Mystery diagnosis (English) APH

Hetalia AU featuring Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Lukas meets Mathias as his health starts to deteriorate. Though he just dismisses the symptoms, his brother and Mathias are worried. But finding out exactly what's wrong, and getting the right diagnosis turns out to be more complicated than just so.

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3. Chapter 3

Lukas burst through the doors and Mathias was right after him. He seemed to know where they were going, and he certainly didn’t spare a second. Mathias knew that lacking oxygen, and potentially fainting were some serious risk factors when someone had a severe asthma attack, and he was ready with his phone in his hand, if he’d need to call for an ambulance. Of course he could also just drive the boy to the hospital himself, but the paramedics would have oxygen.

He was impressed by how Lukas managed to move. He’d dislocated his knee just the day before, after all. He would have to be very sore today, and there was always the risk of it slipping out again. 

Mathias made a mental note of keeping his eyes on the other, just in case. The worried brother didn’t seem to pay any attention to the warning signs from his own body. He was solely mindful of his brother.

 

Mathias had insisted on carrying the bag, so when they found the right classroom, where Eirik was indeed collapsed up against a wall, the nurse spared no time rummaging through the thing to pull out the acute asthma inhaler. Fortunately, the boy was still conscious, if just barely. 

Before Lukas could push himself too far, Mathias sent him and apologetical smile, and kneeled next to the boy.

   “Eirik, this is Mathias, the guy you spoke to on the phone yesterday, I have your inhaler.” He twisted the thing in his hands so it made a ‘click’ sound, indicating that a dose of it had been released.
“Exhale as much as you can now, and then suck in as if your life depends on it.” He placed the inhaler just in front of the boy’s lips, then added, “which it does, because if you don’t get enough in, I’ll personally take you to the hospital so you can get hooked up to a fun machine.” It was partly a joke, but Mathias was serious, and he had intended for it to sound scary. He’d learned that in his profession. Sometimes it’s more effective to scare the patients into doing as they should, because let’s face it, they always think they know best, which they usually don’t.

 

/

 

He’d intended on being the one on the floor next to his brother, but when Mathias had sent him that look, for some reason he just stayed back and let the other run the show. He’d been ready to step in as well, but he was surprised to see how professional Mathias was. That he actually knew what he was doing.

   With his bad knee outstretched, he clumsily sat down next to his younger brother and took his hand. He squeezed it, mumbling reassuring words to indicate that he was here, everything was under control, and it was all gonna be alright. Partly to convince himself, because Eirik was all he really had left, and he was so terrified of any harm coming to him.

   His brother managed to suck in the powder and Lukas had his fingers crossed in his mind. Hoping is was going to be enough. If they had to go to the hospital, Eirik might get an anxiety attack on top of everything, and at this point, that could be dangerous.

 

Mathias placed his one hand on Eirik’s stomach and the other he used to help him hold his head up, keeping his airways free.

“You’re doing great,” his voice was stern yet oddly encouraging, “now breathe aaaall the way down into your stomach so you can feel my hand. Deeeep steady breathes. You’re going to be just fine, keep taking deeep breathes.”

   Lukas was taken aback by Mathias’s professionalism to say the least. Either he had great improvisation skills, or he’d definitely tried this before.

 

/

 

…Everything was spinning. He could feel the whole room moving, yet he could hardly feel his own body. He could sense a tingling sensation in his fingers. It was burning and very annoying. But the worst thing was the nausea. And he couldn’t think.

   He knew his brother was here, and he could hear that other guy’s voice. But he was so confused. He didn’t know what to do, but he could feel the hand on his stomach, he was told to breathe, and so he did.

Dear gods it was hard. When your brain lacks oxygen, it sorta just goes on standby. And so he used what little capacity he had left on just breathing right. There was something calming in it all. Things were spinning slower, there was some control, yet everything felt wrong and sick and he was just so nauseous, but he kept going, and his senses slowly came back.

 

/

 

They’d waited till they were sure he wasn’t go to relapse if they moved him. Waited till he was well enough to start arguing with his friend and his brother.

 

Mathias couldn’t help but feel like he was an uninvited guest. Like he was stalking their personal life from the sidelines. The brothers were close. Any idiot could see that, however much they both seemed to deny the obvious.

   But he stayed with them. He was not leaving now. He had this instinct to take care of them, look after them, and he also just wanted to get to know them better. They were odd. They just didn’t seem like people who fit in. They were those people you saw on the street and wished you knew, and now /somehow/ Mathias had managed to get himself involved. Maybe just because they’d let their guard down.

 

Eirik slammed the door of Mathias’ car shut and trudged towards their front door without another word. He wasn’t too steady on his feet yet, but he’d insisted he could walk without help.

   Lukas sighed loudly in the passenger seat, “You’re a lifesaver,” he turned his head to look Mathias in the eyes and offered him a small, pained smile. But a smile non the less. Mathias grin spread.

   “I know, right?” He was just about to open his mouth again, but Lukas beat him at it, “thank you”. Then he moved to open the door and proceeded to manoeuvre his leg out.

 

“Oh no you don’t!” Mathias still had that grin on his face when he jumped out his own door and ran around the front to offer a hand to the other. Lukas just looked up at him, unimpressed, “I can walk”.

“I can carry you”.

And he did.

 

/

 

“Mathias, what are you doing in the fridge?” Eirik had gotten his homework out again on the kitchen table. He was eyeing the man who had basically managed to put his entire head in their fridge.

   Lukas was lying on the sofa with some book. He’d quickly given up on making Mathias leave, since he was too tired to bother, and now Eirik was left watching over the strange man exploring their kitchen.

   “What does it look like? I’m going to make some lunch. Neither of you two seem very enthusiastic, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt you to eat some more-“ he was interrupted by a snort from Lukas “just remember to leave the kitchen in the state you found it in”.

“Of course, of course. Wouldn’t want to upset your perfectionism” Mathias was hiding a smile behind the door of the fridge and Eirik imagined that Lukas was rolling his eyes. Wow. What an abstract kind of tension. 

 

While Eirik had thought it was a bit early to start thinking about lunch, it turned out to take Mathias more than an hour to actually finish something. By that time, Lukas was already at his second book. Though the younger brother was quite sure he wasn’t actually paying attention to what he was reading. You could almost feel the buzz of all his thoughts in the room.

 

/

He was poking the root vegetables on his plate like a picky child. “Is my cooking /that/ bad?” Even though he was being playful, Mathias almost seemed hurt, “I figured you liked these things since you’d actually used money on it. It’s even organic. Either you don’t have any money problems, or you’re fanatics.”

   “Lukas is the fanatic,” Eirik joined in, “he refuses to buy anything but.”

 

It wasn’t true though. He didn’t doubt that whatever this weird mix was that Mathias had cooked, actually tasted well. It was just a struggle to swallow. And when he did, he could feel the stomach acid in his throat, burning, threatening to come up. 

   He’d even managed to get it down the wrong pipe once. If you think accidentally getting water or food stuck in your airways sucks, try stomach acid. 

   It’s beyond metal.

And it’ll also throw you into a coughing fit on the scale of a CF’er. [1]

 

He stood up suddenly. He heard his chair hit the floor behind him, it felt so far away.
   “…Lukas?” His brother sounded worried. He was sure Mathias looked worried as well, but he couldn’t even make out the face of the man. The nausea was getting too much to handle and he felt so wrong. He was sure he looked completely out of it. He was afraid he was going to throw up.

   His heart was absolutely racing. Pushing through his ribs. He lost his balance and was out cold before he hit the floor, hard. dead weight.

 

“Lukas!”

 

/

 

‘His heart rate is incredibly fast…’ Mathias’ mind was racing across all the knowledge he could pull from his professional life. He knew Lukas’ collapse had been due to his change of posture. From sitting to standing so quickly. He remembered it happening that first time they met as well, in the ER. Though he’d just dismissed it as being caused by the amount of pain he must had been in at the time.

   Yet it was hard for him to determine if the increase in his heart rate now was caused by standing  as well, or just some sort of anxiety kick.

 

He’d picked up the unconscious boy after taking his pulse. Frowning as he could feel his spine and shoulder blades cut into the arm around his back, the other he had placed under his knees. Like that he carried him up the stairs to his room, Eirik showing the way.

It wasn’t too uncommon to see symptoms like dizziness, fatigue and increased heart rate in very underweight young people. ‘Though more common in females..’ he mentally added, placing Lukas on top of his bedcovers, head on a pillow. He could feel Eirik’s worried stare pierce his back.

   He had assumed Lukas wouldn’t be out for long, but as exhausted as he’d probably been, it wouldn’t surprise him if he slept for a while now.

 

/

 

Eirik was leaning against the doorframe. Somehow afraid that if he entered, however absurd he knew it was to think so, something might happen. He’d always been the superstitious type. In some way that trait had always been fuelled by the stories told to him by Lukas as a kid. For worse or better. He had yet to decide.

 

   “It’s nothing to worry about, kiddo.” Mathias didn’t turn to look at him and Eirik dropped his gaze to the carpet covering the floor. They knew it was hopeless to keep it on with Eirik’s asthma and Lukas’ allergies. But nostalgia had a grip on them, and carpets felt soothing when everything else was quiet.
   Their logic had been that since they were so good at cleaning, it was alright.

 

He could feel the quite concern. It was so thick in the air, he didn't dare to breathe.

 

/

 

He’d let his gaze roam over the body in front of him. Lukas seemed so oddly at peace when he slept. No worry carved into his fine features. No pain he tried to keep hidden from everyone else.

   Maybe Lukas had let his guard down around Mathias, like so many others. Apparently he gave off a vibe of obliviousness. He’d been told many times. Thus he saw so many emotions in people, they thought no one would ever read.

 

…His face was really that of an elf. 

   He could hardly break his gaze now there were no defiant eyes challenging him. His features seemed so soft, even though they stood in high contrast to each other. His gaze alone could bring a grown man to his knees, and yet… sleeping he seemed so vulnerable.

   He let his eyes travel over Lukas’ collar bones. They nearly cut through the pale skin. One bony shoulder was showing as his shirt had slipped off a bit, and Mathias thought his body seemed so painful.

 

/

 

Eirik had promised himself he’d get some homework done. He had enough to choose from, after all. Though in the end, he’d found himself staring out into the air, listening to the silence from upstairs. He wondered what Mathias was thinking. He’d just somehow crashed into their life and made himself a part of it, like it was all just natural. To be honest, they didn’t even know anything about him.

 

Steps on the stairs alerted him and he quickly closed his textbook, taking a deep breath. Mathias was standing in the doorway, looking at him with a strained smile.

   “He just needs to rest, there’s no need for me to be here, really.” Mathias’ smile didn’t leave his lips as he collected the few things he’d left in the kitchen. “I need to get to work. After all, I have people who’re counting on me, can’t just go and blow them off, you know?” 

   His eyes joined his lips, and the smile no longer seemed strained. He blinked, leaving Eirik rather speechless. What sort of person was this man even. Why did he care so much. Did people this genuinely nice really exist? Lukas had always told him they were myths, sagas, just the like stories in the books. 

 

But Mathias did exist. 

 

/

 

He hated to leave Lukas. He really did. But the truth was, there was nothing more he could do at this point. There didn't seem to be anything really wrong with the guy, so he probably just needed some rest.

   Mathias had his work as well, after all. He had to take over for a colleague who’d had a rather long shift. “I should probably get going..”

   He gave Lukas a last glance and a quick smile, shaking his head. “I’m worrying too much about something so insignificant. Where is my professionalism going.”

 

He chuckled to himself as he descended the stairs. He should really work on not getting so caught up in the moment.

 

Eirik’s eyes found him immediately as he glanced into the kitchen. The worry was so alive in them. Mathias figured he had no right to stay any longer. He was barging into their lives without them even having a say in the matter.

 

The boy had gotten up and stood leaned against the table. He stared so intensely at the floor, as if he was trying to find the right words to express something bothering him.

   When Mathias had finished tying his boots, and put a hand on the doorknob, Eirik finally spoke up.

   “What do you even work with?”

 

The question was bigger than just those words. It was charged. Mathias understood he was asking for some sort of information. After all, neither part knew much about the other. Their lives had just happened to crash. But Mathias didn’t quite feel like letting go of them already.

   He scribbled on a piece of paper, and held the slip out for Eirik to take. “If something happens, just call me.” 

   A humble smile graced his lips as he left through the door. 

 

Honestly. He’d be honoured if they’d let him into that fairytale life of theirs. Mathias genuinely felt he could learn something from them. These were people worth getting to know. It made him feel more whole. Like he could feel his feet more firmly on the ground.

 

/

 

Eirik just started after him for a bit.

   He never did answer his question.

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

[1] A person with Cystic fibrosis

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