Diego: My Fucking Father

“He’s my fucking father! What the fuck do you mean you can’t let me in?!?”

It takes over two hours of arguing with bored admins who walk away for minutes at a time; who give him cold impassive looks and tell him to “keep your voice down, there are sick people here”; who have him fill out endless paperwork and hand over identification that they don’t bother to look at before telling him he’ll have to wait outside; who pass him off to other admins who make him start everything over. In the end he and Sorrento do the only thing they can think of: they call Charlotte, who calls the hospital in the middle of the night to threaten every form of legal action in the book if they don’t let “Leonard Fucking Fontaine‘s god-given biological son!” into his hospital room.

He leaves Sorrento and Rain both pacing in the waiting room while he stomps furiously down the hall. “I’ll update you as soon as I can,” he promises before he goes.

His father is in an isolated room, several twists and turns away from the emergency ward. The mouth of the final halfway is guarded by a pair of swinging doors, their edges wrapped in rubber gaskets, and signs emblazoned with the word “BIOHAZARD” attached to each.

The door to his father’s room is closed. There’s a bright orange sign on it. “Warning: GRID.” Cold dread settles into the pit of his stomach with the weight of a boulder.

Leon looks unconscious when he enters, but his eyes flutter open when Diego touches his arm. “Hey.” The word is slightly muffled by a paper mask over his face.

“Hey,” Diego says back. He drags a stool over from the sink in the corner and perches on it. “How… um. How do you feel?”

It’s hard to tell for certain, but he thinks his father tries to smile. “Never better. Can’t you tell?” He glances down at himself, taking in the IV in his arm and his hands, which have been inserted into plastic gloves and attached to the bed rails with Velcro strips. “Clearly I’m getting the celebrity treatment.” His eyebrows fall. “Nobody will talk to me. What happened?”

“You…” He swallows. “You fainted on stage.”

His father’s eyes register confusion. “But…”

There are too many words to say; they’re a cacophony inside his head. “There’s… there’s a sign on the door. It says… they… they’re saying you have GRID.” He feels the corners of his mouth twitch down and swallows again, hard. “AIDS.”

Leon’s eyes widen over his mask, flooding with fear. Diego takes his plastic-covered hand and bows his head, and father and son commune in screaming, deafening silence.

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