Note-The Maryland in this is not the one currently in STP. In this, MD is a boy named Alexander. Also, Lester is my fake name for DC (Maryland and Virginia's son).
WARNING-It's about 9/11. I think that's all the warning you'll need. Settle in, folks, this is gonna be a rough one.
The meeting was to begin at 8:00 AM. New York was one of the first ones there, of coursehe always wassave for the host and the odd state or two that lived nearby to the designated city. When a meeting was held in Rhode Island, for example, Massachusetts and Connecticut were often able to arrive early if they were close to the small state's borders. Other than that, though, New York was always first or second to the meeting room.
As he pushed open the double doors leading to the conference room, New York found that he was the second to arrive, today. That was no surprise, though, because Georgia was the host and it would be bad etiquette for the host not to arrive first and have all the necessities set up. An itinerary already sat in front of each chair and a pot of coffee boiled on a small table off to the right. New York made no move toward it, though. It was probably some sub-par coffee brand and he would stick with his Starbucks, thank you very much.
The host himself sat in one of the dozens of chairs around the room, slumped down and his legs crossed out in front of him. The Southern state's attention was focused on the television that sat in the corner of the room, mounted on the wall.
"Good morning, America! Today is Tuesday, Septe"
New York cleared his throat. The other state was probably just watching that to pass the time and wait for others to show up, anyway. At the noise Georgia turned, then fumbled with the remote for a moment, shutting the TV off before standing to greet New York.
"Hey, Mike!" he said, tossing the remote onto the table, "Good to see ya'." He smiled, putting his hands in his pockets as New York found the little golden nameplate with his state name on it.
"Good to see you, too." He replied, setting his briefcase on the polished wood and taking another sip of his coffee.
"Was your flight alright?"
New York shrugged. "No different than any other time. I had to fly in last night, though, so I slept through most of it." Georgia hummed, making his way over to the coffee pot and pouring himself a cup.
"So, you're the first presenter today, right?" he asked, taking a long drink from the styrofoam cup.
"Yes, I am, and would you mind if I tested this out?" New York asked, holding up a black memory stick, "I need to make sure it works." Georgia nodded, motioning in the direction of the laptop sitting at the front of the room.
"Go on ahead."
They didn't converse any farther, and within a few minutes other states began arriving. Alabama walked in yawning, heading directly to the coffee table, and the Tennessee twins stumbled in behind him, arguing about who knew what. Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. all arrived together, as usual, being the strange family-within-a-family that they were. New Jersey walked in half asleep after them, plopping down next to New York and murmuring something about an open bar and jell-o shots before folding his arms on the table and putting his head down, to which New York rolled his eyes. By 7:50, though, a good majority of the states had arrived, and most of them even looked awake and ready to start the meeting.
" New Jersey mumbled from beside him, poking his arm and looking up at him through squinted eyes, "Can you get me a water?"
New York stared at him for a second, but then pushed out his chair and stood, heading over to the table where the coffee pot sat, a cooler of water beside it. On his way over, he felt a very distinct poke that he knew to be Massachusetts' Cape Cod, but when he whipped around to find the perpetrator, no one was there. He narrowed his eyes and continued on his way.
Upon returning to his seat he set the styrofoam cup down and patted New Jersey's shoulder. The state lifted his head and then began sipping gingerly from the cup, looking to be slightly more awake. At exactly 7:58, America burst through the door, Hollywood smile on and mug of coffee in hand like always.
"Morning all!" he exclaimed, walking right up to his seat near the front of the room. A chorus of 'Hey dad', 'Hi daddy!', and other greetings filled the room, and all the states began moving towards their seats and settling in. Within minutes, Georgia stood at the podium in front, adjusting the microphone.
"Hey y'all! I hope everyone had a good flight in. Um
New York's up first, so let's get started." He said, then moving aside a New York walked up to the podium and plugged in the memory stick he had tested earlier. When his presentation popped up in the large screen behind him the chatter in the room died down, and he began his speech.
His presentation detailed the messy election of 2000, and what steps could be taken to prevent something like it from happening again. Overall, in New York's opinion, it had gone very well. Some of the states did disagree with him, but they were able to stay civil enough to actually talk it out and not get into a fist fight in the first half hour of the meeting.
Texas was the latest person to bring up another point, and as he stood New York glanced at the clock. His presentation was only supposed to run until 8:45, so his time was just about up. Texas had brought up a good point, though, so he was sure no one would mind them running a few minutes over.
He looked back to Texas. The more he tried to focus on what the state was saying, the more he realized he couldn't hear him. He saw the other man's lips moving, but no noise was coming out of them. And there was this buzz in the back of his head
are flying way too low. Oh my go
"Holy shit!" America screamed, gripping his head as a debilitating wave of pain swept over him. When his vision cleared he was staring down at his papers on the conference table, but drops of blood had begun to gather on them.
"Dad, your nose is bleeding
"Michael!" shouted Massachusetts, darting from her seat to the front of the room, followed closely by New Jersey and Pennsylvania. New York had fallen to the floor, and now lay unmoving. "Michael
" she said his name again when she was closer, getting down onto her knees to check on him. His eyes looked closed, she found, but they were actually open slightly, just enough to see his actual eyes. His pupils darted furiously back and forth, almost vibrating, and his eyelids fluttered every few seconds. New Jersey and Pennsylvania came up behind her, also dropping down to the floor to get closer to the fallen state.
" Pennsylvania muttered, taking hold New York's fingers. Massachusetts looked down to find she was correcthis whole body was shivering in a jerky, ominous way.
"We should move him." New Jersey said, moving towards his brother's feet. Things like this didn't happen out of the blue, he knew. Somethingsomething badhad just occurred in New York. What, exactly, he wasn't sure he wanted to know. Massachusetts nodded, wiggling her arms under New York's shoulders while New Jersey supported his legs and torso. They shuffled over a few feet to an empty chair and sat him down in it, positioning him upright as if he himself had sat down.
The other states were murmuring frightfully, checking their phones for any messages from their bosses on what might be happening. New Jersey checked his, too, but nothing new was there.
"Oh my!" Pennsylvania exclaimed, digging into the pocket of her jacket for a small packet of tissues. Snapping his head back to his brother, New Jersey saw that blood had begun to run out of his nose. Pennsylvania did her best to stem the flow, but it surly didn't seem to be slowing down.
Suddenly, New York's eyes snapped open.
All three states surrounding him gasped, jerking back in shock. Pennsylvania let go of the tissue, which fluttered downward into New York's lap. He blinked up at them, a confused daze in his eyes, and then noticed the blood still running down his face.
"Wha' happen'd?" he asked, accepting the new tissue Pennsylvania offered him and pressing it to his nose. The other state shook her head.
"We don't know. We were all just listening to Lukas talk and then you fell down
Dad screamed, too, and his nose started bleeding like yours," she explained, glancing over her shoulder to where several other states had gathered around their nation, "Something must have happened in your state, and, well, it must have been pretty bad."
New York sat there for a few more seconds, trying to process what she had said. His mind was a mess; thoughts and emotions flying every which way. Finally, a thought, a memory from that morning, became clear in his mind.
"Th' news." He said, pointing in the direction he thought the television was in, "Turn id on." New Jersey looked up to a corner of the room to find that there was indeed a television mounted on the wall. The corresponding remote sat below it, so he quickly maneuvered around the other states and scattered chairs to grab it and turn it on. Once the other states caught on to what he was doing they began to shush each other, and soon silence reigned in the room.
All they found, however, was Good Morning America still playing on ABC, going through their normal programming. One of the states shouted 'Turn it to CNN!', so New Jersey glanced down at the remote and hit a few buttons.
Still nothingCNN only had commercials playing. America groaned, lifting his head to see what his states where up to.
"Give it a few minutes, guys, somethin'll show up
" he mumbled, several tissues also stuffed under his nose. Just as he finished his sentence, the commercial cut off.
For a split second, complete silence enveloped the room, all the states much too in shock to react to what they were seeing on the screen. New Jersey blinked several times and looked again, not sure what he was seeing was real.
On the screen, it was a beautiful, clear day in downtown Manhattan, save for the tower in the center of the shot that had smoke billowing out of its sides.
"Th-that can't be real!" someone cried, and, as if the floodgates had opened, chatter filled the room. Some could only mutter 'My god
' while others were on the phone immediately, trying to reach their bosses. New Jersey backed away from the mounted television. He agreedthat just couldn't be real. Someone couldn't just sneak a bomb into the World Trade Center. Theythey had fixed that!
unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center
"A plane?" said Massachusetts, scowl already forming on her face, "Who the fuck flies a plane into a tower?" No one answered her. There was no answer, really.
New Jersey turned around completely, facing his brother. New York, too, was gazing up at the screen in disbelief, Pennsylvania now holding several new tissues to his nose. New Jersey walked back over to stand next to his brother, looking down at him with worried eyes. The injured state seemed to be alert, but every other minute or so his eyes would gradually began to droop and fall out of focus, only for his head to snap back up again.
It was 8:50 AM, and all they could do was wait. They flipped back and forth between the major news stations, hearing eye witness reports thatto themconfirmed that a plane had indeed struck the tower. The haze in New York's mind only grew, and when Pennsylvania asked him to hold the tissues for her so she could call her boss he didn't even respond. She shook his shoulder lightly and called his name, and nearly a minute later he turned his head in her direction. She asked again, but the state just gazed at her with glazed over eyes. Finally, New Jersey took up the job so Pennsylvania could step away for a moment. A quiet, uneasy lull had taken over the conference room.
A loud crash caused all the states to whip their heads in the direction of the television. Delaware had moved up closer, trying to get a better look, and it seemed that he had fallen over a chair.
"T-th-th-there were people!" he shouted shakily, pointing at the screen, "Someone leapt out of the tower and fell to the ground. I-I saw it!"
More worried and alarmed murmurs filled the room and New Jersey glanced back to his brother. Still out of it, he found. New York probably hadn't even heard the other state's claim.
"Hey, don't say that!" Oklahoma said, running her fingers through her hair nervously, "It
it could have been something elsea table, or a chairthat someone used to
to break a window or something! I mean the people in the upper floors
they're probably trying to get air
" she bit her lip. There was no way to deny itnothing good could come from this.
"No! It was a person! It had to bethey must be jumping because they think they won't be saved
" Delaware trailed off sadly, gripping the edge of the table to get himself off the floor.
"Don't say that!" Oklahoma shouted, this time, "Justjust don't!" Tears began to form in her eyes, and Virginia suddenly pulled her into a hug, which she gladly returned.
"Alright, that's enough. Delaware you might be right, but let's not talk about it, okay? We'll all
we'll all find out eventually if that's really true, anyway." The older state said firmly, glancing to the TV and then back at Oklahoma. Delaware said nothing and turned back to the screen.
Minutes later it wasn't New York or America that screamed first, but Florida.
America had to bite his lip till it bled to stop himself from screaming out in pain. Another wave of mind numbing pain swept over him, and he struggled to keep conscious.
New York did not keep himself so restrained. He immediately pitched forward in his seat, fingers gripping and scratching at his head as if he was trying to get at something underneath his skull. On the actual impact he only grunted a few times, but when a ball of fire rose from the building on screen seconds later, the state screamed. It wasn't a long or even particularly loud scream, but it was enough to make the other states wince. New Yorkthe second oldest state and one that many looked up tohad, to most of them, never sounded so helpless and hurt. New Jersey, too, felt a sharp jab of pain in the back of his mind. As he kneeled down to check on his brother he realized that many of his citizens worked in those buildings, too, and he would no doubt be feeling the after effects tomorrow.
"Mike?" he mumbled, tossing the used ball of bloody tissues away and yanking a few new ones from the packet, "Mike, can you hear me?" He received no response, but he didn't really expect one, either. When he tipped his brother's head up again, though he was shocked to find that the blood had begun to drip much faster out of the his nose.
"Christ!" he exclaimed, stuffing the tissues under the other state's nose but not being quick enough to prevent some of the liquid from dripping down into his brother's suit. It didn't show much on the black, of course, but the ugly red and brown that his white dress shirt and blue tie were stained only made the situation more alarming.
New Jersey grumbled when he saw that he had missed the blood dripping down his brother's lips and chin, and reached back to the table to grab more tissues. There were only two left, and he cursed. The ones he was using would surely run out fast.
"Hey!" he shouted, addressing the whole room. The states quieted down to listen to him. "Can someone go find some medical supplies or something? Tissues aren't going to work forever, and god knows what else will happen
" he muttered the last part, but he knew that everyone else had heard it. Hawaii, Nebraska, and California volunteered to go search around the building and, with uneasy glances back to the televisionnow showing both smoldering towersthey left the room.
With a sigh, New Jersey turned back to his brother. Tears had begun to form in the other's blank, pain filled eyes, and New Jersey frowned. He didn't even want to imagine the kind of pain his brother was in, but at the same time he hated to just sit and watch the older state suffer. He knew that there was nothing more he could do, though, so he pulled one of the nearby chairs closer and sat down, still holding the reddening ball of tissues to New York's nose. He was still unresponsive, much to New Jersey's frustration, and the few wet coughs that New York gave over the next few minutes were the only sign he was still conscious. The rough motion from the coughs caused the tears to begin rolling down his cheeks, mixing with blood, and leaving New Jersey wishing that his brother would just pass out already and put himself out of his own misery.
A hand on his shoulder caused New Jersey to snap out of his thoughts.
"I'm going to call the doctor." Virginia said when New Jersey looked up to her, "George has given me his number and said he should be within the city. We might be able to get to him pretty fast." New Jersey nodded, and Virginia turned away, going to find a quieter place to speak on the phone. In the background the television played on, whatever news station they were currently tuned was calling foul play on the plane crashes. To New Jersey, there was no other explanation.
A pained groan caused the state to look back up to his brother. New York's eyes were scrunched shut, but then slowly he opened them, glancing sideways to him.
New Jersey nodded. The other state took a few shuddering breaths through his mouth, then lifted his hand to wipe at the wetness on his cheek.
"Am I" New York's body suddenly seized up, his eyes widening in shock. New Jersey furrowed his brows, but suddenly his brother began shaking his head, like he was trying to get away from something. It started off slow, but soon the speed of his movements increased and New Jersey could barely keep the tissues under his nose.
"Whatno, Mike, it's okay! It's alright, just stop moving!" he said, standing to keep a better grip. His words attracted the attention of several of the states, including Massachusetts. She moved over to them, and was shocked at New York's state.
"Jesus, Sean what's wrong with him?" she asked, wanting to move closer but afraid she would hurt or frighten the other state more at the same time.
"I don't know. He just suddenly woke up and"
"No! Stop it, get out!" New York shouted, his voice alarmed and shaking, as he lunged forward, nearly falling out of the chair. Luckily, New Jersey caught him across his chest and forced him to sit back. Massachusetts grew more worried by the second.
please! Please don't! No, don't jump! Don'tAhh!" he shouted again, reaching out a hand and then letting it fall before he gripped his head again. This time, New York thrashed around so much that his brother was forced to let go of the tissues, and they droppedsoaked with bloodinto the injured state's lap. He coughed againstill that horrible, wet soundand more flecks of dark liquid fell onto his suit.
The state continued speaking, but it was toned down to more of a mumble, a soft, panic stricken, alarmed mumble, and he occasionally raised his voice to a normal speaking level. All of the states in the room nowsave for the few taking care of Americahad their eyes on New York. Suddenly, Massachusetts gasped.
"I understand!" she exclaimed, "He wasn't talking to any of us; he was talking to the people trapped in the buildings. He can
see what they're going through
" she trailed off, a sinking feeling taking over the room. New Jersey's frown deepened and he glanced back to New Yorkthe blood from his nose was still running freely, forming almost a puddle of blood in his lap. He tipped the state's torso back up, only to have the blood run down his pale face. It was better, he supposed, then allowing his brother to sit in a puddle of it.
Thankfully, the three states that had left for medical supplies came back, bearing rolls of gauze, medical tape, and cotton balls. New Jersey snatched one of the rolls out of Nebraska's hand and unwound a fistful of it, putting that under his brother's nose and then tearing off more so Massachusetts could clean up as much blood as she could. Virginia also came back in.
"The doctor's nearby." She reported, "And he said he can set up some rooms at Piedmont Hospital. He'll call back when he's ready, and he's going to send a helicopter to pick up anyone who's injured."
"They can land a helicopter on top of an office building?" California asked, ripping some gauze for Pennsylvania to clean up America.
"The Secret Service can." Virginia replied, making her way over to New York, and the states returned to mumbling amongst themselves.
"How's he doin'?" she asked, kneeling down to look in New York's eyes. They were frantic again, darting back and forth as he continued to whisper to himself. Virginia didn't question the mumbling, so New Jersey didn't explain it to her.
"Not well, to say the least." Massachusetts said, tossing aside a wad of now blood stained gauze. Virginia took notice of the injured state's tears and reached up to wipe them off.
I don't know what to tell you
" New Jersey wasn't sure if she was talking to him or New York, but he didn't reply anyway. She wiped the teas from his other cheek, too, before pressing a soft kiss to his forehead and standing. "I'm going to check on dad." She said simply, turning to the other side of the room.
New Jersey didn't answer, only hearing her heels 'click-click' across the floor as he tipped New York's head up straight again. He kept falling forward
At the exact same time, two screams rung out in the air. One right behind New Jersey, and he and Massachusetts whipped around to find that Virginia had fallen and was clutching her chest.
The other came from nearby the television, where DC had sat down to watch the unfolding events on the screen. He, too, shouted, and then collapsed against the table nearby, his hand hovering over his shoulder but not touching it.
"Leslie!" shouted Maryland, rushing to the fallen state's side. South Carolina followed close behind and dropped to his knees next to Maryland when he was close enough. Virginia removed her hand from her cheston the left side, right below her collar boneto reveal a dark, growing spot on her shirt. All three of them gasped at the sightagain, red blood seeping through a white shirtand South Carolina called for some gauze and tape.
"Alex," Virginia mumbled, biting back her obvious pain, "Please, go check on Lester. He must have felt that, too." Maryland looked at her for a moment, then to South Carolina, then back at her. He didn't like that idea, leaving her here with the other southern state, but his son could also be in grave danger. She leaned forward a bit, but he spared her the effort of moving any farther and closed the space between them in a quick, but loving kiss.
When Maryland pulled back he immediately stood, making his way towards his son, but not before catching a very jealous look in South Carolina's eyes. North Carolina, however, soon took his place, a roll of gauze in hand.
Delaware was luckily nearby DC, and had already grabbed some gauze and tape to use after they figured out what was wrong. It was easy to tell what hurt, as DC's hand was still hovering over his shoulder, but maneuvering the capitol's trench coat and shirt off would prove to be more difficult, no doubt.
" Maryland said when he got close enough, taking hold of his son's other hand. DC looked up, eyes blown wide with panic, and Maryland felt his heart wrench. "Let's
let's try to get you fixed up, okay?" he said, trying to keep an even voice. Delaware had already tried getting the capitol to take his coat off, as he told Maryland, but to no avail. Maryland nodded and, though it took some prompting, finally got DC to stand.
The right arm of the coat was relatively easy, as it was his left shoulder that was injured. It took a great deal of convincing from both his father and Delaware to get DC to just bend his left arm out straight. The capitol groaned and bit his lip hard when he did, and Maryland almost didn't want to see what was under the thick fabric of the trench coat.
"Oh, good god
" he muttered after finally slipping the sleeve off of DC's arm. Not only had the blood seeped through the shoulder of his shirt, but had managed to also seep into the collar and halfway down the sleeve, ending at around his elbow. Delaware also gasped, and all the color had drained out of DC's face. Maryland was quick to grab his good shoulder and force him to sit back down, lest he faint and cause more trouble for them all.
"We can't get his shirt off him normally
" Delaware muttered when Maryland began unbuttoning the buttons on the dress shirt.
"Well what do you suppose we do?" the state asked, perhaps sounding a bit harsher than he had intended. Delaware didn't answer, but instead hurried over to the podium and leaned down to look inside it. He pulled something out, and then came back over, offering the pair of scissors to the worried state. Realization dawned on Maryland's face and he immediately took the object, mumbling a quick thank you as he slipped his fingers though the holes.
"Perhaps cutting up from the cuff would be best
" Maryland mumbled, assuring himself more than anything, but the state beside him nodded anyway. He took his son's still outstretched arm and slipped the blade under the fabric, making the first cut up the sleeve.
Delaware's idea turned out to work brilliantly, and soon DC's shirt was cut away from the cuff all the way up to his collar. That fact, however, didn't make finding and burned and torn open shoulder that lied under the fabric any easier.
"It's alright." Maryland said, smiling at his son and turning the capitol's face away from the wound, "Edmund will get you all bandaged up, don't worry." Maryland remained on DC's right side, a hand on the boy's left cheek to keep him from looking at his arm, while the other state was on the left, tearing off pieces of gauze to pat away the copious amount of excess blood that dripped down his arm.
The Carolinas, taking care of Virginia, found a similar wound. The edges of the injury were a horrid, burnt brown, and the blood had soaked down Virginia's front. Working together, though, with North Carolina ripping off pieces of gauze and South cleaning up the crimson fluid and then placing a large swath of it over the wound, Virginia was, physically, at least, stabilized much faster than the other three injured members of the family.
After a few minutes, DC had resigned to clenching his eyes shut and gripping his father's hand for dear life to fight off the pain. Maryland hated to see him so distressed, of course, but he was glad to feel how strong the other's grip still was. Both DC and Virginia may have been in pain, but they were a far cry from the unresponsive, yet still massively bleeding New York.
Maryland would later wish that he hadn't let his gaze wander away, because when it did his eyes fell back on the television screen, and the now gaping hole in the side of an all too familiar building. His gasp caused DC's eyes to open, and he followed his father's gaze to the screen.
"No!" he exclaimed, attracting the attention of Virginia, now sitting in a chair with South Carolina's suit jacket wrapped around her, to protect her decency. She first glanced to her son, wincing at his similar wound, but then her eyes, too, found the television screen and her jaw dropped open.
"The Pentagon! But how
?" she said, shaking her head, not wanting to believe that the smoldering mess on the screen was really one of the country's most famous and important buildings.
"Somebody must'a snuck a bomb in there!" a state behind her shouted, and her eyes widened again. The Pentagon was one of the most secure buildings; surely they could detect something of that much destructive force? The answer didn't matter now.
"But all those people!" she said, knitting her brows in concern and shaking her head once more, "All those people
" she trailed off, her gaze still locked on the screen as the news station confirmed that it was not a bomb, but a plane that had struck the building, seemingly on purpose. Suddenly, though, a thought dawned in Virginia's mind and she gripped the edge of the table, stabilizing herself as she slowly stood up.
" South Carolina said, moving to help her, but Virginia waved her hand at him, holding the front of the suit jacket closed with her other. He stepped back, and she moved forward on shaky legs towards Maryland and DC. When the other state noticed her approaching he immediately pulled another chair up close, taking her hand as she sat down. Virginia moved their linked hands over top of DC's right one, and the capitol looked back at his mother for a moment before returning his gaze to the television, all of them watching the events unfold. Delaware finished wrapping DC's wound as best he could, and then moved away, patting Maryland on the shoulder as he passed.
At 9:58, New York started shaking. It was just like when he first collapsedhe was almost shivering, and it was only ever so slightly noticeable. New Jersey noticed it first, tugging on Massachusetts hand to get her attention. Both states just glanced at each other, as if the other had an answer, but said nothing. New Jersey looked up to the television for a split second, but only found the image of the still burning towers playing. Just as he looked away, though, out of the very corner of his eye, he thought he saw one of the towers distort or bend, he couldn't really tell. It was all in slow motion, his gaze turning back to his brother just in time to see the other's eyes widen in panic and his arms fly up to grip his head again.
He screamed. He screamed so loud that New Jersey was sure that he would die. It had happened beforestates or nations dying. They always woke up a few days later, but that didn't make the thought or experience of it any less terrifying. The way his brother was screaming, thoughand good lord he was screaming bloody murderNew Jersey thought, just for a second, that dying temporarily might have been better for New York.
It all happened in a matter of a minute, and halfway through New Jersey realized he didn't even know why the other state was screaming. He looked up, not even bothering to try and cover New York's nose, to find Massachusetts' gaze locked on to the television, so he looked up
Oh my god it was falling. Not even falling but collapsing, just collapsing floor by painful floor and leaving a cloud of dust taller than any building in New York in its place.
"How on Earth can something so big just
just fall down? That building's been there for years! It's
it's the tallest in the city, it can't be just
gone?" he heard Massachusetts say, panic obviously creeping into her mind. The thought of it was truly mind blowing. All of those millions of tons of concrete and steel and glass
where would it all go?
America, on the other side of the room, reacted similarly to New York. California and Colorado had not only been trying to patch up the wound that he had received from the Pentagon disaster, but also keeping gauze on his nose constantly when the tower began to collapse. America felt it coming and burst out of their hold, falling to the floor and screaming just as New York had, though for not as long. He convulsed, though, like he was having a seizure, as each floor pancaked atop one another, and eventually fell deathly still.
New Jersey tore his gaze away from the television as soon as the tower was out of sight, afraid of what condition he would find his brother in.
New York, like his father, lay completely still on the ground, having fallen out of the chair after his brother let go of him. His knees were curled in towards is chest and his hands were clamped over his ears, like he was trying to block out the noise around him. The state's eyes were wide open, staring blankly into nothing, and a new round of tears had already begun to pour down his cheeks. Blood continued to run freely out of his nose and onto the carpet, and he coughed every few seconds, more blood now being expelled from his mouth. The other state paled, though, when he saw the red liquid trickling out of New York's right sleeve.
" he mumbled, almost as if being quiet would make the injury go away, "Mandy." He tried again, this time a little louder. Massachusetts turned around to look at him, but her gaze almost immediately fell to the state lying on the ground. She, too, took notice of the blood that now stained New York's hand.
"Oh my god
" she mumbled, rubbing the heels of her hands into her eyes. It was all becoming too much to bear. "I don't even want to know what that is."
we need to get him sitting up again. C'mon
" New Jersey crouched down, beginning to pry his brother's hands off of his ears.
"Why don't we just leave him on the ground? He might fall back down there anywayI really don't think he can hold himself up." She said, still standing.
"If we do that he's going to swallow all of the blood coming from his nose," New Jersey said firmly, almost glaring back up at the other state, "Plus, we'll have to take his jacket and shirt off; something's up with his arm."
Massachusetts didn't argue any longer, kneeling down to tip New York's head up while the other state finally got his arm to straighten out somewhat. New Jersey motioned for her to help him lift New York into the chair, and Pennsylvania came over to assist them in the meantime.
"Goodness, it seems like it's never going to end
" she mumbled as she straightened New York's good arm and slipped it out of his suit jacket. The other two states didn't need to respondthey felt the same way. Even while removing the jacket from his bad side New York didn't make much noise, only a few grunts and whimpers when Massachusetts accidentally brushed against his blood stained shirt. They were not surprised when they found the growing patch of blood under the jacket, but at the same time horrified. What remained under the blood stained shirt itself remained a mystery.
"Hey, Edmund, where are those scissors you were using before?" New Jersey called out to the other state. Delaware quickly scampered back to the table where Maryland sat and grabbed the blade, weaving between the mess of chairs as quickly as he could to pass them off to New Jersey. Just as the other state was about to thank him, Pennsylvania cried out.
"Ahh!" She immediately gripped on to the nearest table, steadying herself so she wouldn't fall from the sudden stab in her left arm. She turned her head just slightly, not wanting to see what had happened, but caught sight of red in the corner of her eye. Steeling herself, she turned her head to find a small, burned gash in her upper arm. "What on Earth
"Izzy!" Delaware called, bounding over to her. He offered her a chair and then called for someone to bring him more gauze. "My god, it never ends, does it?" he said, pulling up a chair beside her.
Pennsylvania gazed at her wound for a moment more, and then thanked Rhode Island when he came bearing a roll of gauze and tape. "No
" she shook her head, "I suppose it doesn't." Delaware set to work tearing off a large strip of the gauze to dap away the excess blood. They didn't say anything more, leaving Pennsylvania to her thoughts. She thanked heaven as she realized that the injury didn't feel like it had affected any of her major cities. Something horrible had happened in her state, but it would have been much worse had somewhere like Philadelphia or Pittsburg been hit.
Although New Jersey worried for his sister, he remained focused on the currently more important task of caring for New York. With the scissors in hand, he grasped his brother's limp right arm and started at the shirt's cuff, snipping the fabric apart all the way up to his collar. When the strips of his shirt fluttered open, New Jersey and Massachusetts found a large, foot long gash slicing along New York's upper arm, oozing blood. Both states froze for a moment, too shocked and horrified to move. A few seconds later, though, New Jersey felt a hand on his shoulder.
try to clean him up a bit, yeah?" Massachusetts muttered sadly, offering the other state a small smile and a roll of gauze. New Jersey didn't smile back, but took the roll and a deep breath before tearing of some gauze and pressing it to the open wound. Massachusetts grabbed more gauze to hold to the injured state's nose, and then set about the task of unbuttoning New York's shirt.
"Why are you doing that?" New Jersey questioned, tossing aside the soaked strip of gauze before beginning to wind more around the gash. He felt it would never be enough, though, as it would surely bleed through eventually.
"I was thinking," she started, and the other state could see her eyes growing teary, "What if the other one falls?"
New Jersey halted his work for a moment, stunned by the frightening, but very, very possible revelation. With wide eyes he turned back to his brother's arm, trying to focus on another thought, but nothing worked. Massachusetts was unquestionably right.
Once New York's shirt had been slipped off and most of the blood around him cleaned up, there was little else for the states to do. Georgia's doctor called him back around 10:20, confirming that he had space at a nearby hospital for all those injured. The host state reported the three other injuredVirginia, DC, and Pennsylvaniaand hung up soon after. He reported the news to the rest of the states, but little was said in reply. The damage was already done to their family and country, and no doctor would ever fix that.
All of the states then just sat and waited, tending to the injured if anything was needed, but not much else could be done. A small gash had appeared on America's shoulder corresponding to whatever had occurred in Pennsylvania, but it was easily cared for in the face of his other injuries. New Jersey and Massachusetts remained to be the only two who cared for New York, but they didn't mind. Many of the others were in too much shock to move, or they were too frightened to come over and see the powerful state's horrid condition.
Massachusetts still held a ball of gauze to New York's nose, the blood flow not letting up, and the two had basically given up trying to do anything more. Nothing more could be done until New York was in a proper hospital.
Suddenly, a rather rough cough that turned into a broken sob caught both state's attention.
New York blinked once slowly, and then several more times. New Jersey leaned in closer, trying to get a look at his eyes to see if they were actually focused, and they were. Those blue, blue eyes darted around for a moment, catching sight of both states caring for him, and suddenly they moved closer, so he could see both of them without looking different ways.
"Michael?" Massachusetts said softly, reaching a hand forward to sweep some of his hair, dampened with sweat and blood, out of his eyes. New York only sat there, blinking a few more times before he took a shuddering breath.
"M-Mandy?" he asked, voice shaking, "Sean?" they both nodded, wondering what was going through New York's mind. Hopefully he wouldn't start screaming out to people he couldn't see like earlier, New Jersey thought.
"How're you feeling?" New Jersey asked. He knew it was a stupid question, but perhaps it would get his brother to focus on something.
" New York tried to start, but couldn't come up with anything to say. He let his gaze wander down to his right armhe felt a strange ache thereand Massachusetts' hand followed his movements.
When New York found himself looking down at a bandagehastily wrapped and now beginning to tint pinksomething clicked in the back of his mind, and it all started to come down on him. New tears leaked out of the corner of his eyes and he took in a breath that turned into a sob.
"Oh my god, why does it hurt so much? Please
m-make it stop. I don' care how, just make it stop
" he said, voice broken and shaking, and gripped hard onto the arm of the chair with his left hand. A tear fell down Massachusetts' cheek, too, and she quickly pried his hand off the leather and took it in her own, pressing her forehead into his hair. New Jersey just stared at the two at a complete loss for words, then slowly brought his right hand up to grip New York's own right hand, hanging limply off to the side. He had never seen anyone, much less his own brother, so heartbroken.
"Don't squeeze with this hand, okay? It'll only make your arm worse
He then moved around to the side of the chair and, taking one last glance at New York tears still leaking out of his now closed eyes, slipped an arm around his brother's back, pulling him slightly forward off the back of the chair. Massachusetts, with both of her hands occupied, couldn't copy New Jersey's half hug, but pressed closer to New York nonetheless.
Minutes later the shaking started again. New Jersey and Massachusetts both braced themselves for what was to come, tightening their holds on their fellow state, brother, friend, crush. They heard him take in a short, sharp breath, and then it began.
Across the room, America gasped suddenly and went stiff, but then almost immediately fell forward into his state's arms. The pain and weight of the days horrid events had finally become too much, and he lost consciousness.
New York, at first, only bit his lip and whimpered, shaking becoming more pronounced while the other states in the room began to gasp and shout at the images still playing on the screen. When he heard someone, he couldn't identify who, murmur 'It's alright
' he finally let himself go.
The scream wasjust like the previous tower's demisebloodcurdling and impossibly pained. New York began to struggle against the two holding him, but neither let go, even as a similar gash began to tear its way down his left arm.
In the background, a second cloud of dust had risen across New York City.
" Came the voice of the anchor, "
there are no words."
Some minutes laterno one knew how soon, and no one cared to knowa medical team armed with several stretchers burst into the room. New York, like America, had gone limp. New Jersey and Massachusetts finally pulled away, and were glad to see that he had. At least he was out of his misery, now. Two men of the medical team quickly approached them with a stretcher and loaded New York on, pressing a cloth to his open wound to try and stem the flow. America was also lifted onto one, and the other three injured states whisked out of the room.
Hastily grabbing their belongings, all of the remaining states began to filter out of the room, set to carpool to the hospital and begin the long and painful recovery that lay ahead. New Jersey offered his suit jacket to Massachusetts, the front of her blouse now covered in New York's blood, and she accepted it, following the other state out of the room when he turned to leave.
The drive to the hospital was a quiet one, but they supposed the whole country was quiet, today.