Character(s): Charlie, Connie
Short summary: The Ducks wait for word in a hospital waiting room. Told from Charlie's and Connie's POVs.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, sadly enough. I did not make any profit, blah blah. We all know the drill.
Warning: Character Deaths.
A slight chill caught Charlie Conway off guard as he sat in the critical care waiting room at Memorial Hospital. A quick glance to his friend Adam Banks sitting next to him told him that Adam had felt it too.
Sighing heavily, Charlie put his elbows on his knees and ran his hands through his hair. Shaking his head, he ran over in his mind the events of the past several hours. He and Adam, along with several other members of their high school hockey team, the Ducks, had gone to a skating rink to play around. It was a typical Saturday for them. There was nothing to do on the campus of the private boarding school they attended so they were always seeking outside entertainment. They were all in their careless, happy-go-lucky moods until the phone call that changed everything.
It was Connie Moreau’s mother, calling her on her cell phone, to inform Connie that two of the Ducks had been in a serious car accident. They were the only two who hadn’t gone skating with the others. Connie had dropped the phone then, and in her shocked silence, everyone knew something was seriously wrong. Charlie had picked up the phone then and heard it all for himself.
That was several hours ago and here the whole team sat, still waiting for word. Their coach stood in one corner of the room by himself, looking anxious and incredibly worried. Connie was in the opposite corner, refusing comfort from everyone. She sat in a chair, her chin resting on her knees and her eyes swollen and red from crying. Her boyfriend, Guy Germaine, had been in the accident and was currently in surgery for several severe internal injuries. Connie and Guy had been together since the Ducks had been a team back in elementary school. They were not without their rough spots but they had always worked them out, they had always been together. Connie and Guy. They were like one word to the team: Connieandguy. Rarely was there one without the other.
Guy’s mother was also in the waiting room, sitting between Charlie’s mom and Connie’s mom. Connie’s mom had already been here, sitting with Sandy Germaine. She was too stunned and afraid to do much but cry, but no one blamed her. Guy was her only child; she may have made a lot of mistakes in raising him but she loved him dearly. Charlie was grateful his mom, Casey, was there. She was being a great help to Sandy, and to the rest of them. Every half an hour she would go get more drinks and food for everyone from the cafeteria.
Charlie heard his hockey coach, Ted Orion, announce that he was going to the airport to pick up the parents of the other Duck who’d been in the accident, Luis Mendoza. Luis had died en route to the hospital from head injuries. The whole team had arrived at the hospital to that news, and it had set the mood for the last several hours since their arrival. Some of the Ducks had gathered in a corner to cry together and comfort each other.
Dean Portman finally started gathering money from everyone to buy Guy a huge get-well present, saying that he would know when he woke up that everyone was there for him. He refused to believe that Guy was not going to live. He was already crushed at the death of one of his closest friends, and Portman did not handle grief well. Nobody discouraged him because no one wanted to believe that Guy would die. How could fate be so cruel to take two of the Ducks away like this anyway?
The Ducks had been through a lot together. When they were little kids in the little league hockey program, the Ducks had been each other’s support systems. Every one of them had a rough life; it was what had brought them together in the first place. They’d survived losing members of their team as some of the Ducks moved away and others decided they didn’t want to play hockey anymore. They’d learn to welcome and accept their new players, who became every bit as much a part of the family. They’d survived their first coach, Gordon Bombay, leaving and the coming of Coach Orion, who had turned out to be a great and caring coach. They were making it through high school together, with all the problems that going through high school came with.
Could they survive the death of a duck? Could they survive the death of two Ducks? He tried to imagine life without Luis or Guy and he just could not. He had been friends with Guy since they were four years old, and Guy had always been one of his best friends. He understood how Charlie felt about growing up without a father, for he had also grown up without a father. Guy was one of the quieter Ducks, but he had a calming presence that, as captain of the Ducks, Charlie appreciated.
Luis Mendoza was by far the fastest skater on the team, even with his braking problems. The team loved to tease him about his many girls, and Luis always joked back about it. He was a fun person to hang out with, and a great guy to be friends with. Charlie did not have the deep friendship with Luis like he did with Guy, but he still cared a lot about him. They were friends, fellow Ducks, and all the Ducks loved each other.
Cursing inwardly, the team captain remembered he would have to call Bombay and let him know what happened. He had been the one to pull the Ducks together in the first place, and he was close to everyone on the team. All of the original Ducks, which included Guy, were like honorary children to him. Bombay would be very upset to hear about the accident, but Charlie knew that his old coach would want to know. He moved to the chair near the waiting room phone and called the man who had become like a father to him. He dreaded having to tell Bombay about the accident, but he knew he had to do it.
When Orion came back with Luis’ parents, Casey and Charlie both jumped to their feet. Orion had called the Mendozas on his way to the hospital, and they had gotten the quickest flight from Miami as possible. Charlie knew from their faces that they did not yet know that their son was dead. He sat with them as Orion explained to them as gently as possible that Luis had bleeding in his brain and that he had died before reaching the hospital. As the Mendozas crumbled into each other’s arms, Charlie caught Sandy Germaine’s eyes. She was watching Luis’ parents with a mournful look, but she made no move to come over and comfort them. She held his gaze for only a few seconds before turning away, her eyes filling with tears once more.
When the head surgeon of Guy’s surgery arrived, he gathered everyone together in a group and confirmed their worst fears: Guy was dead. Among his numerous injuries was a ripped aorta, and in the end that was what had killed him.
The next several minutes were spent with everyone hugging each other, sobbing, unable to believe it. After a while, Connie felt like she had hugged the life right out of herself. She was oblivious to the sounds of the others crying, even though it seemed to envelop the entire room. She finally resumed her seat in the chair where she’d been waiting for hours. Guy… gone. Dead. As the tears came again, she stared off into space, wide-eyed. She was in shock about it, and she knew it. He’d been her boyfriend for years, and she had always pictured growing old with him. She knew he had planned it that way too.
Her mind drifted to the ring she carried in her purse. None of the other Ducks knew, not even Julie, but two months before Guy had proposed. They’d spent a long time talking about getting married. They had planned to get married right out of high school, go to the same college together, and build their life together after that. They had even engaged in arguments over their kids’ names! And now all of that was just… gone. Just like that.
Sandy Germaine sat down next to Connie and the two embraced. Connie could feel the older woman’s petite body shake with her cries. More tears fell down Connie’s cheeks… she was just about numb to them because she had already shed so many. They did not part for a long time, but when they did, Connie looked at her friends, who had sat down in a group and were talking in quiet tones. She could see the grief in their faces. Finally she joined them, sitting between Charlie and Goldburg, who put their arms around her.
After awhile, everyone realized they really had no other reason to stay. Casey told Charlie that she would stay with Sandy and the Mendozas to finish up some things, and that the others could go back to their dorms. After deciding to meet up in Adam and Fulton’s room, the Ducks wearily left the hospital, leaving two of their own behind.
In Adam and Fulton’s dorm room, the group tearfully began to reminisce about Guy and Luis. They shared all the things they could remember. The things Luis used to say, the ugly hats Guy used to wear, the pranks they had been involved in.
Fulton Reed recounted fondly the truck incident at the Junior Goodwill Games, where he, Guy, and Jesse Reed had driven a zamboni truck through the wall. He and Guy had always insisted that it was Jesse’s idea to do it, and Guy had always proclaimed his innocence by pointing out that he had really done nothing. After all, it was Jesse’s idea, and Fulton was the one who drove it. So how could Guy be guilty of anything other than merely climbing inside the truck? Coach Bombay had not agreed with Guy’s logic.
Goldburg reminded everyone of when the “old” Ducks and the “new” Ducks had met each other for the Goodwill Games. Goldburg had been the goalie for the “old” Ducks as the players faced off, and Luis had charged at him with speed like no other. Unable to stop, Luis had crashed right into Goldburg. When they got up, Luis hadn’t even apologized, he just thanked the goalie for breaking his fall.
After a few more stories were shared, Connie finally told them all that she and Guy had actually been engaged. This shocked them all into silence, and suddenly there were more tears and hugs. The Ducks all sat huddled together in a circle, united by their grief but in reality they all felt the world of the Ducks starting to tear at the seam. In one day their entire lives were forever changed.