Two Brothers

by Rob Warr

Chapter 9


"Mom, dad, I need to ask you something," their oldest son said one evening when Sean was sleeping over at Tim's house.

"What's up, sport?" his dad said, surprised at his sudden appearance.

He'd been in his room, alone, all afternoon since arriving from school and hadn't said more than, 'hi', since his arrival.

"Sit down, honey," his mom said directing him to a seat beside her on the couch.

"I'd rather stand, if it's okay," Patrick said looking nervous now.

"That's fine," she conceded, "What's on your mind?"

"It's about, about Sean. You know? About his condition and needing a kidney and all..."

"All right, go on..." his dad said.

"I did some research on the internet. I found out that people with Sean's blood type, 'O', can only get a transplant from someone else who has type, 'O', right?"

"Yes, that's true," Paul confirmed.

Judy was trying not to skip ahead in this conversation, but she was hoping and praying that it was leading in the right direction.

"And I'm type, 'O'," Patrick said next, causing both parents to involuntarily hold their breath, waiting for him to continue, "and...well, I just want to know, what do I need to do to, umm...give him one of my kidneys?"

Judy released her breath first, pulling in fresh clean air and feeling almost light-headed now. She was so proud of her first born at that moment that she was brought to tears.

Patrick was surprised to see the tears streaming down his mother's pretty face, but he couldn't figure out anything he'd said that was wrong, or that would cause her to cry.

"Sport, are you sure about this?" his dad said, finally breathing in a lungful of air and sitting up in his chair. He too felt a great deal of pride for his offspring, but he wanted to make sure Patrick understood exactly what was involved.

Patrick shrugged, "He's my brother. We're both the same blood type. I have two healthy kidneys, he has one bum kidney. End of story," Patrick said simply.

"You understand we're talking about surgery here, cutting you open and removing one of your kidneys. There will be time spent in the hospital, then time recuperating at home. That is if you meet all other requirements for compatibility."

Judy understood her husband's need to make sure Patrick knew what he was getting into, but she thought he might be pressing him a bit too hard. After all, there was no doubt in her mind that if the situation was reversed, Sean would be the first to offer up his kidney to his brother.

"So, let's find out then," Patrick said stubbornly, "I'll take the tests, whatever they are, and if I'm compatible then he can have a kidney. Ugh, just one question, can I decide which one to give up?"

At first Paul and Judy were stunned by his question, then a sly, shit-eating grin appeared on their son's face and they knew he was only joking.

"We'll flip a coin, how's that sound?" his dad teased.

"Umm, mom, dad, don't tell Sean yet, okay? Not till we find out for sure. I don't want him making a big deal out of it or having him be disappointed if they decide my kidneys aren't good enough, or whatever."

"Of course, but I suggest you think about this overnight and let me know in the morning," his mom said, feeling the need to give him some time to mull things over, "and if you still want to do this, I'll call Dr. Jarvis and set things up."

"I'm sure about this. I don't need any time to think about it," Patrick said stubbornly, "if it was me, and you had a kidney that would save my life, what would you do, mom, dad?"

His parents sat dumbfounded as they realized just how serious their oldest son was, and the pride they'd felt earlier was only intensified.

"Of course we would," Paul said for them both, "we're a family, and we take care of each other."

"So, see...that's just how it is. Now, if you don't mind I'm gonna go take a shower and head to bed early, of a sudden I'm tired all."

"Fine, son," Paul said, "we're very proud of you, you know that?"

"Whatever," Patrick chuckled, but even a fool could see he was genuinely pleased to have his parent's approval for a change, "I ain't no hero, I just...I'm doin' it cause it's the right thing to do. End of story. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Patty," his mom said warmly, "can I get a hug?"

"Oh, what the heck?" Patrick sighed, "Just this once," he joked as he walked over and bent down to hug his mom's neck.

"I suppose you want one too," Patrick said to his dad, but it was really him who wanted, no needed, that hug.

"I know you think you're too old and too cool to hug your dad, but I'd appreciate you making an exception just this once," his dad said smiling, "I promise I won't make it a habit."

Paul stood for his hug, and he was surprised to find his oldest son melting into him, hugging him tightly as if he never wanted to let go. Though Patrick wasn't exactly crying, Paul could hear a hitch in his breathing that said he wasn't far from tears. It was if the boy was holding on to his father as if he were a lifeline, and he continued to hold on for much longer than Paul could ever have dreamed of.

Finally pulling away he said, "There that should hold you a while," then he scampered away as his father called, 'goodnight', after him.

"Who was that?" Judy joked when she was sure Patrick was out of earshot.

"The son we raised for all those years, before the aliens got hold of him," Paul chuckled, "the son I remembered, and the one I am so damned proud of right now."

"You and me both," Judy said, "I had hoped he would volunteer on his own, but I never expected him to be so adamant about it. It's obvious he's given this a lot of thought."

"Thanks to the internet, he probably knows more about the procedure than we do. I mean, he went to all that trouble to find out the blood compatibility, I'm sure he's Googled all about it."

"I just had a thought though," Judy said looking worried, "if Patrick donates one of his good kidneys to Sean, then we'll have two sons with only one kidney. It's like we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't."

"Patrick is a normal healthy boy, there's no reason why he can't function normally for the rest of his life with one kidney. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves, lets wait for the rest of the tests and see what comes of that. There is always the slim possibility, for whatever reason, that he's not compatible."

"You're right, besides, it's his choice. He may only be 14, but I respect him enough to let him decide this, assuming it's medically safe."

"Well, we'll see what he says in the morning, and if it's still a 'GO', you call the doc and set up the tests. When you find out when the appointment is, let me know. I want to be there too."

"You're a good dad," Judy said getting up and settling into her husband's lap.

Surprised but pleased, Paul wrapped his arms around her and kissed her passionately on the lips.

"Wow, you're a really good kisser," Judy said smiling.

"I'm good at other things too, want to see?"

"If you're inviting me to go to bed with you, I accept. I may have seen all your moves before, but they never get old," she giggled.

"Follow me then, there's no better way to forget your troubles than to make love."

"Lead the way then, because right now I could use some good lovin'."

No one was surprised that Patrick's test showed him to be an ideal candidate for donating a kidney to his brother. Besides both having type 'O' blood, in all other areas including tissue typing they were a 100% match. While this was not uncommon with siblings, it was not always the case, however, it was almost as if Sean and Patrick were clones when it came to their cellular structure.

It was several days after all the test results were in that Patrick asked to have a family meeting. Sean seemed a bit surprised by the request, but lately his brother had been quite pleasant and easy to be around, and he figured this was nothing bad.

He thought a lot of Patrick's improved attitude might have to do with his condition, but he didn't talk about it much and Sean didn't encourage him to. Even with all the testing and stuff he'd gone through lately, he still didn't feel sorry for himself, or want others to do so either.

As agreed, his parent's had kept the news of Patrick's offer of being a donor their secret until all the testing was done. Even when the tissue typing had been done, Sean wasn't aware that it was Patrick's tissue he was being matched with.

Settled on the couch with his mom, their dad in his recliner, Sean waited for Patrick to begin, not quite sure whether to be worried or excited to hear what his older brother had to say.

"So, umm, mom, dad, you probably already know what this is all about, but I wanted you to be here, know? Just to make sure I got everything right."

His parents nodded. They'd actually expected Patrick to tell Sean the news in private, but they both agreed this made much more sense.

"You tell it your way, son," Paul said, and if we need to jump in, we'll be happy to do so."

Sean looked at his parents curiously. Apparently they seemed to know what was going on here, and he felt a little miffed to be just now finding out. What happened to being open and honest? he thought bitterly. But, he was willing to give everyone the benefit of a doubt. Maybe it wasn't that big a deal and he didn't need to know till now.

"So, Sean, a while back...right after you got tested and stuff the first time, I did some"

For what, porn? Sean thought grinning to himself.

"I Googled kidney transplants and all that stuff. How they decide who's a good donor, and who's not. How the blood type makes a difference, and tissue typing, and all that junk. It's pretty interesting, but kind of gross too."

"Yeah, tell me about it," Sean tittered, "I got more pin holes than a strainer."

Judy laughed, but Patrick seemed to not have heard him.

"Anyway, it turns out you and me, well...we have the same blood type, type, 'O'. And...well, to make a long story short, a person with, type 'O', can only receive a transplant from another person with that blood type."

Now Sean's head was spinning. Oh sure, he'd known that family members were usually good candidates for a transplant, that siblings were right up there on the top of the list, but never in a million years would he have ever thought Patrick would even in his wildest dreams consider doing something like that. It was enough to unnerve him and he felt a little wobbly as he waited for Patrick to continue. He was glad his mom was by his side, and instinctively he scooted closer and snuggled into her.

"I knew mom knew that we both had the same blood type, mom knows everything," he sort of chuckled, then got serious again, "and I sort of expected her to ask me about this and all, but I figured it was because she was afraid I'd say no," he said sadly, "but here's the thing. Sean, I don't hate you."

Tears were running down everyone's face now, even Paul, who was as tough as they get, but Patrick was determined to finish.

"I never did. I'm just a dumb kid with a big mouth and a lousy attitude sometimes. When I first found out you only had one kidney, I was hurt at first that mom and dad had kept that from me. I was making it about myself though. I didn't think about how it was you who had to live with that, and what that might mean. Then you got better and everyone said you were fine, that a guy could live with one kidney, no big deal, and stuff like that, and I sorta forgot about it."

"So, anyway," Patrick said, running his fingers through his long hair and looking thoughtful, "but then, you got sick again and well, I began to wonder if all that stuff about you being fine with one kidney and all was just made-up stuff to keep us 'little kids' from knowing the truth."

"I never felt like they lied to me," Sean interjected, "everyone always told me straight up how it was....even the doctors."

"Yeah, well...I see that now. I know that normally what they said was the truth, but with you it turned out differently. For some reason your one good kidney blew up, or whatever," he said, causing Sean to grin despite the painful implications of that, "So...when I found out that you were gonna need a new kidney, I got to thinking and I did some research. And that's when I found out all that stuff about blood type and stuff, but I already told you that. Dang, I'm going in circles," he said looking annoyed at himself, "So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I asked, no...I told mom and dad I wanted to give you, of my kidneys," he said softly, then quickly added, "that is if I was compatible and all."

"What? Really," Sean said looking at his parents for confirmation.

His mom smiled and nodded, and his dad gave him a wink.

"Yeah, I know, you probably don't want my stinking kidney after the way I've treated you, beats no kidney at all," Patrick joked, though there was some seriousness in his statement. Some regret that he'd been such an ass to his younger brother, "So, we did the tests, and I'm a perfect match. So...what do you say, want one of my kidneys? Cause if you don't, I can probably sell it on the black market," he teased.

"Are you sure?" Sean said in disbelief, "I mean, you do understand they're gonna cut you open and stuff...?"

"Really," Patrick said cynically, "I thought they just went in through my butthole and took it out." He laughed then, and so did Sean and his parents.

Under different circumstances his mom might have scolded him for his choice of words, but not this time.

"We could see if that's possible in your case," Sean teased back, "I'm sure that would be more painful."

"Burn!" Patrick said shaking his head.

"So, well...what can I say? I mean, thank you," Sean said, the tears flowing again, "You know I'd do the same for you...if things were the other way around?"

"Yeah, I know. It's what bros do," Patrick said wiping at his eyes, "but don't get all emotional about it. I get something out of it too. I'll have a bitchin' scar that I can tell the girls I got in a knife fight, and you'll owe me for the rest of our lives," he teased.

"And I'll always be grateful," Sean said quietly, "If you're really, really sure...then yeah, I accept your rotten old kidney," he said grinning.

"K, now that that's done, can we go for ice cream? I think I deserve it after all this drama," Patrick said grinning.

"I think this calls for a celebration," Judy Lewis said, "hot fudge sundaes or banana splits, the sky is the limit."

At school the next day, Sean gave Tim the news, and his reaction was pretty much what he'd expected. First shock, then disbelief, and finally tears of joy. Hugging Sean's neck and not caring who saw them, he jumped up and down like a little kid.

"Hey, just cause you're getting his kidney, that doesn't mean you're going to turn into a butthead like him, does it?" Tim joked.

"No, but maybe I'll become a stud like him, grow some muscles and something else, down below," he teased.

"He must really love you," Tim said once he'd released his grip on Sean, "I mean, wow, giving a body part away like that..."

"It's not like he's giving me an arm or a leg," Sean laughed, "no one will be able to see what he gave up unless they X-ray him. Or unless they see his scar, which he is def gonna tell everyone he got in a knife fight."

Tim laughed, "I might've been someone who believed him, if I didn't know better. But, now...I gotta redo my opinion of him. He must not be all bad if he wants to do this for you," then as having come to some earth-shattering revelation, he added, "Oh my god, he must...he must love you."

Sean laughed softly, "Yeah, I think he always has, probably always will. Just like I love him, it's what bros do," he said quoting Patrick.

"Man, this is so cool. So...when is the surgery...?"

The surgery was scheduled for May 14th at 7 in the morning, and both boys had been admitted to the hospital the previous afternoon for prep. They shared a room, which made perfect sense, and after the surgery they would return there to recover, and if things went well, would be going home in a couple of days. After that, both boys would have to take it easy, with full recovery sometimes taking up to six weeks.

As they lay in their hospital beds that night, the TV on with the sound down low, Sean's thoughts were a million miles away. What if I die? he wondered, will it be like in the movies where I'm floating above my dead body and wondering what the heck is going on, or will it just be like going to sleep, only I'll never wake up? And what if I survive, but Patrick dies? That actually scared Sean the most. How could he live with himself if he knew his brother died to save his life?

"Are you scared?" Patrick's voice suddenly cut through the static in Sean's brain.

"A little, you?"

"Nah, I've read a lot about this stuff. It's pretty routine. I won't even have a very big scar, which sucks..." he joked.

"I could ask them to make it bigger," Sean teased.

"That's okay, I can work with what they give me," Patrick assured him, "but seriously, don't sweat it, okay?"

"I feel better now," Sean admitted, "I know I've thanked you a dozen times already, but really...thanks, you don't know what this means to me, and I don't just mean the kidney. I mean, it's like we're getting back to where we once were, you know?"

"You're welcome. What's mine is yours," Patrick said, trying not to show just how deeply he felt about this subject, " can't have my dick," he joked.

Sean laughed, really laughed for the first time in a while, "Well, it's a nice one, but I think mine will be just as nice in a few years. I think I can wait."

"TMI," Patrick laughed, "Tell it to your boyfriend. Oh, wait, he already knows, right?"

"You mean Tim?"

"Well, yeah, unless there is someone else I don't know about," Patrick said sounding confused.

"Nah, I guess we kinda are, but we've never told anyone that. I guess not even each other," Sean said frowning, "are you okay with that, now, I mean?"

"Yeah, I guess so. I guess I always was. I just...I don't know, I was kind of an ass about it, cause that was what my friends expected me to do, and it took me awhile to figure out that I didn't want to be like them. Mom and dad were right, they did raise me bettern' that."

"It takes a lot of guts to admit that," Sean said admiringly.

"Yeah, I got lots of guts, but I'm not sharing those, just my kidney," he laughed.

"What will it be like, do you think?" Sean asked then.

"What?" Patrick said, looking confused.

"Knowing part of you is inside me and all..."

"Oh, that. Well, I really hadn't thought about it that much. Thanks for the image," he chuckled, "but seriously, it sounds kinda cool. Sort of like mom and dad must feel when they look at us and know they made us, and that we're part of them."

"Well, that's a weird way of looking at it," Sean laughed, "but, yeah, I think it will be cool too. Like no matter where I go, or what happens, a small part of you is inside me. Some people probably wouldn't understand, they might even say that was creepy, but I'll bet anyone who's ever had a transplant would understand."

"Yeah, Patrick said yawning, "Okay if I turn off the TV?"

"Huh? Oh, sure. You gonna sleep now?"

"I'm gonna try. Hopefully the nurses will leave us alone for a while."

"Yeah, I'm gonna pee one last time," Sean said getting up and heading toward the bathroom.

When he returned, Patrick was snoring softly and Sean paused long enough to watch him sleep for a moment. His face was softer when he slept, not angelic exactly, but nice. As if he was happy and at rest for a change, his inner conflicts also at rest for the time being.

At that moment Sean felt such love for his brother that it was almost overpowering. And it wasn't just because he was donating a kidney to him in the next few hours. A kidney that would make it possible for Sean to go on living and perhaps have a normal healthy life. No, it was much more. He'd always loved him, even when he was being a horrible person and picking on him all the time. And it wasn't just because he was his brother. Even though he knew he'd love him if that was the only reason, there was more. He loved Patrick for all they'd been through together, the good, the bad, and everything in between. He loved his little mannerisms, his quirks, and his attributes. He loved him for all the times he'd stood up for him when others put him down, even if he didn't ask for any thanks or expect any credit for his behavior. In fact, Sean only found out about some of those instances years later. Patrick had been his hero, even when he didn't know it. And now, now he was even more of a hero to Sean.

Sighing, he returned to his bed and lay down. He feared he'd have trouble sleeping that night, but after laying there only a few minutes, listening to his hero's soft breathing, and feeling the love in his heart radiating out to encompass them both, he soon fell into a peaceful slumber.

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