I'M DRUNK AND DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM. THERE'S A GIANT METAL PENGUIN IF THAT HELPS.

It was late by the time he had woken up again, calling it easy enough when the movie had started that he wouldn’t be able to keep his eyes open under the comfort of the couch and a head full of champagne ails beckoning him into a quick slumber. The house was dim, quiet, still with little sign that anyone but the two of them and their canine companion had been present, Mochi perhaps sleeping himself in the overwhelming boredom of the day as it had played out; and it ushered Connor up, seated at first, so his feet could find some grounding on the hardwood floors - feet that weren’t so elegant and dainty as they had been before falling asleep, but masculine in form, large in size, befitting of a height far more improved from the delicate lithe frame of a girl, but still slender in its own right.

Another change, another shift, but this time, there seemed something different about it; something that he attributed to normality, but until he saw himself with his own two eyes, who knew whether that was the case or not. All he knew immediately was that his hands were larger, his body was stronger, and his clothes fit that much better, hugging his shoulders as they were meant to with shorts that, if only because of how tight he had them before, seemed to dig into until he had made the effort to loosen the drawstrings.

Clothes, truly, were still an inconvenience, but at least there wasn’t the walk of some sort of shame to execute when he finally got up, taking a few more beats to locate his phone that had been left in the kitchen throughout the day. He was up once he had spied it, crossing the living room quietly to buy some privacy and clasping it quickly enough in his hand to head outside. He could talk there, check in with his mother and find out what was going on without disturbing Aiden had he joined the land of the napping though, naturally, he expected Mochi would rouse, if not rouse Aiden in the process, once he knew someone else was awake.

It was only a few rings before the line had been picked up, Connor listening to her address before he spoke up. “Eomma,” he started. “It’s been a day now, even two - are you okay? What is going on?”

There had been a problem though, something that settled heavily in his stomach in the form of dread, but what, he couldn’t say. Maybe she couldn’t hear him in the commotion of the hospital even as she stepped away from the I.C.U. or perhaps someone had been standing in a spot of dead air and that accounted for the half-connected call, but while he could hear what was going on through the receiver, Sandra, it seemed, couldn’t hear him. There were tears and upset, arguments with physicians in Korean when English slipped right out from under her tongue in the heat of the moment, and the soft murmur of reassuring voices that things would be okay - that Connor would be fine - though, by his own recollection, that simply wasn’t how things had played out.

“Eomma! I’m right here!” Connor all but shouted into the phone, but it still seemed there was no reaching her, just as there had been no reaching her in the hospital, lying in a bed in the I.C.U. with any number of tubes and monitors making sure he was alive, however unwell. It crossed the line in a loud flatline, forcing Connor to wretch the phone away from his ear and hang it up again; but what he did after that was hard to figure out. Did he pinch himself? Was he dreaming? Did he need to wake up from something? It felt as if time had stopped, and perhaps it had, Connor taking a deep breath which he held in deep as if that was the only thing grounding him in that moment.