"Jasper and Oliver should be coming home today, you know."
Lily glanced up from the tablet in her grip, "what took them so long. The war was called off months ago, the soldiers should've been home already."
"Trouble with space travel I guess" Valerian hummed. "Spandel and Keily are going to the train station together to welcome them home."
"I still can't believe Oliver, of all people, was sent to war," Lily commented, setting the table down and going for her coffee. "Did Jasper ever tell Spandel what happened to him over there?"
Valerian looked down, setting his dish into the sink with a small frown. "No, he didn't."
"That idiot." Lily sighed, "he's blindsiding Spandel with something very serious, it's too much to just show up and let him see."
"I guess he thinks it's just better to tell him in person." Valerian shrugged, "he is okay though, at least it isn't something that's going to keep killing him."
Lily closed her eyes with a silent cringe. "I think it's about time I get going." She muttered, jumped down from the stool and pulling her sweater on.
"Where are you going?" Valerian turned, surprise in his features as he didn't know she would be leaving the house at all. "I'll go with you-"
"It's just my business today." She deadpanned.
"I'd just feel better- you're still not well…" He trailed off.
"I'm just going to check on some things at work, I'll be fine for a couple of hours."
"Not like work, I just want to see a few people and grab a few things from my office. There's a lot of blueprints locked in there, I don't want anyone getting their hands on my ideas." She crossed her arms, "I worked hard and they're mine. I should be fine for a few hours, I'll be back before the dinner party and we can get ready and go together."
Valerian nodded with a small sigh, walking over to the shorter for a quick hug before she left. Lily smiled while Valerian pressed a kiss on her forehead and let go. "I'll see you later then, call me if anything happens or something doesn't feel, right, okay? Do you want anything? I'm going to run a few errands before the party."
She shook her head, "no, just don't be late. I'll need your help taking my medicine." She turned, "see you later."
"Be careful" Valerian gave her a small wave, "call me!"
"Mom said Spandel won't sit still, he's really excited."
"Yeah?" Came Oliver's sleepy reply. "That's good."
"I'm just going to disappoint him," Jasper muttered, turning his head to press his forehead against the glass of the train window.
"I don't think that would be the case...yeah it's a really big deal, but he'll be happy to see you again."
Jasper turned with a small frown and worried sky eyes, "I shouldn't have told him in that letter, should I? Or over video chat. You tell Keily everything all the time, it's wrong for me to leave Spandel in the dark."
Oliver turned his head to his best friend, "you're situation was very different than mine." He reminded. The both of them, like many young men and women in the last decade the pair, had served ample time-fighting in the war in Atlas. While quite a few people qualified for the exclusion of their names in the drafting process, many were still given their notices. Some, like Kirron or Bryson, was never called to go. It just happened that Oliver and Jasper names had been pulled just months apart from each other. The pair had been gone almost three years now, the only contact with their friends and families on Earth had been laters hastily written in a rare time of peace or video calls they got their hands on once or twice a month, depending on just what was happening with the war. But with the war called off, they were finally sent on their way home. While it was a long few months to travel, the boys were finally just hours away from home.
Neither of them looked the same as when they had left. Despite being three years older, they both had some kind of tiredness in them. Oliver was as pale as ever, the dark and snowy planet of Atlas doing nothing for him. His old twirling and twisting locks were gone, his hair was rather short, just now beginning to grow back in awkwardly. He'd gained some weight, maybe a bit of muscle even, but he was still the docile and wide-eyed boy from before. He'd ended up as a field medic during it all. Jasper had been relieved just as much Oliver had been. Everyone had known Oliver hadn't been cut out to leave in the first place, let alone actively trying to fight. Still, every day he faced the anxiety of running to the aid of the injured in the middle of a warzone. How he had stomached it- even Oliver didn't know. He'd been grazed with bullets many times, even shot once or twice, but he was lucky to be okay. He wasn't sick or left with any lasting issues.
Jasper, on the other hand. Looked a bit better. His hair was similar, just shorter than he usually liked it. He was similar in mass, though it looked like he'd lost a bit of weight recently. He had a few noticeable scars and marks on his hands and arms, and surely there were more hidden. There was one glaring thing different about him though, an injury- the reason he was worried for Spandel the find out about it now that he was home. Jasper had been a soldier like a lot of the young men fighting on the front lines in Atlas. He and Oliver had remained together, for the most part, Oliver was just helping the wounded while Jasper was often gone in the midst of things. There was once an incident that neither of the boys would or could forget about. Jasper had gone out with a few other of his squadmates to deliver some supplies to another nearby outpost when he and the five other men disappeared. It had been an ambush that left two dead and the others injured and abandoned in the snowy tundra. It took hours for their recovery, Oliver had looked along with the other medics and shoulders. Finally, they located them. Jasper had been almost buried in snow as it fell, shot in the arm and side and suffering the cold weather as he blacked in and out of consciousness. Oliver worked hard to help him until they got back to the outpost, where Jasper luckily lived.
Both the boys hadn't really spoken about it much. Neither wanted to think about the experience or pain, especially Oliver who had spent hours looking for his best friend in the tundra. Jasper seemed okay with talking about it to anyone but Oliver or the close loved ones he spoke to over chat.
But now Jasper had to face it, he had to tell Spandel, or rather, show Spandel.
"I already asked Keily to make me an appointment to see someone to talk to," Oliver mentioned as he and Jasper tossed a small pillow back and forth. "About what happened and what we saw, did- you know I have trouble falling asleep sometimes and just- you know."
Jasper nodded, he hadn't asked Spandel to set anything up. He'd be fine adjusting back home by himself, he was okay. "I can't wait to be home" he sighed, "and be comfortable and not have to worry about anything."
Oliver hummed in response, setting the pillow back in place before leaning back in his seat. "It's crazy what happened to Lily, isn't it? I heard she's home, but still not doing too well."
"It's really sad" Jasper sighed, "but with all solutions, OrionStar can provide, I'd say she'll be all right."
The remaining hour of their ride was spent getting ready for their stop. They'd practically had been living in the passenger car. Sleeping on the uncomfortable seats and stuck locked in their little car for most of the day. They packed what little of what they had on them and cleaned up a bit, went for lunch in the dining car and before they knew it they had stopped at the station. They grabbed their bags and waiting patiently to get off the train car and wandered further into the station where most of the passenger's friends and family waited. Jasper could feel a horrible sick feeling rising in his stomach as he slowly pushed through the crowd of people at the service desk. The waiting area was in sight now and he could easily spot Keily now. He slowed his steps as Oliver hurried to catch her in a hug. Jasper hung back, trying to calm his nerves.
"I could hardly sleep last night!" Keily laughed, pressing her tears eyes into his shoulder to compose herself. "I can't believe you're home."
"It's been so long I was afraid you'd move on without me." Oliver didn't seem to mind that his watering eyes were on display, several tears leaked from his eyes and down his reddening face. "I missed you so, so, so much. I don't even know where to begin." Oliver cried, dipping into another hug.
Eventually, Oliver let go and Keily took a step back. For the first time, she looked over to Jasper with a wide smile. "I'm so happy-" her words caught in her throat before she could finish when her eyes scanned Jasper up and down. She felt Oliver place a hand on her shoulder. "I didn't know you...I mean Oliver said- but I didn't think it was…"
"Where's Spandel?" He asked, looking around.
"He went to the restroom, he should be back any second…" Keily couldn't seem to take her eyes off him. "Jasper I'm so sorry."
"It's fine, I'm not dead am I?" He let out a forced sounding laugh, his eyes scanning the room a few times. He pressed his lips together with a small trace of tears building in his eyes.
"Are you okay?" Keily touched his arm as she stepped up to his side, Oliver just behind her.
"No" He breathed, "I feel like I'm going to vomit" he admitted, "I'm such a bad person, I should've told Spandel a long time ago...I just thought it would be better in person, but it's worse isn't it?"
"It's just going to catch him off guard...a lot." Jasper gave half of a nod before he looked down with a trembling bottom lip and watery eyes.
"Don't cry" Oliver urged, rubbing his back while Keily gave him a half hug.
"Yeah, you haven't even seen Spandel yet, wait till then to cry. Don't let this ruin reunited with him."
Jasper took a moment before nodding. He held his breath for a moment before exhaling slowly and rubbing the tears away. Oliver glanced back and smiled before poking Keily to point out that Spandel was quickly scurrying up to them from behind. They stepped out of his way, watching as the grinning young man lunged at Jasper to lock his arms around him. "Jasper!" He cried with a small laugh edged with tears. "Jasper!" He tightened his arms around the shorter, his face pressed into Jasper's hair, nuzzling into him.
"Can't breath" Jasper laughed, getting Spandel to loosen his arms just enough so that he could turn his body around to face him. Spandel was looking down at him with the biggest smiled he'd ever seen. His eyes were focused on Jasper's face while one of his hands moved to cup the side of his face and ran his thumb over the faded scar on his cheek. Jasper's face went a bit red, "I know I look terrible" He laughed, "I've been living on a train the past three days."
"You look wonderful, nothing less." Spandel had shyly dipped down to kiss him, but he stopped when he noticed Jasper gnawing on his lip and his hand gripping his shirt tightly. "What's wrong?" He asked, concern filling his eyes.
Jasper shook his head, "I'm sorry."
"Whatever are you apologizing for?" Spandel moved to pull Jasper hand from his shirt and hold it. He went to grab his other but instead grasped the air. He away from jasper's face and his eyebrows knit together with concern. "Jasper" He finally breathed after a few seconds of painful silence. Jasper braced himself as he could hear the panic and stress building in the taller's tone. "Jasper, what happened?" He spoke quickly, looking back to Jasper. "Jasper!"
Oliver lightly tuned Keily's arm, "We should probably go." he began, his eyes focused on the floor. "They probably should have privacy and I really want to get home."
"Of course" Keily tore her eyes from the couple as they began to get a bit louder. She grabbed Oliver's hand and followed him outside. "Are you okay?" She asked as they settled in the car.
"I'll be okay" he muttered, "sometimes I just feel like it's my fault."
"You saved Jasper's life out there." Keily frowned.
"Yeah, but I was still too late and he lost his arm." Oliver huffed, "I should've been quicker- or I don't know."
Keily leaned over to grab his hand, "Oliver" she gave him a firm look, causing him to sigh. "It's okay to feel upset over the situation, but be realistic. It's not your fault, you did everything you were supposed to and could do, and now it's time we work on moving past everything that's happened the past three years."
"I know, I know," he muttered, "I'm sorry, I'm being difficult...sorry I kind of spoiled our reunion now."
"Oh please," Keily breathed, "it's barely noon and we have so much to do together!" She smiled, "oh, Emily wanted me to ask you if you wanted to come to Rose's Birthday tonight? You don't have to, you've only just gotten home and Emily would understand if you'd rather stay home."
"No!" Oliver quickly jumped in, "no I would love to go and see everyone and meet Rose." He smiled, "It's kind of hard to picture that Emily had a whole child while I was gone."
Lily was waiting rather impatiently for the elevator doors to slide open. She checked her watch a few times and adjusted the bag on her hip. Several rolled up papers were poking out from the open bag, some black and some white along with one rather large one was tucked under her arm. Lily closed her eyes once she was in the elevator alone. She exhaled deeply as she felt a horrible pain spread through her chest. She pressed her back against the wall and looked up at the ceiling for a moment. Sometimes it hurt worse than other times, but Lily could feel it wasn't getting any better. She felt a few tears prick her eyes and cried out in pain, dropping her papers and sliding to sit on the floor. She glared down at the counter in her wrist to see that her numbers were flickering and changing. Sometimes she wished she could just claw the damn thing out. The elevator doors opened with a ding, leaving Lily to heave herself back up and collect her things. She slowly made her way out of the building and found her car in the underground lot. She set her thinks in the back seat and began her trip back home.
She hated it, not being able to do things on her own anymore. She was never one to sit at home type, but being stuck in bed was a nightmare for her. She wanted to do things on her own, go back to work, all of it; but deep down she knew she couldn't anymore. How could she like this?
Lily gripped the steering wheel tighter as she glanced around her neighborhood and headed home. She let her eyes fall on the engagement ring on her finger, would she make it to their wedding date like this? Would they ever have kids together? Grow old at each other's side and all that jazz? Lily never really dwelled on things like that, even as a child she didn't particularly dream of a wedding or husband, but now as her counter gave her a mere two weeks to live she felt her heart swell at the thought.
A call from Valerian pulled her out of thought. She answered it quickly. "Hey, I just pulled up."
"Oh," Lily looked to see as Valerian went quiet on his line and peeked through the curtains at her. She waved and grabbed her things before getting out and heading inside. Valerian was there to take it from her and set them aside. Lily looked around the living room and to the clock with a silent sigh. "I was calling about your medicine, but you got her right in time." Valerian smiled, "do you need me to help you again?"
"Yes...please." She crossed her arms and hurried upstairs to the bedroom. Valerian wasn't far behind her after he grabbed the small box from the dining room table. It had been delivered earlier, filled with Lily's new supply for the week. Once in the room, Lily placed a cautious hand on her chest as she felt a small leap in her heart. "Sorry you have to do this" she sat down beside where Valerian was getting the three needles ready.
"It's fine, I'll help you with anything you need" he looked up with a small smile. "Ready?"
"I guess I have to be" She sighed, she still hadn't managed to bring herself to stick herself with those needles yet. Valerian glanced back at the instructions to double-check his moves as he always did. The first need was stuck into the side of her arm, leaving Lily to turn and reluctantly lift her shirt a little. Valerian checked again before letting the needle poke into her abdomen. Lastly, Valerian prepared the last shot, leaving Lily to whine slightly. "Can't we skip this one? It always hurts!"
"Trust me, if I didn't have to be poking you with all these needles I wouldn't be, but you have to. It'll help your heart." Reluctantly Lily let her leg lay across Valerians. She lifted her dress enough for Valerian to find the right place to give it to her. She winced as she watched the needle sink into the front of her thigh and had to force her eyes away. "All done" Valerian smiled, leaning to kiss her cheek before getting up to take care of the medicine and needles. Lily flopped back onto the bed for a few moments, waiting to the lingering sting of the third shot to fade slowly away.
"I have to replace my bandage, but you can start getting ready for the party now if you want. It won't take me long to get dressed."
An hour later both she and Valerian were dressed and ready to go. They were not in anything too fancy, but both were dressed nicely for Rose's little birthday dinner. Valerian carried the gift bags as they made their way up Kirron and Emily's already full driveway and to the front door. Lily was a bit slow but didn't mind. "Ready?" Valerian asked, moving to ring the doorbell. Lily hadn't seen any of their friends since she got out of the hospital. Emily had come by a few times, but Kirron hadn't made it yet and Lily hadn't invited anyone else to come.
"I guess so" She sighed, not ready for the long night ahead of her. Jasper and Oliver were home and coming too and Lily felt her head spin at the thought. She wasn't even inside yet and she felt like there were already too many people to see and talk to. As long as no one brought up her surgery issue then it would be fine, she told herself. "Let's have some fun," she stated a bit stiffly as the door opened.