**This week, we’re calling it Songfic challenge. Mine is Bruce Springsteen’s No Surrender. If you don’t know the song, you can read the lyrics here. But despite what the song is really about, here’s what I saw in my head when I listened to it again. Enjoy!**
The news was bad.
No, that’s wasn’t right, Evan silently amended. It wasn’t all bad. It just wasn’t good either. The cancer hadn’t spread, hadn’t metastasized, but it hadn’t gone away either. He’d been hopeful that this round of chemo would be what knocked it out. But after numerous rounds of tests, the truth was blatantly clear. He was still plagued with this sickness.
The doctor had delivered the news as gently as she could, laid out the options, and then left Evan and his husband alone to talk. Not that either Evan or Cooper had said a word since she left ten minutes ago. Evan couldn’t even look at his husband. Married only for six months before Evan started feeling poorly, they had received the diagnosis two months later. Six weeks of chemo later, and Evan had wanted to hear that he was in remission.
Instead, he was faced with a choice. He could do nothing and let the disease take its course. Or he could go through a round of much more aggressive chemo. To the casual observer, it didn’t seem like much of a choice. But Evan had spent six weeks so violently ill that he didn’t know if he had the strength to go through it again, especially because it promised to be even worse.
He didn’t know if he could to that to Cooper. Cooper had been so loving and supportive, but how could Evan put him through another round of this? Where Cooper had to take care of him, clean him up when he couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time, or when he vomited all over the sheets. Watching Cooper worry and fret when Evan couldn’t eat and could barely sleep. How was it fair to Cooper to be saddled with that, all for the just a chance that Evan might go into remission?
“Ev,” Cooper’s deep voice rumbled, shocking him. Evan looked up to see Cooper’s dark gaze fixed intently on him. “We made a promise. Remember?”
Cooper always knew what Evan was thinking. Even now, it almost brought a smile to Evan’s face. He wasn’t sure how Cooper could look at him with so much love in his eyes after all of this, but it made his heart swell. After everything, and Cooper still loved the hell out of him. Evan might have been willing to give up the fight for himself. But not for the man he loved. Evan nodded, his eyes filling with tears.
Cooper reached out and took his hand firmly between his own. “Tell me the promise.”
Evan had to swallow hard before he could answer. His voice was a little shaky, but he said the words and meant them. “No surrender.”
“I’ll go get the doctor, and we’ll get this scheduled.”
It wasn’t a question. It didn’t need to be. Evan nodded anyway before he let go of Cooper’s hand. He took a deep breath. They would fight this.
“What’re you doing?”
Evan heard Cooper’s soft voice a moment before his husband’s strong arms came around him from behind. He leaned back into the embrace, never taking his eyes from the window. He stared at the wide open country space and just smiled.
“Being thankful,” Evan answered. “We fought the battle. We won.”
Cooper’s lips were soft as they trailed along the edge of Evan’s jaw. He was still weak, he still had a lot of healing to do. But the aggressive therapy had eradicated the cancerous cells, and he was officially in remission. They’d be watching him closely for years. But Evan knew it was only a matter of time before he was hale and healthy again.
“Of course we did. There was never any doubt.” Cooper’s voice was firm, and Evan loved the conviction in his tone. A moment later, Cooper tugged him backwards toward the bed. He settled Evan beneath the covers, then turned out the overhead light. Evan loved the moment when he was wrapped up in his husband’s arms and could sleep peacefully in their bed. For months he’d been afraid that it would end. He didn’t have that fear anymore.
Evan started to drift off, warm and happy and safe. Then he felt Cooper’s lips at his ear, and a gust of breath washed over his cheek.
“No retreat, baby, and no surrender.”