He looked about himself realizing then that he was in a hospital. The morning light whispered through the blinds and fell warm on his chest. He was still alive that was assuring but being strapped here to his bed was terrifying. He tried to move his hands but nothing would get him out of the straps. He could see the scars running up his arms, red and painful. He could also feel stinging on his neck as if the same scars were there as well. At least he could move his legs a bit.
The click of shoes moved his eyes to the door and watched a nurse walk in. She cradled a clipboard against her chest, a pen between her fingers. She gave him a warm smile as if she had been worried about him the entire time.
"You're up." She said, walking over to him.
He gave something of a nod, one that the ache in his head would allow. He wondered how he looked right now. "Why am I here?"
"You don't remember?" Lightly she touched her hand to his forehead, checking to make sure there wasn't a fever.
"No." He said as she walked over to the IV. "Did something happen?" His voice was so weak, it hurt to talk.
Finally she turned to him with her full attention. "You passed out...or you were in something of a comatose state. Your brother called the ambulance."
"Shannon's here?" He made to move but the straps restricted him. "Can I be let out?"
She sighed and nodded, leaning over and unstrapping them. "You were a wild one last night during all those scans."
His brows furrowed. Scans? Comatose? Wild? Sounded like a hell of a night.
"Would you like your brother in here now?" She placed a warm hand on his arm and waited for him to answer.
She nodded and moved to the door.
"Oh and I don't mean to sound like a spoiled celebrity but..."
She looked back at him and nodded with understanding. "The paparazzi has been taken care of, Mr. Leto."
He gave a bit of a smile and then she was gone. He rested his head back on the cool pillow and closed his eyes. He saw her face again, that woman who had been in the car with him. She had been so familiar, so beautiful, so close, so damned terrifying. When he had gotten home he had seen that Audrey's car was gone but he pushed past the disappointment, still shaken up and in dire need of answers. He had been going to find Shannon and Emma when something had led him to the backyard. He had stood by the pool, seeing blurred memories course through his mind. She had been in all of them. Who had they belonged to? That was when he had looked into the water and there was that locket he had found amongst all those clothes. He reached in, taking it in his hands and looked inside. The pains started again when he saw her there. That beautiful woman wrapped up in his own arms. What the hell did it all mean?
After that everything else seemed unable to be remembered. Had he gone into the house? Where had Shannon found him? He wasn't even sure. All he knew was that somebody had better start explaining or he would be driven absolutely insane.
A small knock snapped him out of his thoughts and Jared looked over to where Shannon was standing.
Lately his brother was the most drawn Jared had ever seen him. Sucked dry of all the energy he had before. He was no longer somebody that Jared found comfort in, somebody that Jared looked up to. There was something there between them, preventing them from moving on and living the way they had before. Jared couldn't remember the last time he and Shannon had actually had a conversation that meant something. He couldn't remember the last time he had been able to be in the same room as him without feeling suffocated.
"Glad that you're up." Shannon gave a slight smile as he walked in. He pulled a metal chair towards the bed and took a seat.
"Heard I gave everyone a hell of a time."
"Since when haven't you?" Shannon laughed a little. A burdened laugh that rang with an ugliness that Jared had never heard before.
"Guess that's true."
They sat there in silence for a moment, the wind singing in with a gentleness that yearned to calm the both of them. It didn't work. Jared felt constricted, his breath pained in his chest. Shannon felt so burdened, his entire world falling apart without the promise of it ever coming back again.
Jared turned to look at Shannon, all his questions filling his wide blue eyes. Shannon could see the tears beginning to quiver there. He remembered all the times he had looked at him that way before. So many times as a kid and then so much less as Jared became a man. There were only a handful of times that Jared had gone to him with that look of desperation, always thinking he had the entire world figured out. But here he was. Vulnerable, broken, shattered as he had never been before. He was locked away from the entire world, his pain sheltered away in the shards of his present, his past. Could he really just sit there, holding all the answers and not say a thing?
"Shannon, what the hell's going on?" Jared nearly demanded, the tears pearling on his lashes and quickly sliding down onto the pillow beneath him. He sat up then, looking deeply into Shannon's eyes, pleading with him so desperately.
Shannon let out a heavy breath. He leaned his elbows on his knees and captured his face in his hands. He was so tired, so trapped between two sides. He had always known these were the consequences, had always known that this was what would happen if they did it. Why hadn't he stopped it then?
"You have to tell me what's happening to me. I don't even know who I am anymore. All of this is driving me crazy!" Jared pushed a trembling hand back through his hair as more tears made their way from his eyes.
"Jared, I-" He turned away, unable to see his brother breaking there before him. How was he supposed to deny him? He had the way to fix this, he knew what would make all of it better.
"You what?" Jared reached out, his shaky hand resting on his shoulder. "You gotta tell me...I won't be mad, I promise. I just have to know."
Shannon slowly brought his gaze to Jared's, his own tears were threatening to show themselves but he held them back with as much will as he could. "I wish I could, Jared." He forced out, his words thick with emotion.
"Why not? Do you see what's happening to me? To everyone? Do you see it? If you know anything, you have to tell me! What the hell is going on?" His words were becoming louder, sharper, more intense. He didn't have the patience anymore. He could feel himself slipping off the edge. He could feel himself hanging by a thread, how much longer was he supposed to force himself to hang on?
The both of them looked towards the door and saw Emma standing there, as exhausted as they were. Shannon looked away with a heavy sigh. He lowered his head not wanting her to see the way he had almost broke. Jared looked to Shannon who had suddenly retracted and then to Emma and sat straighter, disregarding the tears on his face.
"...you gave us a scare." She whispered. She walked further into the room to the bed and gave him an attempt at a smile.
"Didn't mean to." Jared muttered.
"Shannon, maybe you could get us some coffee?"
Shannon looked up at her, reading everything in her eyes and he nodded. "I'll be back." He said to Jared before leaving the room.
"What was that about?" Jared questioned, his brows knitting together with demand.
"We were talking and then he just...he stopped when you walked in."
"Jared, Shannon doesn't know what he's saying. He's so wrought with worry that he'll say anything to make you feel better. You've put a lot on him." It hurt her to turn this all around and dump it on his worn out shoulders but she just couldn't have him know.
"I want the locket, where is it?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Jared. There is no locket and if there is then you're the only one who's seen it." She bit the inside of her cheek, hating to lie to him like this but knowing that in the end it would be best for him. He would push past all of this soon. Ghosts weren't real. "You should rest." She leaned over and placed a quick kiss to Jared's forehead before walking out of the room.
Jared stared after her, his hands nearly shaking in his lap. Something between Shannon and Emma wasn't right. Something had happened and they were both too afraid that he would find out. It had torn everything apart and that thought was the most unsettling.
Carefully Jared reached over and took up the phone to his ear. He dialed Audrey's number quickly, needing to jus hear her voice for some kind of comfort.
"Hello?" Her voice was so soft, like silk as it came to him.
"Hey..." He hated how coarse he sounded.
"It's me, it's Jared." He smiled a little, loving the question in her tone.
"Oh hi...what's up?" how casual she was being confused him.
"I'm in the hospital..."
"Oh? Well, that's terrible." She sounded so terribly detached.
"Yeah....Why'd you leave so quickly yesterday? I thought you were going to wait for me?"
It was silent for a moment and then she laughed a little. "What are you talking about?"
"Yesterday when I went by the label, you left so soon. Wanted to see you before you did."
"Jared I don't know what you're talking about."
"When you came over yesterday." He said more firmly.
"I haven't been to your house since you were a rude ass and took my demo." She was obviously so confused by what he was saying.
"That's not true, you've been over a lot. We even..." He stopped himself trying to understand what she was trying to say.
"Jared, I'm going to hang up now... Maybe you hit your head really hard or something." She hung up the phone then, shutting him out.
He kept the phone to his ear, repeating a simple "Wait" over and over. But she never answered and so he had no choice but to hang up. He sat back against the bed with a heavy sigh and tried to figure everything out. Nothing was making sense and it was starting to literally tear him apart. Either there was something much deeper going on or someone was playing a terrible prank.