In which our hero doesn’t need a doctor...
The others had stayed alongside Izzy for a good part of the night until Steven couldn't handle it anymore and fully broke down. Slash and Duff had to take the heart-shattered drummer home. The doctors allowed Izzy to stay with Axl, understanding the situation completely.
The slow, steady beep droned on. As much as Izzy hated it, he didn't want it to stop. In time to the beeps, Izzy could feel Axl's faint pulse in his fingertips as he pressed down on the singer's wrist.
It was so difficult to see Axl like this. He had tubes coming out of his arms and nose, an IV dripping God knows what into his system and more machines attached to him than Izzy had ever seen. The whole scene just reminded Izzy that his best friend was teetering on the brink of death.
Flashbacks of that morning played over and over again in Izzy's mind. The sirens, the paramedics, Axl's fragile body being carried and placed gently onto the gurney, the oxygen mask being put over his nose and mouth, the serene look on his face like that of a sleeping angel...
The sudden opening of the door made Izzy jump and squint as the lights were switched on.
"Why are you sitting here in the dark?" Asked the doctor, casually walking over and picking up the clipboard from the foot of the hospital bed.
Izzy stared at the man for a moment. The guitarist felt weak and distant and it took him a few seconds to figure out how to react to another person speaking to him after sitting in the dark, alone and silent for so many hours.
"Axl's sleeping..." Said the guitarist, his voice hoarse with lack of use.
The doctor in his green scrubs chuckled slightly, still scanning over the clipboard. He started shaking his head slightly and tutting. He finally looked at Izzy and smiled annoyingly.
"People in comas don't exactly complain about the lights being on now do they?" He laughed smugly.
Izzy felt a rage burning inside of him all of a sudden. He was hurt that someone would treat Axl's situation so light-heartedly.
"Tut tut tut," The doctor began, "Drug addict, anorexic, what else? Hmm?" He smiled at Izzy but the guitarist didn't return it.
Now he was seething with anger and couldn't hold it back any longer.
"He's not a drug addict." Izzy said darkly, "And he's not anorexic."
"Ha! He topped himself with pills! That screams "addict" to me. As for anorexic, I think a five foot nine male who weighs a hundred pounds is classified as severely underweight and most probably because of an eating disorder." The doctor nodded self-righteously then turned on his heels and left the room.
He had only heard one part of what the doctor had just said. Izzy turned back to Axl, tears pricking his eyes and he reached out for Axl's hand once more and held it tight.
"You did it." He whispered through his tears, "You reached your goal."
Two days had passed and Axl still hadn't come out of his coma. Steven was now collected enough to be able to stay by Axl's bedside. Although the tears occasionally threatened, he stayed strong. The four Gunners sat around Axl's bed, Guns coming and going every now and again but never leaving him alone. Just in case.
That afternoon Steven was sitting with Axl. A tiny teddy bear was sitting on the bedside table and Steven had brought a small radio, which was now filling the room with the soft sounds of Jimi Hendrix.
"...kinda like this one time when Slash and I where in the fourth grade and we..."
"Stevie who are you talking to?" Asked Izzy closing the door behind him.
He pulled up a chair and sat next to his friend.
"I'm talking to Axl." Said Steven.
Izzy looked slightly taken aback. He looked to Axl then back to Steven and stared.
"Well I figured," said the drummer, "that Axl could maybe still hear us so I was just telling him about some fun times before..." His voice trailed off and he looked to the ground.
Izzy gave Steven a weak smile. Steven always seemed to find hope in bad times, even if it was just him that believed in it. The drummer noticed the sad expression on Izzy's face as he looked at Axl. It broke his heart that Izzy felt so terrible about all the things he had said and done to the singer. Then an idea came into his head.
"Why don't you talk to him?" He suggested.
Izzy looked at Steven wide-eyed.
"I'll leave you two alone." Said Steven with a smile.
After he had left the room Izzy looked at Axl and took a deep breath. This was going to be weird but worth it.
"Axl...I'm sorry. I'm sorry for calling you all those horrible things and forcing you to eat when you didn't want to and not trying to help you and getting mad at you and..." The tears were close but the guitarist held them back, "I'm sorry I never just listened to you."
Axl didn't stir. He lay there, silent and still, chest barely moving up and down as he breathed. Unmoved and unconscious.
"I'm just so sorry." The guitarist finally whispered.
He looked over at the teddy bear on the table and reached out and picked it up. He hugged it close and stared at Axl, almost expecting the singer to respond to him. But he didn't.
"Great idea Steven..." Sniffed the guitarist, squeezing the bear even tighter.
He stared at Axl's serene face for a moment longer before something moved in the corner of his eye. His senses unnaturally alert all of a sudden, Izzy carefully watched over Axl waiting for the movement again.
He reached out and held the singer's hand and repeated his name again, louder this time. Suddenly and ever so gently, Axl's lifeless fingers squeezed around Izzy's own.
"Axl!" Cried Izzy.
He leaned in close to the singer and held his breath and waited. After a few moments he felt the slight pressure on his fingers again and his heart leapt.