Paul didn't know how much time he'd spent on his knees, desperately trying revive you, until the ambulance had finally arrived.
It was terrifying, to say the least. Everything had been moving so slowly - as if someone had given him all the time in the world to helplessly watch you slip away - but the moment he heard sound of sirens, the world slowly began to return to its usual pace. In the far distance, he could hear the sound of people talking and footsteps.
"H-Hey," he said, gripping your shoulders even tighter, "They're here - the medics. Please... You need to wake up,"
By that point, everything had gone back to a natural speed, but something was clearly wrong. Instead of staying a normal rate, time continued to move faster, frantically growing more and more until it was impossible for Paul to keep track of anything. All he could do was hold onto your body and pray that you'd wake up. Suddenly he felt someone place a hand on his shoulder and he risked tearing his gaze away from you and to a paramedic towering above him.
"Sir," the medic said, kneeling down beside him, "We'll take it from here,"
The man was somehow able to loosen Paul's grip on your shoulders long enough to tear you away from his grasp and move him out of the way of another medic who was pushing a stretcher in front of her. He could only watch as the two hurried to your aid, telling each other a string of incomprehensible words, which were only interrupted when the one at your head and one at your feet moved to either side of you and hooked their hands under your knees and neck. Paul kept his eyes glued to your body as they slowly lifted you off the ground placed you on the stretcher. They strapped you onto the bed and began to roll you away, still yelling instructions and words he couldn't understand. Realizing that you were growing farther away, Paul quickly rose to his feet and ran after the paramedics.
When he stepped out into the frozen outdoors, the first thing he saw was a small crowd of familiar faces gathered on the lawn, huddled together for warmth and reassurance. Slowly, their gazes left the unconscious body being wheeled away, and instead fixated on Paul. He slowed his pace long enough to watch the expressions of his closest friends - sadness, shock, confusion, frustration, even the slightest traces of fear. The stretcher rolled across the concrete with a slight rattle - the only sound powerful enough to overwhelm the clamour and sirens - as the medics made their way towards the ambulance haphazardly parked on the side of the road.
He was vaguely aware of the people trying gain his attention, but Paul simply ignored them and hurried after the stretcher. A weight settled in his stomach when he saw them open the doors to the ambulance and load you into the back of the vehicle. One of the medics stepped into the back of the ambulance while the other made their way to the driver's door, leaving Paul standing at the doors hesitantly. The one beside you looked him up and down with an apathetic expression only broken with the slightest traces of concern - it was the medic who rolled in the stretcher.
"Do you want to ride with us?" he asked, "I can't allow you to ride in the back, but you can take the passenger seat,"
Paul silently nodded his head and within seconds he was in an ambulance speeding down the streets. The driver didn't ask any questions - he was too focused on getting them to the hospital - which left Paul sitting in insufferable silence. The entire world passed by with a single glance, and yet it seemed like an eternity until they finally reached the hospital. And when they did reach the hospital, the world was once again moving too fast for Paul - he could barely gather enough sense to follow behind the medics as they rolled you into the hospital.
It was a sadistic rollercoaster of helplessness and fear.
Time only seemed to return to normal once they wheeled you into the Intensive Care Unity - at which point Paul was forced to stay in the hallway outside of your room. A single window in the door allowed him to look into the room, but the number of people swarming around you made it impossible to see what was happening. He was still stuck in the hallway by the time everyone else had finally reached hospital.
"Paul!" Kim yelled as everyone crowded around him, "What happened?!"
How could he do it? How could he describe seeing you - broken, and bloody - when he could barely think of it without breaking down.
"Paul," Hannah said, placing a hand on his shoulder, "Take a deep breath and try to calm down,"
"Okay..." he sighed, following her instructions, "She... She was in the bedroom. A-At first I just thought, maybe she was sleeping. But she wasn't breathing - her skin was pale and there was blood. She was so cold..."
There was so much more to say - so much more to tell them - but Paul couldn't bear himself to say anything else. All he could do was resort to was burying his face in his hands. He could hear people trying to comfort and console him, along with each other, but it did little to ease his mind.
They sat together in patient silence as the seconds ticked by, but seconds grew into minutes, and minutes grew into hours. Reluctantly, people began to leave, wishing you and Paul the best luck and promising that they immediately visit once you woke up, and soon Paul was left with a few others - who were all fast asleep by this point. Two and a half hours later, a woman dressed in a dark blue uniform stepped out of the room and Paul instantly rose from his seat.
"H-How is she?"
"We can't say for sure," the woman sighed, "May I ask, how do you know the patient?"
"Oh, um... I'm a friend. I was visiting to give her cough medicine,"
"I see..." she muttered before looking at the others, who had yet to stir from their sleep, "What is your name?"
"Paul. Paul Sykes,"
"Mr. Sykes, were you aware of any... bad habits that the patient may have had?"
"N-No," he answered, slowly dreading the conversation with every passing second.
"Mr. Sykes, we did some tests and we think that she was suffering from binge drinking. She had a blood-alcohol-concentration of 389 milligrams of alcohol per deciliter and her liver showed mild signs of Alcoholic Hepatitis - it's when the liver becomes inflamed,"
The doctor continued to go on and on but Paul had slowly began to fade out her voice, only picking up the occasional words: reversible damage...filter out toxins...mental illness...family history...
"Am I allowed to see her?" Paul asked once the doctor stopped talking.
"I think you'll be okay to see her," she began, "But we had to put her on some medication. Coupled with the alcohol still leaving her system, she probably won't wake up until tomorrow,"
The last part of her sentence sent a jab through his heart, but Paul simply nodded his head in understanding.
"That's alright," he muttered.
"Okay then," She opened the door and let the doctors and nurses slowly shuffle out of the room, leaving Paul and you.
"A nurse will be right outside in case anything happens," the woman continued, motioning to a man sitting where Paul once was.
"Alright," he nodded his head before the doctor walked away, closing the door behind her.
Live in my house
Slowly but steadily, Paul made his way to you, the room growing larger, darker, and emptier with every step. With the doctors and nurses now out of the room, he could properly see you, lying in the hospital bed. Perfectly still and helpless, like an injured animal. It was absolutely terrifying.
I'll be your shelter
He slowly and carefully lowered himself onto the chair beside your bed and looked to you. Your face was so calm but so unnerving at the same time, and he didn't know why. It just looked like you were sleeping. Maybe that was the reason. The doctor said you wouldn't wake up until the next day, but it looked like you could open your eyes any second now.
Just pay me back
Strange as it seemed, it was as if you could just sit up and start laughing. Despite how cruel and out-of-character it seemed, he silently hoped that was the case. He wanted to see you smile, he wanted you to wake up and tell him that it was all some convoluted prank. Anything was better than... this.
With one-thousand kisses
Paul's attention soon directed itself to the IV drip hanging by your head. His eyes traveled down the path of the plastic tube, following every curve, until it reached your arm, where a needle firmly imbedded itself under a roll of bandages. He shuddered. You weren't supposed to have needles in your arm. You weren't supposed to be in a hospital in the first place.
Be my lover
With no other options, he slowly wrapped his hands around your other hand, your skin still horribly cold. Perhaps, he could just help you a little by keeping your hands warm. As he felt your hands slip into his - as if they were molded together - a familiar group of people slowly looked through the window.
And I'll cover you
Slowly, more and more people gathered around the door, until finally there was the sound of a door softly clicking open and the unheard footsteps of a small group.
Open your door
I'll be your tenant
"Oh God," he sighed, his voice shaky and soft, "I... I should've noticed that something was wrong. Friends are also supposed to know when they need each other, but I didn't even see what was wrong,"
Don't got much baggage
To lay at your feet
"I... I don't even know if you can hear me or not," he smiled weakly, now well aware of the crowd of friends and family behind him, "But I really hope you can. Otherwise I'm just being a complete idiot,"
But sweet kisses I've got to spare
I'll be there and I'll cover you
"Well," he laughed, "We're the Yogscast, we get paid for being idiots - it's what people love? We do stupid things all the time. Being killed by Creepers, setting off Red Matter explosives..."
He smiled sadly and rubbed thumb over your knuckles
"...Get your friends hospitalized,"
I think they meant it
When they say you can't buy love
"It's my fault, isn't it?" Paul said, choking on words and barely concealed sobs. He finally let himself silently break down and let tears roll down his face. "I pushed you too far. I shouldn't have tried to force you... I should've been more understanding, but instead I just made things worse... and even then I didn't do anything to help you..."
Tears fell onto his trousers and it was getting hard to breath steady.
Now I know you can rent it
A new lease you are, my love
He slowly reached up to brush a few strands of hair out of your face and let his hand rest on your cheek for a moment. Your breath came out soft and short, but it brushed against his skin as if trying to reassure him that everything was going to be just fine. He prayed that it would.
All my life
"I know I should've seen it coming" Paul said, finally able to steady himself long enough to talk with coming completely undone, "But I wish you'd told me. I know it's not something most people want to hear, but I could've helped you. It's alright, though. I... I don't blame you,"
I've longed to discover
Something as true as this is
"Paul," Mark finally said, breaking the sobs and silence around him, "You can't just keep blaming yourself. You couldn't have known this was going to happen; none of us could. It wasn't your fault. And besides, grieving over something you couldn't help isn't going to do any good. We just have to wait and help the best we can,"
(So with a thousand sweet kisses)
(Five-hundred-twenty-five thousand-six-hundred minutes)
If you're cold and you're lonely
"It's going to be alright," Duncan smiled, "And besides. It's not like either of you are alone in this. We'll all be there to support her too,"
"Yeah," Kim laughed, "Don't act like such a martyr. It's not like you're some tragic hero,"
(I'll cover you with a thousand sweet kisses)
(Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred moments so dear)
You've got one nickel only
He quickly wiped away the last of his tears and looked to his friends, all giving him comforting smiles. A small, hopeful smile made its way onto his face as he looked at everyone.
"Thanks," he said softly, "I... I know it's not my fault. I just... feel responsible for her,"
(I'll cover you with a thousand sweet kisses)
When you're worn out and tired
Mark couldn't help but smirk at these words.
"She's going to be alright," he repeated again.
"I know," Paul answered back. He continued to smile at all of the people looking at him and you, but the moment he turned and saw you lying there, he could feel that confidence start to falter.
"Please..." he sighed, feeling his hands find their way to your's once again.
I'll cover you with a thousand sweet kisses
"Please.." he continued, tears once again building up in his eyes. You were his closest friend - the thought of seeing you so broken made something in him want to scream.
When your heart has expired
"Please... Please wake up soon!" he sobbed, burying his face into the bed.
(Oh, lover I'll cover you)
People gave him encouraging words as they patted his shoulder and back, though Paul refused to lift his head up. More than anything he wanted to simply collapse right then and there. Perhaps he could grab a few chairs from outside and make a bed for himself.
In the distance, he could hear the voice of, he could only assume, the nurse as he began to usher everybody out of the hospital - though it seemed the nurse had no issue with Paul staying by her side. It was probably for the best, though. He wasn't sure he could get much sleep - he might as well stay here with you.
I'll cover you
Aside from the sound of a pair of footsteps, the room grew quiet once again, leaving Paul to assume that he was alone except for the nurse. The thought of being alone with you was both a comfort and a looming threat, but he raised his head to check, despite his better judgement, and was surprised to see Mark standing beside him, looking down at you.
(Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand season of...)
"She asked me if I hated her," Paul muttered, "I don't hate her. I could never hate her. Not even if I wanted to,"
"I know," Mark smiled.
I'll cover you
"It's hard to hate the people you love," he continued, before giving Paul a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
As Mark walked away and out of the room, Paul thought nothing of the comment.
He really did love you.