His eyes slowly flickered open as his brain tried to make sense of the sights and smells around him. He had already determined that the bed he was in was not his own; the mattress was lumpy and uncomfortable, the sheets crisp and rough compared to his own. There was a whirring which could only belong to some kind of machinery, and he started slightly as he became aware of foreign tubing invading his nose and hand. Opening his eyes properly for the first time, he looked to his left and quickly deduced that he was in a hospital, although what had happened to him to land him in there, he hadn't the foggiest. He eased himself a little more upright in the bed, noticing for the the first time some "get well soon" cards and an assortment of sweets and chocolates. Had he been in here for a while, then? He was about to press his call button to alert one of the nurses to the fact that he was awake, when the door to his room opened and a tall man walked in, dropping the parcel in his arms in surprise, before breaking into a huge smile and rushing over to him, pulling him into a hug.
"Oh, Sy, thank God!"
Sy? The other man thought, groggily. That's right! That was his name, Syed. Syed Masood. He shrank out of the other man's embrace, blushing and slightly embarrassed.
"I'm sorry, do I know you?"
Syed eyed the other man, the stranger, with apprehension. He was positive that he'd never lain eyes on this man before, and so he edged to the other side of the bed, a look of uncertainty on his face.
"What are you talking about, Sy?" The other man looked positively crushed, a look of pure rejection and panic etched on his face. "It's me, Christian."
Syed took a moment, taking in every feature on Christian's face.
"I'm sorry," he shook his head. "I don't know you.."
The tears which had been shining in Christian's eyes started to flow, and he looked at the other man with pure desperation in his eyes.
He reached over to touch Syed's hand, and flinched as the younger man pulled away from him.
"I'd like you to leave now, please."
"Syed, please, just listen to me -"
"Please. Just leave."
Syed reached out and pressed the call button, shrinking down in the bed as though to hide himself away from the world. Christian hung his head, finally admitting defeat.
"It's ok, Sy. I get it. You've been through a lot, and you're confused. I'll go. But I want you to know that I'm not giving up on you. On us." He stood and headed over to the door, his breath catching as he looked over at Syed, who was looking so lost and alone. "I'll be back to see you again tomorrow." When Syed didn't turn to face him, Christian slowly turned and left the room, exchanging a worried glance with the nurse who entered after him. This morning, he'd have given anything to see Syed, awake and happy and smiling at him. Now, that seemed further away than ever, but he knew that no matter what obstacles they had to overcome, they'd somehow manage it. Together.