Contagion

Summary: "We need some Bactine!" "Yeah, I'll just run out to Walgreens and grab some. Want some fucking green tea while I'm out?!"/ Or, Jonah's prayer is sort of, most definitely being granted. AU.

English Humor/Friendship Rated: T Chapters:1 Words:

a/n: this is kind of fucking ridiculous, in the sense i shouldn't even be writing it. au where the knife jonah threw jay did a lot more damage than in the movie. extremely colloquial stuff. anyway, expect some innocent bromance, excessive swearing, and insufferable dialogue.

"Where the fuck's my joint, I just put it down!"

"I FUCKED YOUR MOTHER WITH IT FRANCO, NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

"I WILL FUCK YOU UP, MCRBRIDE, THIS IS MY FUCKING HOUSE, MY FUCKING RULES!"

He closes his eyes and dabs his wan, unshaven face down with a guest towel. Madmen, is what he thinks, but he'll have to communicate with these morons if he plans on actually surviving. And considering Franco and McBride are now engaged in what can only be described as a battle of witlessness, complete with enough F-bombs to blow the roof off this joint, maybe succumbing to gangrene wouldn't be such a terrible fate.

:::::

"It looks pretty fucking bad."

The guest room he managed to snag after it became evident this trip to Franco's was strictly one-way is compact, sparsely-furnished, and beige-walled. Its utter lack of personality comforts him, reminds him of normality in this ass-backwards universe. He just wishes the windows had been entirely barricaded. Slants of volcanic light unfurl across the unpolished hardwood like bloody ribbons and he can still smell it, that smoky tang not unlike barbeque being burned on a decade-old backyard grill. God, how he loathes the fire.

Almost as much as the ugly wound splitting his left thigh like a freshly cut Thanksgiving turkey. Seth had been accurate in his summary: it does, indeed, look pretty fucking bad. If he tilts his head enough, he can catch a glimpse of the pink meat, layered like ancient rock formations, and the ropey tendons and delicate capillaries, intertwined in a lover's embrace, and yeah, it's enough to make him scared.

"Jay, I am so sorry." Jonah's been apologizing for roughly seven years now, but Jay knows there had to be some malicious intent behind the incident. After all, what kind of idiot throws a fucking blade across the room? He could have just as easily handed it to him like a rational-minded person would. That golden earring glints in the firelight like a third eye and when it winks, yeah, Jay's certain.

"Jonah, quit fucking apologizing and get some duct tape so we can close this bitch up." Jay wants to inform Danny he's a fucking moron, but he's also ridiculously exhausted and whenever he looks down, more flesh is dying, and so is he, yeah, he's probably going to die at James Franco's house.

"We just need to get some supplies. I mean, we can fix this," Seth says and the utter positivity, the fucking certainty, in his voice, his expression, it makes his Adam's Apple swell to a size too large to swallow around. Because even if sometimes he can't stand him, Seth is still his best friend and the fact that he has faith, that he cares, makes him feel like less of a infection-wracked sad sack. Just a little. "We need Bactine!"

"Yeah, I'll just run out to Walgreens and grab some. Ya want some fucking green tea while I'm out?!" Franco yells irritably with a wave of his stupid gun. He keeps swinging the goddamned thing around like he's erecting a force field around himself none of them can breech.

"James, don't yell in front of Jay! You're scaring him. He's already scared enough."

The words "shut the fuck up, Jonah" die promptly on his lips. He is scared.

He's incredibly scared.

:::::

He sleeps for an hour or two, swept away by the currents of unconsciousness and handled roughly by their undertow. Even under the water's surface, he can still sense the fire, flaming and twisting and searing and tearing, yes, tearing the meat of his left leg. Sometimes, he hears voices; sometimes, he hears screaming; sometimes, he hears his own voice screaming, because God, nothing has ever hurt like this.

But he still sleeps. Sleeping is safe.

The light has faded considerably when he slams back into reality, enough that he doesn't recognize the figure perched on the edge of the bed. He struggles to speak, but every breath is another stone in his lungs, so maybe he'll just keep his fucking mouth shut for once.

The anonymous silhouette leans forward; its glasses glint ominously in the pale luminosity. Seth. "Hey, dude. You're not dead."

Jay can hear the lilt in his tone from where he scarcely dodged adding the word "yet" to his last sentence. He rolls onto his back and becomes aware of the ridiculous amount of sweat he's managed to produce in the past few hours. The soaked sheets cling to his clammy flesh. Yet, his bony frame is wracked with shivers. "Seth… the-the fuck is happening?"

"Jonah thinks your leg's infected. You've got like a fever or something. Franco doesn't have a fucking thermometer." Fever. Okay. That made sense. It makes him sad, in a way, to see Seth sitting there, like he's laid up in some drafty, depressing hospice awaiting his dying breath and Seth's just trying to be upbeat about the whole damn thing, about staying by his bedside, about avoiding direct eye contact with the maroon staining the covers. "Is it… like, bad?"

It's certainly no trip to the hockey rink. "Yeah. Kinda."

"But you're not gonna die, right? I mean, we'll just wait 'till someone comes and you'll get help. No one's gonna die at James Franco's house."

"Seth…" The pain is surfacing again and his thoughts are scattered. He hazily attempts to connect the fractured cognates; it feels like- - damn, what's that book? Sieve full of sand? What's a sieve? Everything is hazy and burning. "It's bad. I-I think I'm gonna die."

The notion had seemed entirely unreasonable until it was vocalized. It hangs suspended between them like a curtain of cigarette smoke. Because yesterday, just yesterday, he had been complaining and buying shit for Seth and that was it- - that was his life. He had been living and the mere notion of dying hadn't dared to pounce on him, because he was just a thirty-something-year-old guy who liked cats and did a couple okay movies. Death just wasn't high on the ol' priority list.

Jay turns away. He doesn't want to see Seth accept their goddamn fate. Everything is shimmering and febrile and he WANTS a CIGARETTE so FUCKING bad that it's leaving an acrid taste in his mouth.

He remembers that stupid book with the sieve (whatever the fuck that is). Fahrenheit 451. They read it in ninth gradeand he secretly enjoyed it, in spite of all the oddities and the sieves and the, what, what was it there was fire wasn't there hey there's fire here too god it's fucking bright it's fucking

:::::

When he wakes up, his heart is thrumming so goddamn fast that he feels like he just plummeted into bed from a great height. All the guys are there, but they seem strangely distant. Once his heart stops racing, he realizes he's doped up. Considerably doped up, in fact.

"Seth- -"

"Having recently been inspired by a very moving speech delivered by Mister Robinson, we're here to make your last hour as comfortable as possible," Seth interrupts in a needlessly grandiose voice. "You'll notice you're on a lot of drugs. You're welcome."

Blood is pumping out of his leg. He's sweating and shaking and these five guys encircling him are pretty much ninety-five percent douche bag, but they're here. They're here and he's not gonna die alone. Because even though they are douche bags and art house assholes and pretty shitty friends, he can't imagine another group of guys he'd rather die in front of.

"Here you are." Suddenly, there's a cigarette flickering in his field of vision and YEAH that's the good stuff. Franco is holding out the mile-long cancer stick (ha ha don't have to worry about that much longer) like a peace offering. A peace offering. Jay accepts it and they hold their gazes a moment, communicating all that shit about sorry I'm dying on your guest bed that doesn't need to be said.

The cig is stale, but he doesn't care. It feels good, even better with the dope.

"This is a chicken wing I found in my pocket this morning. I bestow it unto you." Danny lays something bearing a vague resemblance to a chicken wing on the plane of his chest.

The slightest of grins tugs at his mouth. "Fuck you, Danny."

"Fuck you too."

He's going. The room is starting to blur at the edges and his chest feels like a cage that cannot contain his frantically galloping heart and shit, he's gotta finish the cig quick.

Shit. He's almost out of time.

Out of time. Like he's attempting to make a long-distance call and he only had two quarters, not four like he should've been carrying, and when the operator cuts him off, there's no redial.

No redial.

"Seth." His voice sounds like something dusty and untouched. The man he's been friends with ever since the nineties, before the glasses and the tattoos, looks him in the eye. No more of that hospice shit. They're just two friends who are probably never going to meet again, unless there's actually a Heaven and if there is, he is definitely wishing for a Backstreet Boys concert.

Seconds are ticking away. Like sand through a sieve.

"Seth. Thanks."

The cigarette is smoked down to its butt. Hey-ho, time to go. He's trembling, but he isn't scared, and when he glances up, there's the miniature sun pinned to Jonah's ear (that bastard he'll get it in the end that bastard) and the towel over Craig's shoulder and Franco's gun and Danny's neck beard and Seth's glasses, and those images are the ones that will guide him through the darkness.

"What's a sieve?" Jay asks.

He doesn't bother sticking around for an answer.

a/n: I wrote most of this last year and tried to finish it and I don't even know who the fuck I am right now or what I'm doing or whatn just haopneinfged and I'm confused andw erined andn ie wneed to slekep