beautiful day. Team’s heart felt light and warm, and as he paused at a crosswalk, he closed his eyes, turned his face to the sun and took in a deep breath. When he lowered his head and opened his eyes, there was Win.
Win was beautiful. He stood across the street with an elated smile on his face, absolutely glowing with joy. He must have been watching Team bask in the sunlight and happiness, because the fond look on his face was one that could stop Team in his tracks and steal his breath away. They both waited for the light to change, so they could cross the street and meet one another. No one was on Win’s side of the road and only two people stood beside Team. Win took the first step forward, eyes trained on Team as he moved with the casual assurance that only Win could display.
Maybe if he didn’t have eyes for only Team, things might have turned out differently.
The first thing Team heard was the woman beside him scream in shock. He turned to look at her without even thinking about it, so he missed what was about to happen until the sound of brakes screeching drew his attention back to the street. It was too late to change what happened next. He was too far away and something clogged Team’s throat, maybe it was his heart leaping up out of his chest. Win’s head turned a split second to see the car careening towards him, running a red light and going way too fast.
The driver clearly tried to stop, but he wasn’t going to make it in time. The car slammed into Win and sent him to the ground with a sickening crack. Team’s entire world froze. There was no sound, no air, nothing moving. His breath stopped. Then it was as if everything moved in fast-forward. He rushed across the street to Win and crouched down beside him, hands going to his arm and shoulder. Win’s eyes were closed and his head lulled to the side, he was unconscious. Then Team noticed the blood... so, so much blood. It spilled freely from Win’s head and pooled on the street below him, it streaked his brown hair with bright red.
“Hia...” Team’s voice was barely above a whisper, his lips trembling, his face already streaked with tears. “H-hia.... Hia...” He choked back a sob, then looked up at the crowd around him. His eyes locked on the first person that met his gaze. “Call an ambulance!” He wasted no more than a second to see the person lift their phone before looking back down to Win. A trembling hand lifted to his face to check his breathing, and when he felt the soft puff of air, Team broke down completely. He began sobbing over Win’s body and didn’t let go or move away from him until paramedics arrived and dragged him back.
Win was his entire world. He had only just gotten the man back, they were moving into their adult lives and everything was supposed to be better now. If he lost Win ...
The ride to the hospital was a blur, and all Team remembered was sitting in the back of the ambulance, holding Win’s hand as long as the paramedics allowed him to, as did all they could to keep him stable and breathing until they got him to the emergency room. By the time he was forced apart from his love and into the waiting room, Team was in a state of shock. It was so bad that a nurse stayed with him and helped him make a call to Win’s parents to explain what happened. She also helped him wash the blood off his hands. After calling Win’s parents, he called Pharm, who rushed over with Dean and the two of them, his blessed friends, took care of everything else. Any time Pharm wasn’t helping out, he sat with his arm around Team, letting him cry into his shoulder until Pharm’s shirt was wet with tears.
Win’s parents hugged Team a lot, too, but once they knew Pharm could take care of him, they comforted each other, until Win’s brothers could arrive. Everyone took turns crying, worrying, or trying to keep the mood light and hopeful. They talked about how strong Win was, how it would be okay. Team couldn’t bring himself to think about anything, his brain was static, replaying the scene of Win getting hit by the car and bleeding on the street over and over. He wept until he had no tears left to fall.
It was hours and hours later before a doctor came out and let everyone know that Win was stable, but in an induced coma. He would live, and Team relaxed for the first time since the accident. The relief at knowing Win would live was practically earth shattering. So much so, that he almost missed what came next.
“There’s just one thing...” The doctor said, and everyone held their breath. “His skull was fractured and there was a lot of swelling in his brain. We did everything we could to take care of him, but we won’t know the extent of the damage until he wakes up.”
Win’s mother and father asked some questions, but Team didn’t quite catch them. All he could think about was Win’s beautiful, amazing mind. His brilliance, his attention to detail, his clever wit... All Team had worried about until this moment was whether or not Win would live, he hadn’t even considered the possibility of brain damage.
Team’s world narrowed to trying to focus on Win being alive. Which turned to hoping he would wake up soon, hoping he would wake up period. Then his mind turned to static, and he only vaguely registered Pharm holding him again when he could hear his own choked out sobs. He dropped his head onto Pharm’s shoulder and hugged the smaller man for dear life, fingers trembling as they tightened around the fabric of Pharm’s shirt. Eventually, more arms wrapped around the two of them and Team couldn’t have said if it was Dean, Wan, or Win’s parents who joined in the embrace. It was entirely possible that everyone did, for all Team was aware. He couldn’t lift his head from Pharm’s shoulder.
At least, not until someone nearby spoke, and the words, “Would you like to go see him?” filtered through the fog in his mind.
Sniffling and lifting his head, Team found that the words were spoken by Win’s father and were directed at Team. He nodded, and Pharm pulled away, moving into Dean’s arms, either to comfort or be comforted, Team wasn’t sure which, maybe both. Wan moved into Pharm’s place and wrapped an arm around Team’s shoulders, and pulled him towards the family, his other arm wrapped around View, Win’s younger brother. The parents led the way and the children followed behind. For better or worse, Team was part of the family now, and he always felt accepted. Right now, he was eternally grateful for that.
Inside the steril and cold room, Win was laid out on a bed, tubes and wires attached to him, monitors beeping and some kind of machine making whooshing sounds, helping Win to keep breathing. His head was bandaged, one eye was swollen shut, already badly bruised. There were countless smaller cuts and scrapes. He vaguely recalled hearing the doctor say Win had broken ribs and a few fractures. He didn’t remember where. Team could feel himself trembling, his whole body felt weak. A wet sniffle came from Wan’s other side, as View let out a little sob. The eldest brother wrapped both Team and View up into a tight hold, and both younger men clung to Wan for dear life. Team didn’t know how Wan could do it, but he knew that Win was cut from the same cloth, and somehow that made his heart ache even more.
They stayed in the room with Win as long as they could. Nurses came and went, checking on the machines and writing things down. Although, because Win was in intensive care, they were told they had to leave eventually, but that they could come back and visit in smaller numbers later.
Win was in intensive care for two days. During that time, only Win’s immediate family - which thankfully included Team - could visit and only for a few hours at a time, and only two people at a time.
After that, he was moved to a regular room, where he could have more visitors and they could stay for as long as they wanted. Team was there every day. He was given a pass from swim practice from his coach, because there was no way he was getting into a pool in his current emotional state. He withdrew from an upcoming tournament as well, and his agent took care of everything to do with that. Team almost never left, sleeping in the chair beside Win, often holding his hand. He spoke to Win, told him stories, and even sang to him from time to time, all of Win’s favorite songs.
On the third day in the regular hospital room, Pharm and Dean gave him the gentlest intervention, sending him home to shower, eat and sleep. Pharm had made packed meals for Team to take home with him and eat and forced Team to text him pictures as proof that he ate them. It took Win’s family to convince Team to stop spending every single moment in the hospital. They worked out a schedule so that someone would always be there with Win, in case he woke up. The rotation included Win’s parents, Wan, View, Dean, Pharm and, of course, Team.
During the times Team wasn’t at the hospital, Manaow and Pruk, and Dean and Pharm traded off helping him get things moved into the new house. Dean and Pruk usually did the heavy lifting while Pharm and Manaow were more about unboxing and setting things up or keeping their belongings organized. Everyone agreed on Team’s behalf that having the project of moving into the house to work on was good for him. If he was kind, he had to admit that they were right. Setting up their new home was a good way to force Team to think about the outcome of Win recovering, waking up, and coming home.
It was almost a week later, when Manaow, Pruk, and Team were all in the new house that Dean called to say that Win was awake.
Team literally dropped everything, which in this case was a large wooden bowl he was finding a place for in the kitchen. The bowl cracked and broke into two pieces when it hit the floor and Team cursed briefly before apologizing to Dean and saying he would be there immediately. He left Manaow and Pruk to take care of the house, grabbed his keys, then ran out the door and for the car, barely snagging his shoes off the ground on his way out. He didn’t even bother putting them on until the first red light.
All of Team’s willpower combined was the only thing that kept him from running through the hospital to Win’s room. He was practically speed walking down the hall when he nearly ran into Pharm outside the door. The smaller man intercepted him with a delicate hand to Team’s chest.
Team made a pained sound, his eyebrows drawing together, and looked down at Pharm, “What? Why? Pharm, let me go in.”
The look on Pharm’s face didn’t make any sense. Win was awake, he should be smiling and ushering Team directly into the room, not stopping him and looking worried.
Team’s mind cleared a little as Pharm opened his mouth to speak. Something was wrong.
“Before you go in there, Team, I need to tell you something...”
It felt like Team’s heart stopped beating.