Revoked: Part 1 Hobbie
Author’s note: This was originally an entry for the Evil!Fic Challenge #3 hosted at Downtime.
Everything belongs to Mr. Lucas.
I hate hospitals. Wes would say that's amusing given how much time I spend in them, but that's precisely why I hate them. I don't want to know how much of my life I've wasted floating in pink goo. It's still better than the alternative, but to be awake, immobile as life passes you by; when you're in that state you'd almost rather be dead.
The other reason I hate hospitals is having to watch your friends in that same tank of goo. Sometimes they come out healed, sometimes they don't. They say that if there's a spark of life, then bacta will keep it going, but that's not really true. Yes, the bacta can sustain life, but can't always return it to its former glory. An excellent doctor, a few MD droids, prosthetics, and cloned parts can help, all of which I've been very grateful for over the years, but it still takes a will to live, to fight, to climb back to what you were. Unless you want to live in a pink goo tank the rest of your life.
Hospitals don't really help with that climb. I don't mean the staff, which is hard working, especially those cute nurses, I mean the building itself. When I step outside of the hired speeder and look up, I see a towering edifice that just reminds me of how long and steep that climb can be. The façade is dark stone, more reminiscent of those creepy Sith temples on Yavin than anything. Maybe some demented doctor is inside sucking power from his patients' pain. That would certainly explain things.
I ask the welcome droid for directions, and then continue on my way. Maybe all this fuss is just about how Wes discovered a secrete organ black market whose profits fund a separatist movement. That would be a better alternative.
I'm really reaching for conclusions now, deluding myself purposely. I'm not one given to flights of fancy, not because whatever I imagine is usually worse than it really is, but because I'm usually spot on. I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist.
I cease my trek down the sterile white corridors and pause, taking a deep breath or two. The correct room can't be too far now. I know when I go in it'll be Wes that I see lying in the bed. It'll be Wes because I'm the one he'll have them call first. Sometime long ago, I don't know when, maybe after Piggy died, I became that man's left side of the brain. He needs me, and if I'm honest, I need him. Even if I'd like to shove that Ewok down his throat some days. I know he'll be in bed because the bacta tanks are two floors down. At least I won't have to watch him float in goo.
Gathering myself together, I continue. Slowly. I know this won't be about some paper cut or a broken hip. They'd only call me if it was serious. I've seen people die, some of them people I've killed, others friends I couldn't save. They died quickly. I suppose quickly is a relative term. I'm sure that suffocating to death in a TIE whose support carrier is gone takes a long time, and waiting for your lungs to fill with blood after being shot takes an eternity, but they're still quick deaths. Watching a friend die of something terminal over the course of months or years, that's a slow death.
I reach the small room. The door is open. I enter and find Wes stretched out on the cot, looking quite chipper. "Take me home, Mommy," he says teasingly. A big grin is stretched across his face despite the bandage wrapped around his head.
The doctor is here too. Already my gut roils. They send a droid for the small stuff. A doctor is trouble. "Mr. Klivian, thanks for coming. May I have a word with you before I release Mr. Janson into your care?"
He leads me into the adjoining room. The breeze caused by the door springing open makes my scalp tingle and the hairs on the skin on the back of my neck raise. I know this talk won't bear good news.
The doctor turns to me and gestures for me to sit. The examining chair is the closest, but I choose the accompanying chair against the wall. He sits on his little stool, hands crossed on his knees. He opens his mouth, but I beat him to the punch. "Is Wes all right?" That's the important question. If I'm going to get shot, I'd rather be up front about it instead of creeping around with a loaded blaster like an Adumari dueler.
"Mr. Janson has sustained a blow to the head, but he will be fine after a few days and a bit of bed rest."
"So what happened?" There's something more. They wouldn't call me for a bump on the head, especially for a bump on that durracrete brick of Janson's.
"He was in a speeder accident. I suggest you ask him for the details."
"Why am I here?"
The doctor sighs and finally comes to the point. "I've checked Mr. Janson over and come to the conclusion he's no longer fit to fly."
I don't listen to much of what the doctor says. That lump in my gut is busy chilling and then it solidifies. And sinks. I was right. This was serious.
"Patients have been known to act out when they hear news of this type and it can help to have friends and family around. I had hoped you' be willing to be here for him while I tell him."
This was going to be a slow death. An agonizing one.
I clear the lump from my throat. "Let me tell him?"
The doctor considers and nods. "Just be sure to tell him today. Thank you, Mr. Klivian, you are free to take him home."
I leave the doctor in the small room and approach my doomed friend. For someone whose life is flying, the loss of his license is a death sentence. And I will be his executioner.
"So, Hobbie, what say we go get a drink to kill this headache of mine? Maybe pick up a few girls? You know how much they like a guy in bandages. Remember that nurse after Hoth?" Wes continues to chat cheerfully as we leave, oblivious to the threat looming over his head. He has always been able to cheer up anyone, including himself. Even in the darkest times. I wonder if there is hope for him after all, that maybe his sentence will be commuted.
But then I remember the sheer joy that lights his eyes when flying. The calm pride in his ability to shoot any target. The freedom of the sky.
There will be no reprieve. This will kill him.
As we climb into the hired taxi, he immediately engages the young female Duros in a lively conversation. His youthful exuberance shines, masking his tired and bruised body. He is alive. Despite everything, he is alive. And I can't deny him that pleasure, at least for a little while.
I will kill him later.
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