rose petal boys

rose petal boys

a community garden with no room for roses.

1,375 readers have visited this universe since The Writer's Voice created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

https://www.roleplaygateway.com/roleplay/another-year-at-fulton-university

Introduction





XXXXXXXXR O S ExxxP E T A LxxxB O Y S
XXXXXXXHeart beat pounding I said I love you, you loved me too. Where did you go? I didn't know, I didn't mean it.

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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Maddix didn’t want to leave, but a part of him said he didn’t deserve to be there. He knew what Cyrus would say if he was awake. There’s no doubt in his mind that the blonde would ask him to stay, because for all the wonderful things he was, he was also stubborn. What he didn’t expect was to hear the same from Reid James. His eyes lifted to look at the man, fully prepared to protest, but all thoughts were paralyzed the moment he sensed movement beside him,

He was met with Cyrus’ weak voice first before the baby blues fluttered open, turning to look at him. Like clockwork, the blonde asked him not to leave. The Beta forced a sad smile at the feel of Cyrus’ touch, quickly using his shirt sleeve to wipe away the remaining tears. He didn’t get much of a chance to answer before Cyrus’ body gave way to sleep. Maddox could feel the pulse steadily beating against his pinky finger as he continued to hold Cyrus’ free hand. For a short moment he’d almost forgotten they weren’t the only ones in the room, until Reid spoke again.

He took a moment to recollect his thoughts before turning his attention back to the man who had now sat across the hospital bed. He obviously wasn’t going anywhere, and expected his questions answered. Maddox was okay with giving them. It’s the least he could do. The only issue was where to even start.

”I know...but it wasn’t just a random attack…”. He moved his body so that he could face Reid, a deep breath starting off his long and possibly overdue explanation. ”Cyrus and I have uh...we’ve been seeing each other for a while. We didn’t say anything because...well, I’m sure you can imagine.” said out loud it almost sounded comical. The infamous Beta Prince and the rebellious Sigma heartthrob. Two boys’ who were meant to have nothing more than formal hellos and scattered passing glances. But the universe works in funny ways and it decided, for whatever twisted reason, to not only bring them together but also have them fall in love. Maddox couldn’t quite tell what was going through Reid’s mind and he couldn’t really blame him for thinking ill of the whole situation, so he carried on.

”Maybe we bit off more than what we could chew but, for a while everything was going just fine. Until…” he paused again, remembering the night he and Cyrus were supposed to have their first date, and how instead Maddox was given imprisonment and Cyrus was given a knife in the back. ”I don’t know if you’ve had the misfortune of meeting the man that calls himself my father, but...he’s the type of person to get what he wants no matter the means.” he let a moment of silence pass by, giving Reid a few seconds to process everything he’d been told until now. Maddox knew he was a smart man, and it would only be a matter of time before he began to connect the dots. ”He tried to paint me as the bad guy. In exchange for Cyrus’ safety I...was supposed to play the role of the heartless Beta that only used him and then disappeared…”

Maddox’ gaze slowly switched over to Cyrus’ sleeping figure, the memories of that phone call and how heartbroken Cyrus had sounded on the other end of the line still stung like fresh wounds. Tears began to threaten Maddox’ already bloodshot eyes, but he forced them down with a subtle clearing of his throat. ”Idealy...Cy would come to hate my guts and move on and...It almost worked… but I was selfish.” he carefully turned his head back towards Reid, completely unsure of what reaction he would get. There was very little he knew about this man, and very little that the man knew about him. For all Maddox knew, Reid James hated his guts. ”I came back to look for Cy...I told him everything. We patched things up, but...”

He carefully dug through his pant pocket and pulled out his cell phone, his thumb navigating to the message he’d received from Michael Izumi just a few hours earlier. ”I was at a work meeting so I’m not sure what happened before I got there but…” he carefully reached over, handing Reid the device so that he could read the message himself. The first rule of court was to always have “tangible evidence” to support your case. ”I think that message says it all…”. He gave Reid a moment to read and piece together the waterfall of information that had just been given to him. His thumb brushed over Cyrus’ hand as he examined every wound left behind by Michael's goons. So many thoughts faced through Maddox’ Lou ding head, but the most prominent was “why?”. Why didn’t Cyrus just take the money and leave?

You idiot...it wasn’t worth it.

”I wasn’t worth it…” the statement was almost inaudible, not meant to be said out loud. Maddox was glad Cyrus was asleep and couldn’t hear it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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Reid James realized, as he stood there and listened to Maddox explain why he felt at fault, that he knew nothing about his son. He knew about the boys that snuck out of the house when Cyrus was an older teen. He knew the Cyrus that wanted nothing to do with him and ran buck wild with his new fraternity brothers right in Reid’s face.

He didn’t know Cyrus in love. Or heartbreak. He was just getting to know this broken boy by every bruise on his chest and face, learning from the other boy in the room who called himself Cyrus’ boyfriend. A boy he knew well enough not to expect him just as broken emotionally at his son’s bedside.

As much as Reid wanted to blame Maddox for all of this, the strong urge was swallowed down by the little paternal instinct dug from inside him. It wasn’t his fault that he was born to a father capable of this, simply because his son wanted to date another boy. He wasn’t too fond of that type of relationship either, but the thought of Cyrus actually happy for once was something he would never mess with. He can see the care in Maddox’s eyes, and knew if he blamed himself for Cyrus’ pain, he had to love Cyrus.

The only thing Reid could think to reply was a simple, ”To Cyrus you are.” And then asked the younger man for alone time with Cyrus, just a father and son. He needed to think through it all, and most importantly, make sure his son healed. He would do everything he could to ensure something like this would never happen to his boy again, and ensure whoever did it would pay.

Downstairs, a distraught Jack made his way haphazardly through the hospital to his little brother, a slightly calmer but red-eyed Max in tow. They could barely sit still as they climbed floor by floor to the ICU where Cyrus’ dad directed them to. And the moment Jack saw Maddox Izumi by Cyrus’ room, he was out for blood. Max barely caught Jack’s arm before he swung for a punch, but was too late as Jack grabs the front of Maddox’s shirt and leans in real close.

”Why the fuck can’t you just leave Cy alone, huh? Had to break his heart and get him beat up?” Jack spits, and Max pulls him off of Maddox, standing in between the two because as much as he hates that this happened to Cyrus, he doesn’t want to blame Maddox until he knows the whole story.

Reid steps into the hallway, jolted by Jack’s growling. He sees the emotion filling the boy’s eyes, a side of Jack he’s never seen. ”If you’re going to stay, you need to be civil. Cyrus’ boyfriend has every right to be here as you, Jack.” Reid snaps at the boy, returning to his place in Cyrus’ room and shutting the door. Max keeps himself between Jack and Maddox, but it seems the latter is beginning to calm down.

”Is Cy gonna be okay, Maddox?” Max asks, trying to get something out of the other boy that could put his nerves at ease. He pledged with Cyrus, and to think of Cyrus in this much pain is unthinkable, especially since the other boy was his strong arm when he was a stupid freshman doing stupid things. He had to know that Cyrus would be okay, then he could find someone to blame.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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fter all was said and done, Maddox had no words left for Reid James. He simply agreed to leave the room to give him some alone time with his son. Every bad story Cyrus had ever told him about his father was now forgotten. It was more than obvious that Reid cared about Cyrus the way a father should. Something Maddox would never come to know even by chance. He got to his feet, placed a soft kiss on Cyrus' forehead, and headed out the door.

He let his back rest against the wall beside Cyrus' hospital room door, catching his breath for the first time since that text. His head too rested against the wall, eyes sliding closed as he willed himself to contain any tears that may threaten to slip out. He needed to do something, anything, to keep his mind off of Cyrus if only for the time Reid was in the room. Before he knew it, his phone had been pulled out of his pocket and his thumb was hovering over the call button under Annabelle's name. There was a moment of hesitation, and Maddox knew well enough that he wouldn't be able to lie to his best friend for long. But he needed to talk to someone about this.

"Hey Mad, everything okay?" Belle's voice traveled through the phone speaker as serene and motherly as always. Maddox gaze remained on the ceiling tiles above him as he spoke. "Yeah, everything's fine. Why do you ask?" his voice was soothed enough to convince anyone. Anyone that wasn't Annabelle that is. "Maddy please, I know you better than I know myself. You wouldn't be calling so late if everything was "fine" . A soft sigh left his mouth as he wondered just how someone could read him so easily when no one else could. There was a short pause, which Anabelle took as a signal to continue talking. "Did you and Cy have a fight?" Maddox almost laughed at the irony, wishing that Belle was right and that a fight was as bad as the situation had gotten.

"No...actually...I'm at the hospital." there was a small gasp on the other end and the sound of movement, but Maddox continued before Belle had the chance to respond. "I'm fine, but Cy...he's-" there was sudden shortness of breath that cut off Maddox' words. He could feel his insides turning just like they had the moment he'd arrived at the parking lot and saw Cyrus' still body on the ground. "Maddox what happened!". Where to start? He ran a hand through his hair, letting his eyes fall to his mud and blood covered shoes. "Apparently Michael Izumi tried to bribe him. Money in exchange for our break up...and he said no." The more times he told the story, the more Maddox wondered what made Cyrus believe he was worth this? He deserved better, that much was clear to everyone except the blonde. "I'm going to kill him Belle...I swear on what little I have left, he's going to regret everything he's ever done to anyone-"

"Wow, okay hold on! Where's Cyrus? Is he going to be okay?" the questioned circled on his mind along with the predictions the doctor and nurses had given him. He wasn't sure how to even answer. "Doctor said there's a lot of damage...broken ribs, hands...internal bleeding. Concussion. If I hadn't gotten there when I did he'd-" his voice trails off, caught by Belle's low sigh on the other end. The thought of Cyrus being so close to death leaves Maddox breathless. All he can do is stare at the ground and listen as Annabelle announces she'll be on the next flight to Miami and how there's nothing he can do or say to stop her. Eventually, the call ends with an agreement to meet at the hospital. He put his phone away and let his back slide down the wall, his body relaxing to the point of almost fallen asleep. Just as he decides to get up and go for a walk, Maddox spots Jack bulldozing his way over, followed by someone he can somewhat recognize as Max if memory serves him right.

There isn't much of a chance to react before a punch is thrown his way and Jack is holding onto his shirt collar. Any other time, Maddox would have fought back immediately, whether it'd be through a punch of his own or a sarcastic remark. Any other day but today. Today he felt like he deserved every blow Jack wanted to give him and then some. "It's fine...just let him do it." he said, voice low as he looked at Max before turning to Jack. "Go on...if you want to hit me so badly then do it. I won't fight back." he kept his hands behind his back as a way to prove his point, ignoring Reid's statement about his right to be there. He had no right to be anywhere near Cyrus.

"Maddox!" the familiar voice tumbled down the hall seconds before Oliver's face came into view. He quickly reached the group, giving the Sigmas a quick look over before turning to Maddox. "Belle told me what happened. Where is he? Is he okay?" Maddox let out a sigh, tired of not having an answer to the same question. He wanted to believe Cyrus would be okay, he wanted to believe his Cyrus was tough and would make it through this with flying colors. But the universe had never been on Maddox side, and he wouldn't dare to say it would be now. "I don't know Ollie...I don't-" he could feel the need to cry bubbling inside of his chest again, but he wasn't sure if there were any tears left in him. His fist landed on the wall beside him with a loud thud as he distanced himself from the small group, taking a seat on a nearby bench. He buried his face in his hands and closed his eyes, willing this nightmare to just be over.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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Jack was caught off guard with the Maddox that was presented to him, dirty and worn and taking any abuse that Jack threw at him. He stepped back at the fact, almost bumping into Max. He blamed Maddox for all of this, but obviously, not as much as Maddox blamed himself.

And that was what shocked him. The whole reason he didn’t want Maddox near Cyrus was because he thought he didn’t care about Cyrus. Someone who just wanted sex and didn’t mind breaking his young brother's heart. But those kind of boys don’t sit outside hospital rooms offering to be hit, blaming himself for every bruise and wound. That was enough for Jack to calm down slightly, no reply to Maddox’s offer as one of the younger Beta brothers, obviously someone close to Maddox, pushes past them and over to Maddox.

Jack just watches with wide eyes as Maddox punches the wall and then sits away from them, hiding his face in his hands. Reid said… a lot of bleeding and broken bones. But he’s still here, and the Cyrus James I know is a tough fucking bastard,” Jack finally says, both to Max and the new Beta joining them, turning towards the window to look at Cyrus laying in the bed. His eyes burned with tears, knowing there was nothing he could do to fix Cyrus, he just had to rest and heal.

Inside, Cyrus found himself woken again by the pain, his first glimpse is not Maddox all dirty and bloodied at his side, but his father. He wasn’t sure if he expected Reid to come, but for once, he was very glad to see his father.

Cyrus reaches out, half shaking fingers reaching out and landing softly on the older man’s thigh, the closest thing he can reach. Reid’s eyes meet his own, red ringed and hurting. Reid takes Cyrus’ hand in both of his, tears brimming at his eyes again. ”I… please don’t scare me like that. I can’t lose you too, Cyrus,” Reid whispers, his voice betraying his tears. Cyrus squeezes his hand as hard as he can, but Reid barely feels it. He can already see Cyrus fading again, so he takes all of this moment.

Cyrus opens his mouth, the rough voice scraping through his lips. ”I couldn’t lose Maddox. I’d rather die.” Cyrus pushes for every word, but the love he has for Maddox makes every word count. Even as he winces in pain with simple movements, Reid could tell the pain was nothing to what the boy would have experienced letting Maddox go. Being unable to love the love of his life.

Reid runs a hand through Cyrus’ hair, “rest more. Maddox isn’t going anywhere, and neither am I,” Reid finally replies, getting a weak smile from his son before his eyes flutter shut once again.

After everything he’s learned today, he just wanted Cyrus to be better. He hated seeing Cyrus like this, and the emotional young men outside weren’t better. He promised to help Cyrus heal, and then make sure Michael Izumi knows exactly who he’s dealing with. And he would do better himself. If he lost Cyrus today, he wouldn’t have forgiven himself. Sure, the boy didn’t make it easy, but he threw Cyrus aside without a second thought and didn’t try to be a good father for him. He wouldn’t take the chance again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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The voices of the guys discussing Cyrus' state sounded as if they were miles away from where Maddox sat, despite them being at just a few inches of distance. So many thoughts raced through the Beta's head, but the one that cycled the most was the silent plea for Cyrus not to leave him. He caught the tail end of Jack's statement about Cyrus being tough, and though he agreed and knew this to be true, it didn't make him feel any better. He ran his hands through his dirt matted hair letting his eyes slide open the moment he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"As much as I hate to agree with a SIgma, he's right Mad...". Maddox' bloodshot eyes met Oliver's golden browns. Their usual bright and energetic tint now replaced with a dull blanket of worry. Maddox didn't even dare to look over in Jack's direction but instead opted to keep his gaze focused on the tiles beneath his feet as Oliver continued to talk. "Why don't you go home and get cleaning up?" Maddox didn't allow much time for Oliver to say anything else as he immediately shook his head. He had no plans of going anywhere so long as Cyrus was still unconscious. "I'm serious, Maddy, you need rest too-"

"I'm not leaving, Oliver."[/b] his head was finally lifted, his dark eyes displaying every ounce of pain, guilt and anger he felt. [color=#ed2939]"As long as he's still unconscious, I won't be going anywhere." the way his words were said resembled that of a Beta president giving his brothers orders. He'd never been the type to boss Oliver around, even as his Big, but this was something that was not up for negotiation.

A quiet sigh left the younger Bet as he took a seat beside him, hand still placed firmly on his shoulder. There had been many times before where a situation like this had happened, the only difference being Maddox was usually the one giving Oliver a talk or some form of advice after the younger found himself knee dip in shit he couldn't find his way out of. The tables had now turned, but Maddox wasn't sure Oliver knew just how deep in his big brother was. "I know you better than you think Maddox" the younger stated, his voice significantly more calm than before. "Which is why I know you're blaming yourself for this. But it's not your fault-"

"Isn't it?" Maddox' head instinctively lifted up to catch the younger Beta's gaze. There was only so many times he could hear those words before it became too many. "No, Maddox...It's not!" Maddox' eyes left Oliver's for a moment to catch Jack's gaze who'd been attentively watching from a short distance before letting sigh slip through his lips. "You can't blame yourself for what the bastard did, I mean it wasn't enough to lock you up in New York for a week so he had to go and-" as Oliver's words trailed off, so did his anger. If there was something Maddox always admired about his little it was his ability to quickly forgive, something Maddox would never be able to do. There was a short silence as Maddox let his head lean against the wall behind him, dark locks falling over his face in small clumps. Oliver didn't insist on him going home to change anymore, instead, he made sure Maddox knew he was staying and for once the Beta was thankful for his little's stubborn nature.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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The new Beta was not someone Jack or Max really recognized, but it was obvious it was someone close to Maddox. Most of the Betas looked at Maddox as a god, but this boy sounded more like an actual brother. It reminded Jack of his own brotherhood with Cyrus, especially when he was down after his incident with Maya. They both sounded stubborn too, as Maddox was refusing to leave Cyrus here. Lately, Maddox’s presence had Jack on guard and weary, but after this recent display of care and guilt for Cyrus, he was starting to realize just how much he’d misread Maddox and his feelings for Cyrus.

And now, the Casanova Beta blamed himself for every wound of Cyrus’ body. Which didn’t make sense to either of the Sigma boys. Neither of them really knew what happened when Maddox was away in New York, as Cyrus didn’t really know himself, and hadn’t even told Max yet that he was seeing Maddox again. He didn’t even have time to tell his closest brothers that the Maddox Izumi was his boyfriend. Hopefully, he would have the chance to once he healed.


”You know who did this to Cyrus?” Jack blurts out, looking at Maddox after the young Beta trails off, obviously knowing more about the situation than Jack first realized. He turns away from Cyrus’ window and towards the two Betas. ”Cyrus never told me why he forgave you for that phone call. I didn’t even know you two were anything before that. As long as I’ve known about you, you slept with Alphas and didn’t have any relationship I heard about. But obviously you care enough about him to be here, so… what happened?” Jack asks, completely honest with Maddox as he wanted the same from the other man.

Before he could get the answer he wanted, a cry came from Cyrus’ room. Jack’s head whipped over, finding Reid leaning over Cyrus and pressing desperately at one of the buttons beside Cyrus’ bed.

Cyrus had woken up as soon as the pain medication wore off, his chest burning as he tried to get oxygen into his broken nose or his bruised ribs. He immediately clutches to Reid’s hand, eyes squeezed shut to focus on anything other than pain. his eyes push back open in panic, attempting to sit up to get any more air in his chest but unable to get enough strength in his hands to move up.

The nurse rushes in, helping Reid move Cyrus up into a sitting position to breathe easier. She starts to administer the pain medication, cooing at Cyrus that everything would feel better once the medication settles in. His baby blues stare at the hands, still wide with anxiety as he waits for the medication, every second agony. ”Hang on, Cy, okay? It’ll be okay, just hang on,” Reid coos, his eyes blurring with tears.

As soon as Cy can manage a few deep breaths without the stabbing in his chest, the nurse lays him back down and he reaches for Reid’s arm. ”I want… Maddy… here. Please,” Cyrus begs through heaving breaths, his pain moving into a dullness that makes it easier to bear being awake. Seeing Maddy’s face again would make the pain attacks worth it, knowing he still had his Maddy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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It didn’t take long before Jack spoke up. Maddox had expected it, but was also mildly surprised by how much more calm the Sigma sounded considering just a few minutes ago he’d try to land a punch on him. Not that Maddox could blame the guy. If the tables were turned, he’d probably do the same. When it came down to it, he and Jack had more things in common than either of them would willingly admit. They were both stubborn as hell, hard to get along with, and would give anything in their possession to protect Cyrus from harm. Though Jack’s love for the blonde was much different than Maddox’ own, even he had to admit that it was probably just as strong.

Jack wanted answers. The same answers that probably everyone else around them wanted. Though Maddox had them, he wasn’t entirely sure he could openly share them right then and there. He knew very little about Jack, and even less about Max. As much as the two cared for Cyrus, Maddox didn’t owe any of them an explanation. The only one entitled to answers had already received them, and chosen to keep them to himself. Maddox made no attempts at responding, but instead let his head rest against the wall just like before. He fully expected to hear protests from the temperamental sigma, but was instead surprised by a loud cry coming from Cyrus’ room.

Maddox body seemed to run on autopilot as he jumped to his feet and raced to the door. Before he could make it inside, one of the nurses zoomed past him. The Beta used every ounce of power he could muster to keep himself from running to Cyrus’ side while the nurse administered the medicine. His hands balled into tight fists as he watched, every ounce of pain and guilt slowly turning into anger. He felt a hand on his shoulder, one he could only assumed was Oliver’s but couldn’t take his eyes away from Cyrus long enough to look.

After a few agonizing moments, Cyrus’ cries of pain dulled down into silence. The nurse and Reid help him to settled back down into his bed and Maddox mentally prepared himself to leave the room again, assuming Cyrus would fall back into a deep sleep. Instead, he was treated by a weak yet still as familiar voice. ”I want… Maddy… here. Please,”

Maddox body was moving before his thoughts could catch up to it. He took a seat in the same chair he’d spent hours in, his suit jacket still hanging from the back. [color=##ed2939]”Hey...I’m here.”[/color] his voice was low as he took a hold of Cyrus’ good hand, everything and everyone around them slowly becoming nothing but white noise. His deep dark browns met those baby blues he loved so much. Even behind bruises and clear signs of pain, they were still just as brilliant. ”M’not going anywhere.”. Though his eyes were free of tears, his voice betrayed him.

He kept a firm grip on the blonde’s hand, planning to leave only at his request. As everything around them slowly came back into focus, Maddox was suddenly aware of all pairs on eyes on them. More specifically, on him. This wasn’t exactly the ideal way he’d planned on telling others about their relationship, but saving face was the least of the Beta’s worries at the moment. His eyes only looked toward Cyrus, his gaze a silent plea for him to fight and make it out of this. To return to the happy, healthy Cyrus he so desperately wants to be with.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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The first time Cyrus accepted he had a crush, he immediately thought of breaking their agreement off.

He knew who Maddox Izumi was at this point. Although he found glimpses of private affection, he knew that Maddox didn’t want to date anyone, especially some boy he’d been fucking around with. Cyrus didn’t even know how he fell for Maddox so hard, but he was stuck and only the image of Maddox standing in his own doorway, waiting for Cyrus for their private night to pursue, was what kept him there. He imaged Maddox waiting all day for him to get there, and he was a fool for that.

That Cyrus would not have imagined in his wildest dreams having Maddox Izumi at his beside while he healed from an attack orchestrated by Michael Izumi. He couldn’t have pictured this dirty, still blood stained Maddox sitting by his side, shedding all the tears he had for Cyrus.

That made Cyrus cling to Maddox’s hand with all the strength he can muster, which still isn’t much. His head still spun from the lack of oxygen, but he would fight to stay awake, if only to be here with Maddox. He needed Maddox here, with him.

He knew the other boy blamed himself for all of this. Even when he came to Cyrus’ side in the parking garage, those dark brown eyes he loved so much were stained with guilt. Before he lost consciousness in the ambulance, Maddox was thinking about how he could have prevented this, it was written all over his face. But Cyrus thought of the last night they were really together.

It helped manage the pain, thinking that he hadn’t lies to Maddox. They had all the time in the world for each other, and Cyrus would fight for every painful breath to hear Maddox finally say he loves Cyrus. He knew that Maddox did, especially after everything that happened in the last few hours. But he still yearned to hear it, and would heal solely to hear him say those three words.

”I’m not… letting you,” Cyrus answers with as much sass as he can muster, a weak smirk forming on his face. He takes a moment to breathe as deeply as he can, ignoring the stabbing in his chest from the broken rib. He turns his head towards his window, noticing Jack and Max and who he believed to be Maddox’s little but he couldn’t quite remember his name. But with Reid leaving them alone once the pain medicine kicked in, Cyrus wanted his alone time with Maddox.

He sits up slightly, wincing and forcing out a small grunt but needing to be more alert. ”I know… you’re blaming yourself… but,” Cyrus starts, his voice still rough and having to breathe heavily in between, but determined to have some form of conversation with Maddox. ”I don’t. I know you’re… stubborn, but listen… to me… for once.” Cyrus manages a breathy little laugh, his thumb brushing across Maddox’s hand. He turns his head to completely look at Maddox, trying to push all his love and want for Maddy outweigh the pain he knows is clear in his baby blues.

”Honestly… the phone call hurt worse. At least… I get to keep you… I still love you… so much.” Cyrus adds, his eyes brimming slightly with warm tears.

He couldn’t handle the thought of losing Maddox to his father’s actions again. It was hard enough wondering why Maddox couldn’t look him in the eye and end things, why Maddox didn’t want him, why he was so unlovable.

This accident couldn’t compare to all the intrusive thoughts, and if it wasn’t for the revenge party, he might have lost Maddox for good. But Cyrus wouldn’t let Michael Izumi win. He would have to kill Cyrus to keep him away from Maddox, and he wouldn’t get close enough to the chance of doing it again.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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Even in all his bruised and battered glory, Cyrus still managed to bring out a glimpse of his usual self. Though the blonde tried to force a smile and speak as if he felt nothing, Maddox knew him well enough to know he was probably still in agonizing pain. He kept a firm grip of his hand, his dark eyes watching Cyrus’ every movement. He wanted to protest, to tell Cyrus it was okay to rest and that he’d be here when he woke up again but found it useless. Not only would Cyrus not listen and do as he pleased anyway, but the selfish part of Maddox wanted, needed, to see him awake and hear his voice even if just for a little while.

After all the tears shed, Maddox' eyes seemed to have none left. He felt the sting of Cyrus’ words as he said he wasn’t the one to blame for what happened. It’s all he’d been hearing all night, from countless people, yet the more he heard it the more he felt it be false. It took everything in him to not disagree with Cyrus and simply nod. Because as much as he blamed himself for this, he also knew it was irrational to take all the blame when Michael Izumi had most of it. It was this thought that had slowly pushed away his guilt, if only for the moment, and made way for rage. Every ounce of Maddox’ blood burned with the need to see Michael Izumi destroyed and nothing would be more satisfying than doing it himself.

The remainder of the phone call he’d been forced to make, the lies he’d had to tell, the way he’d broken the heart of the only person that truly ever loved him only fueled the flames. His eyes were dried from tears, deeper and darker than ever the moment they met Cyrus’, but the second he heard those words from the blonde again, he could feel his boiling need for revenge simmer down into a dull sting tucked away in the back of his mind. His eyes, still lined with every dark thought he felt towards his father, made sure to hold Cyrus’ gaze as his free hand came up to meet the other. The phrase quickly took form in his head, and much to his surprise, it left his lips with a certain ease. ”I love you too…”

Maybe to people like Cyrus, who wore their heart on their sleeve and never seemed to be afraid to love, it was no big deal. To Maddox, it was the very first he’d ever said those words and meant it. And contrary to what he thought, saying it felt...incredible. It filled his dark and loveless soul with comfort rather than fear. Both his hands held onto Cyrus’ as tightly as they could without harming him while his racing thoughts paused long enough to focus solely on the man in front of him. ”I’m sorry...for not saying it before. I just never really…” his sentence trailed off as he lowered his head slightly. There were so many sides of Maddox that the outside world never got to see, so many things he’d purposely hide from those around him, even those he referred to as friends. With Cyrus, there wasn’t much left to hide. ”I’m not as brave and confident as I seem, believe it or not.” for the first time that day, Maddox’ lips eased into a small smile, a genuine one, unlike the ones he’d been feeding the meeting attendees all day.

There was no need to tell Cyrus that the confident and cold Beta Prince most knew was only a very small fraction of who Maddox Izumi really was. His words had been more for himself. A reminder that regardless of how strong he tried to be, he wasn’t superhuman. He was allowed to hurt, and fear and love just like anyone else. He was also allowed to feel anger towards the person that had made it a point to make his life a living hell. ”But I’m also not as forgiving as you…” his eyes lifted to meet Cyrus’ again, giving a glimpse of the only side of Maddox he’d yet to witness. A very dark and sinister side that wanted nothing more than to see Michael Izumi slowly rot in pain and misery.

”I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you from him and I know what you’re going to say…but I’ve had enough, Cyrus.” his voice was deeper than ever, heavy with every feeling of hatred towards his father that had accumulated over the years. Maybe Cyrus wouldn’t approve, but there was no possible way for Maddox to make him understand just how much this man had ruined him. Even if Cyrus didn’t agree, even if it made him angry, Maddox was going to give Michael Izumi what he rightfully deserved. ”I swear to you, on everything that man has ever taken from me...I will make him wish he was dead.”

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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Maddox usually didn’t spend much time analyzing Cyrus. Cyrus was hardly a closed book or a window with blackout curtains. It was usually Cyrus that spend every moment wondering what Maddox was thinking behind the mysterious smirk. Now though, those deep brown eyes were scanning every inch of Cyrus, detecting every slight flinch and wince as Cyrus struggled through the pain of being awake in his current state.

Then he couldn’t breathe again. It wasn’t the injuries in his chest, rather, the man he loved- the first one he truly loved -took his hand and told him he loved him. Using those three words he wanted to hear most.

Cyrus hadn't cried much, especially considering he was unconscious for most of it, but that causes tears to start cascading down his face. Cyrus wanted to hug him and kiss him and even scream with how much his heart pounded, but held it back to hear Maddox out. He shook his head at Maddox’s explanation, because there wasn’t a too late for them. They has all the time, no matter what Michael Izumi tried to do. ”I don’t care… you said it now... I love you,” Cyrus answers quickly, smiling softly at Maddox. He could tell that it was words he’d never really said before, waiting for when he would actually mean them. Cyrus doesn’t miss any of the love in Maddox’s eyes.

Cyrus also didn’t miss the fire burning in Maddox’s eyes as he talked about his father. A part of him wanted to be the Cyrus Maddox expected, the one who would disapprove of wanting to ruin Michael Izumi because it wouldn’t be worth it. But the more he laid here, confined to a bed as he healed agonizingly slow from painful wounds, he found that he didn’t want that. He finally believed the worry Maddox and even Belle had for him, and though he didn’t want to admit it, he was scared of the older Izumi.

And though he wouldn’t admit it, the dark eyes that met his would see right past the pain to the fear. The same fear that drowned his voice on the phone before it was knocked from his hand, and the same look as he lost consciousness in the ambulance. ”I’m sorry… for not listening…to you… or Belle,” Cyrus starts, his eyes moving down to Maddox’s chest to avoid his gaze as he spoke through his fear and guilt.

Yes, he felt guilty. He was warned and didn’t take precaution. Cyrus has always been headstrong and stubborn, and now it was his downfall. ”He hurt me… and he hurt you. So he… he needs to… be locked away. For… for a long time,” Cyrus continues, looking down to their intertwined hands and biting his lip to stop any tears. Just thinking of what happened a few hours ago made his heart race and chest constrict painfully.

”And they can’t- those men- they can’t- get away- I can’t-“ Cyrus feels his breath going away, a panicking tone moving into his voice as his fingers tighten around Maddox’s as much as possible as he tries to catch his breath. ”Please- please- we have to stop- they’ll come again- we have to-“ Cyrus finally quits trying to talk, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to control his breathing over the overwhelming fear of this happening all over again. The thoughts that Michael Izumi would orchestrate more attacks until Cyrus was finally driven away from his true love.

He was so afraid that Michael Izumi would never stop and he would never be safely happy with Maddox. The paranoia gripped him fiercely; he’d never experienced a panic of this kind, except for when his mother was dying. Cyrus didn’t want to have the same fate, and something told him nothing would stop Michael Izumi until he did just that.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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From the moment they met, Maddox had always seen Cyrus as the bravest one of the two. While Maddox feigned courage and confidence, Cyrus had it. He’d always been unafraid to fail, which Maddox assumed is what kept him in his bed, pushing his luck with the infamous Beta prince day after day, pushing his way through the heavily guarded walls until he managed to bring love out of the boy who never knew what the word even meant. Most trembled under Maddox’ cold gaze, but Cyrus always challenged it and made himself at home in Maddox' arms. If there was fear there, it certainly never showed.

Not like this…

A part of Maddox knew that the tears that ran down the blonde’s face were due to the overwhelming emotions of his feelings being returned to him just as strongly as they were given, but he also felt as if they came out of relief. Relief after fearing that the man he loved didn’t love him the same way, but finally found out he did. Maddox felt guilty for many reasons, and though Cyrus assured him that how long it’d taken him to say I love you didn’t matter, feeling like Cyrus deserved to hear it much sooner was one of them.

He kept his hands tightly latched to Cyrus’ as he allowed him some time to vent. The more he listened, the more he could feel his chest tighten. Cyrus James, his mischievous, brave little Sigma...was terrified. Maddox didn’t have to hear it put into words to know. As much as it put Maddox on constant high alert to know that Cyrus hadn’t been afraid of his father no matter how many warnings he received...he would have preferred to carry that burden a million times over and spend his days in agonizing worry big enough for the both of them than to see this...broken down and afraid version of him. Were he given the chance to choose, he would willingly take all the paranoid thoughts in the world and lived with them for the rest of his life if it meant never having to see Cyrus like this.

Maddox’ body instinctively moved onto the bed, sitting as close to Cyrus as he possibly could without disturbing his wounds. One hand stayed latched to his, while the other reached up to his cheeks, wiping away the tears that enclosed so many emotions. ”Hey, hey...listen to me-” he kept one careful hand on the blonde’s cheek, eyes locking with the sweet baby blues as he repeated a sentence he’d said a few times before, only this time with a brand new meaning. ”I’ll take care of this...I don’t want you anywhere near that man, alright?” he’d said this for the first time in Cyrus’ bedroom after a long night of drunken apologies and tears. At the time, Cyrus didn’t understand the Beta’s reasoning. Now, he understood better than anyone. ”Those guys won’t touch you ever again, and neither will he. Not as long as I’m still living and breathing…”

Every word spoken by Maddox tonight had been nothing but the raw truth and these weren't any different. Even if it killed him, Michael Izumi was going to rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life. The blaze in the Beta's eyes never burned out, but it subsided for a moment, long enough for him to lean in and place a careful but honest kiss on Cyrus' lips. Just a couple of hours prior. he was almost convinced he'd never get to do this again. But just like Jack said, Cyrus had always been a fighter, except now he had Maddox to fight along with him. And for once in his life, Maddox had something to fight for. "I love you...Cyrus James. More than you could ever imagine."

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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Cyrus had never felt a panic like this before.

After years of doing whatever he wanted and finding little consequence, he was hardly scared either. The wealth and power behind the James name was enough to keep away fear. Even the few fights he was involved in, he held his own and made sure his opponent wouldn’t try it again. As long as he was Reid James’ son, there was nothing to fear.

But this was completely different from any situation he’d ever been in. He was being hunted down for loving the only man who didn’t find him unlovable. He was attacked from all sides with no hope of defense, not only with fists but with cruel words that stuck to his brain. And he knew, even without being warned, that the moment Michael Izumi knew he survived the attack, he would be out for blood again. And that thought alone sparked his breathtaking panic.

Cyrus never allowed anyone to scare him. But he was scared, so fucking scared, of losing Maddox without being able to truly love him.

Having Maddox close was a momentary relief, a chance to catch his breath as Maddox assured him that he wouldn’t have to worry about those men or the monster he called his father. It was soothing, as Maddox was all he had for strength right now. He needed this, someone to take care of this and take care of him when it was a struggle to keep breathing.

”I love you Maddox,” Cyrus said again, but still it wasn’t enough. He wanted to say it until his lungs gave out, until the only words he knew how to say was I love you Maddox. Right now, he had to focus on getting better. He wanted to be able to sit in the courthouse when they finally arrested all the men that hurt him and watch as they were put away for the harm they did to him. They couldn’t get away with physical and mental trauma they subjected him to.

He squeezes Maddox’s hand, needing him to stay close. ”I’m glad… you were there. My mom, she was… mugged, when I was… younger. I couldn’t do… anything but… watch her die. I didn’t… want to die like that. I didn’t… want to die at all…” Cyrus adds, settling back into the bed when the fatigue starts to hit him. Knowing Maddox was there, protecting him from any tricks his father may pull while Cyrus was still recovering, soothes him more than being in a secure facility. He wanted someone who knew what this man was capable of by his side.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
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Maddox held onto Cyrus' hand as if it were the only thing keeping him afloat. He could tell the blonde was trying hard to stay awake, possibly for Maddox' sake though he hoped it was also because he wanted to. There wasn't much help he could give with the physical wounds, but if he had to reassure Cyrus time and time again that he would be there to protect him from the man that put him in the hospital, he'd use up all the air in his lungs to do so. He'd repeat it time after time until Cyrus felt secure under his care. Maddox was not invincible, not by a long shot. He'd also never had anything to fight for, nothing worse the pain and misery of facing his father. Now he did, and he would fight for Cyrus until his last breath.

Eventually, the boys outside grew impatient. Jack insisted on wanting to see Cyrus, and though Maddox would have wished to have more alone time with him, Jack had just as much of a right to be there as he did. Maybe even more so, though he'd never tell the Sigma that to his face. The moment he and his friend Max walked in, Maddox got to his feet. "I'll let them take over for a bit." he announced, though he made sure to place a careful kiss o Cyrus' head before turning to head out. He knew Cyrus would be in good hands with his Sorority brothers. Now, there was only one thing on his mind.

Reid James still stood by Cyrus' room door as Maddox came to face him. He made sure to close the door so that those inside, mainly Cyrus, wouldn't hear. "I know how to take him down." were his first words. There was no need to explain. Reid knew exactly which "he" Maddox was referring to. "I have all the proof you need to put him behind bars for the rest of his life." the hatred in Maddox' voice was more present than ever, but at this point, it made no difference. Give the recent events, he couldn't be the only one that felt this way. Maddox had the proof and legal connections, Reid had the status and power. Between the two of them, they'd make sure Maddox Izumi would rot in jail along with his goons.

That night was spent in the hospital. Oliver finally gave up on taking Maddox home to change his clothes, but instead opted to bring the change of clean clothes to him. Luckily, there was a bathroom right in Cyrus' room, which meant he could clean up without the need to leave. Admittedly, it felt nice to not be covered in blood and dirt anymore, though he would have endured it if it meant not leaving Cyrus' side. Oliver also went out of his way to bring both him and Cyrus some food, given that the hospital meals weren't exactly five-star gourmet. "The guys are asking about you, ya know?" Oliver's statement was directed at Maddox who sat in his usual spot beside Cyrus. "Especially Isaac." Maddox couldn't help but let out a quiet chuckle. He could only imagine why Isaac was making questions, and he could almost guarantee it wasn't because he was worried about Maddox. "Told them I'm not your messenger, and if they really want to know they should ask you themselves."

"Oh so that's why I've been getting so many messages you little shit." Maddox recalled his and Oliver's first meeting. They hated one another. Oliver irritated Maddox to a point he never thought possible. But over time, the two grew close until Oliver became the little brother Maddox never had. Though he was often still a brat, and a bit problematic, he was the only true friend Maddox had in the Beta house and that was worth the occasional trouble Oliver brought.

Before Maddox could respond, there was a knock at the door. When it opened, a nurse appeared first, immediately followed by a familiar face. Anabelle didn't say a word but instead rushed to Maddix to engulf him in a tight hug. He could feel her heartbeat pounding against his chest. It was probably the first time he'd seen her so...scared. "I'm sorry I got here as soon as I could." she finally spoke after breaking the hug. She then turned her attention to Cyrus, and Maddox could practically see her motherly instincts take over. "Hey sweetie...how are you feeling?".

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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Jack couldn’t really tell from outside the room, but once Maddox gave them time to be with Cyrus, he could really see the extent of damage done to his poor little brother.

Jack and Max made themselves comfortable at Cyrus’ bedside as he was starting to fade, just enough time for a quick conversation. Cyrus attempts to sit up as Jack settles beside him, but the older Sigma gently pushes him back down. ”We’ll have time to talk, Cy. You focus on getting better, and then you’re gonna tell me and Max everything, because I don’t like being in the dark when it comes to my little brother.” Jack wards off any protest from Cy, which allows the blonde to lay back into his pillows but stubbornly strain to be awake for a few moments longer.

”The last few… days have been… a whirlwind. But… I love Maddox… and that’s all that… matters.” Cyrus makes sure to get these final words out before succumbing to sleep that kept dragging him down to his healing place.

Jack and Max stayed by his side for hours, Cyrus’ words repeating in their head. The Casanova Beta, never to be tied down, had Cyrus falling head over heels, and it seems like he fell for Cyrus in the process. Maddox wasn’t giving any answers, too caught up in the guilt of bringing the attack on the blonde, and Reid James seemed just as surprised but too wrapped up in calls to lawyers to ask any questions of his own. That left them waiting for the blonde to recover and reveal the secrets he found over the past few days.

Max eventually went back to the Sigma house to update the other brothers. Cyrus was one of the prized Sigma brothers, their beloved prince and certainly the Maddox Izumi of Sigma Tau Delta fraternity. Jack couldn’t leave Cyrus, even with his father and the man he loved waiting all night on him. So he stubbornly sat at the edge of the room alone, as Maddox and his own little brother talked to each other.

Jack still remembers the first time he met Cyrus. He was a scrawny fifteen year old, but already feisty. Jack was grabbing liquor from his parents cellar and the young blonde caught him on the way out. He promised sealed lips for a taste of the stolen drinks, and the night ended with the two drunken teenagers being lectured by Jack’s mother. But they were friends since, and Jack relied on Cyrus more than he ever realized until now. He’d never had a sibling, and even if he did, they wouldn’t have come close to Cyrus. Jack was the first one Cyrus opened up to about his mother’s murder and being taken from his uncle’s custody, and Jack tried to be the family Cyrus always wanted.

Maybe that was what frustrated him about Maddox. He could give Cyrus all the love and family he wanted. Jack wasn’t attracted to Cyrus in any way, but he always wished he could somehow make him feel loved, even in a brotherly way. Maddox accomplishes this with ease; the way Cyrus looked at him and took his affection showed that for once, Cyrus felt truly lovable.

Jack must’ve dozed off at some point, because the next moment he was coherent, the girl from the coffee shop was in the room hugging Maddox. He blinks awake, sitting up in his chair as the girl speaks with Cyrus.

Cyrus spent most of the night plagued by night terrors, waking every few hours in a cold sweat screaming. Dreaming he died before the ambulance even arrived, dreaming Michael Izumi found him in the hospital, dreaming of losing Maddox again, every time he feared sleep more with the nightmare lands it was taking him to. He was thankful the next time he woke, Belle was in his room. He barely gets himself sat up when her concernsturn towards him.

Cyrus paints on a tired smile, happy to see her but still burdened by breath and staying awake through the various injuries. ”Getting better… every hour.” Cyrus answers, immediately grabbing hold of Maddox’s hand once he’s fully awake. He was still afraid, the last dream still clear in his mind, but he works the fear out of his eyes with every squeeze of Maddox’s hand. It was almost soothing to have Belle here, her motherly presence filling him with comfort. Though they barely knew each other, they were connected by the one boy who didn’t let anyone else in.

He gestures for Belle to come closer, pulling her into a hug that won’t rustle his wounds too severely so he can whisper in her ear. ”Help me… with Maddox… please? He blames himself… too much.” Cyrus asks of her, pulling away with a slightly desperate look in his eyes, and without realizing, his own guilt filling his baby blues.

He knew Maddox blamed himself from the moment the other boy kneeled beside him in the parking garage. Truthfully, Cyrus was filled with guilt himself. He was warned so many times, by Maddox, by Belle, even Michael Izumi himself, and he ignored them all because he’d always been Cyrus James the Invincible. But it was all a disguise for Cyrus James the Breakable.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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Belle took a seat at the foot of Cyrus’ bed, her eyes watching the blonde for a moment as they exchanged a knowing look. The mask of fear and desperation on Cyrus’ face when she’d pulled away from the hug somehow felt familiar. It was one she’d seen on Maddox many times before. She didn’t respond with words but made sure the blonde knew she understood his worry. Her gaze moved from Maddox and Cyrus to the other two boys sitting at the other end of the room. She knew Oliver well enough. She’d been the one to entrust Maddox’ care to the younger boy. As for the other, she recognized his face. From what she recalled, he’d been the one at the cafe a couple of days ago when Belle had her talk with Cyrus. And, if her memory served her right, he wasn’t a big fan of Maddox.

”Good looking out, Ollie.” her voice was soft and soothing as she spoke to Maddox’ little, earning a nod from the latter. From the moment Maddox first broke down in tears in her arms back in New York, Annabelle never stopped worrying for a second. She had been reluctant to leave Miami, and had it not been for her job, she would have stayed. However, since she hadn’t had much of a choice, she entrusted Oliver to inform her of everything that Maddox did and didn’t do. Granted, it was difficult given that Maddox never gave Oliver any details. But Belle knew her Japanese Cassanova well enough to guess what was going on. He never told either of them that he and Cyrus had officially patched things up, but based off of the few details Oliver gave her she could only guess that had been the case. Her theory was only confirmed the moment Maddox called her from the hospital with the news.

”And you” her gaze moved from Oliver to the curly-haired boy who’s name escaped her. [/b]”I need to have a chat with you later.”[/b] she made sure her words made it clear that it was an order, not a suggestion. Maddox couldn’t help but smirk. Leave it to Belle to take control of a room within just a few minutes of being there. ”I’m glad you came, Belle” the Latina’s red-stained lips curled into a subtle smile as she turned her attention back to Maddox and Cyrus. ”Me too. Honestly, I would have been here sooner but I had some loose ends to tie up.” There was a beat of silence during which Annabelle and Cyrus’ eyes met. She knew what she had to do, for both Cyrus and Maddox’ sake. ”Speaking of...there’s something I need to show you.” she got to her feet, taking hold of Maddox’ free hand while her eyes remained on the blonde. ”Mind if I steal your boyfriend for a moment? I’ll bring him right back!”

Maddox followed Annabelle out of the hospital room. She pulled him a little ways away from the door, around a nearby corner. Maddox would be lying if he said he wasn’t worried. On top of everything that had already happened, the possibilities of what Belle could have to show him had his nerves running wild. ”What’s going on…?” his eyes frantically searched her face for any signs of distress. They were subtle, but definitely there. ”Did something happen?” the brunette’s hand carefully landed on his arm as she shook her head. ”No, nothing like that.” she assured him, yet Maddox still had an uneasy feeling in his stomach. Before anything else was said, Belle reached into her bag and pulled out a small flash drive before carefully putting it in Maddox’ hand. ”Every insult, every threat, every single thing he did to you while you were in New York is captured on video inside this drive.”

A wide-eyed Maddox studied the small rectangle in his hands for a moment, but he wasn’t given a chance to react. Before he could speak, Belle was handing him something new. A large, yellow envelope which appeared to be filled with a formidable stack of papers. ”And here are all the dirty details of what he’s been doing behind the scenes. Falsified documents, bribes, drug trades? Did you know about that?” Maddox’ hands idly took the envelope, and he couldn’t help but let out a disturbed laugh. ”No but...at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned out to be the devil himself incarnate.”

Growing up, Maddox knew his father was capable of doing things not every businessman would. But with every day that passed since, he’d realized he didn’t even know the half of it. The things Michael Izumi had and would continue to do over the years only worsened and Maddox somehow always ended up in the crosshairs. The Beta boy quickly tucked the flash drive and envelope into his jacket. He had all the proof he needed to tear Michael Izumi to shreds, something he’d been wanting to do for so long. But now that it was a very real possibility, he was suddenly terrified. It all felt too good to be true as if the items hidden in his jacket were a ticking time bomb. ”Thanks, Belle. But...how did you even get all this? The last thing I need is him coming after you too. I can’t see any more people I love get hurt! I-”

”Maddy, breathe!” her hands gently cupped Maddox’ face, their warmth giving him the slightest comfort. ”My dad is taking care of everything. We can finally end this, and you…” she let out a breath that told Maddox a lecture was coming. In true motherly fashion, Annabelle had given Maddox his fair share of lectures over the years. More often than not, she turned out to be right. Not that he’d ever admit it to her. ”You need to stop blaming yourself for this Maddy.” And there it was, the same message he’d been hearing from the moment he’d arrived at the coffee shop parking lot. Carefully distancing himself, Maddox’ feet took him towards a small bench near the wall. ”Listen, I know you’re just trying to make me feel better.” he took a seat, lifting his gaze to continue his protest but was met with Annabelle’s hand clamped over his mouth.

”No, Maddox, you listen. For once, stop being so goddamn stubborn and listen to the people that care about you!” she let her hand drop, but Maddox kept quiet, choosing to do what she asked. Belle took a seat beside him, taking one of his hands into hers. ”I get why you feel guilty, but you and I both know that even if you hadn’t told Cyrus the truth. Even if by some miracle that man had kept his word about not hurting Cyrus, which I doubt...it wouldn’t have ended there.” As much as he didn’t want to admit it, Maddox knew she had a point. There was no guarantee that Michael Izumi would have kept his word. Someway, somehow, he would have found a loophole. He wouldn’t, he won’t stop until everything good in Maddox’ life is destroyed. ”You deserve a dad...but instead got a criminal, and that is not your fault. Okay?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Miami Regional Hospital.
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Cyrus couldn’t tell what Belle took Maddox away for, but trusted her enough not to stop her even when his heart pounded nervously the moment Maddox was away from him. Jack returned to his side once they were basically alone, taking advantage of Cyrus being awake, if only briefly.

”You scared the shit out of me, James. I feel like I barely know you anymore,” Jack finally speaks up, looking at Cyrus with more concern than he’d ever seen from Jack. And it was true; Cyrus got so consumed by everything with Maddox that he’d barely seen his brothers.

”I’m sorry. Everything happened so fast and I-“ Before Cyrus could finish, Jack reaches out and cups the side of his face, stopping Cyrus from finishing his sentence. He could see that Jack didn’t blame him at all, in fact, he felt just as guilty. Cyrus knew Jack was as much an open book as anyone could be, and he found his own blame for Cyrus’ condition. Everyone thought it was their fault for Cyrus getting hurt, but he knew it was his own fault alone, and he needed to Jack and everyone to know.

”Just talk to me, Cy.”

Where would he start? Tears brimmed to his eyes, and he turns his head from Jack, gently clutching his chest. For a moment, Jack thought it was his injuries, but Cyrus raised his hand to stop Jack when he attempted to sit up and help. ”I think I fell in love the moment I met Maddox.

“I loved the challenge. Behind locked doors, I could see how far the Casanova Beta, the womanizer, the man always with a girl on his arm, would go with me. A man from a rival fraternity who had nothing to offer but ‘just one night’. Which turned into a lot of nights of me telling myself I wasn’t foolishly in love. I didn’t know if Maddox would stop me from loving him, even if he never felt the same. He did… eventually break my heart, you know, but then, then he fixed it and he became my boyfriend and, and I told him I loved him- I always have- and his father found me, offered me money- fuck I should have- been careful- it’s my- fault-“


This was not the Cyrus James Jack knew anymore. As he took his friend in his arms, silencing his panic and comforting him, he was learning more about who his little brother was now. He’d fallen so hard for Maddox he’d forgotten he could be hurt. Jack knew the invincibility one could feel when they first fell deep in love, though Jack’s first real love ended with a glass of wine thrown in his face and never seeing Maya Wilmington again. He wouldn’t let Cyrus reach the same fate, and would make that clear to Maddox.

Once Cyrus was calmed, Jack promised that he would not let Cyrus blame himself for this any longer, and they would make sure that the real guilty people would be punished for this. Max replaces Jack at Cyrus’ side to cheer the blonde up as Jack joined Maddox and the girl in the hallway.

He did not look at Maddox with the same contempt as before, nor the girl that seemed to know more about this than Jack ever did. He first sighed, and brushed a hand through his hair. ”I’m… sorry for the way I’ve been acting towards… well, the both of you.” Jack starts, seeking to lift the weight from his heart knowing how he’d written off the two of them from the start without thinking they would have Cyrus’ best interest in mind possibly more than Jack did.

”Cyrus has given me some details about, uh, you two. After everything that’s happened, I don’t care as long as you keep him happy. I know you blame yourself, Maddox. But you need to stop, because that boy laying in the hospital bed in there loves you too much to ever blame you and believes all of this is his fault. He’s- fuckin’ panicking because of this and I- shit, I’ve never seen him-“ Jack starts to tear up himself, and turns away to brush them roughly away and take a few stabilizing breaths.

”Whoever did this, they need to pay. Not you. Not him. It’s those men that hurt him, and the man who ordered them to do it.”

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