Hello everyone, I've began to write a story regarding an alternative timeline of sorts, one where Freddie survived. I know that Freddie's passing still affects many of us to this day and I hope you find this to be a respectful and bittersweet tale as I've often wondered what he and the band would have done if he had not been taken so young.
Chapter One - Home
Jim stood uneasily at the door of the bedroom, cats swirling around his feet, as a doctor fussed around his sole patient. He was more of a friend of them both now than just a visiting practitioner, albeit one that bickered with the same level of glee as Freddie always found in argument. Jim could never be bothered with that nonsense, even when discussing the trivialities of dinner plans or what videos to rent out on any particular evening.
'Bloody arguing at this hour of the night, you two should form a fucking troupe', Jim quickly uttered in his familiar working class Irish brogue, devoid of any humour in this particular case.
'Shut up, wallflower, let the adults fuss', came the reply in a crisp, educated tone. Freddie may have been lying in bed, the aches of his life abnd condition becoming more than a study in trying to live at least comfortably, but he never let up, never gave Jim the satisfaction of the final word, if just to rile him.
The doctor reserved a smile, knowing this situation comedy still had a few scenes to go by the time he left their home and continued to check Freddie's vitals. Heart was regular, pulse strong, mouth was clear and eyes a touch red but not any more than was noticed before. Freddie found it all so tiring. He would find it demeaning as well but he knew the weight of what was to come, and in that, holding a touch of responsibility and maturity would at least help those around him cope a little better. He knew Jim, and he knew his stoic, inward, Irish manner hid a fountain of worry to say the least. He knew Jim could only look on, never help, never truly help. No-one could.
'Well, things are to be expected, no marked changes which is good, medication is stocked and I assume that you're not letting up on it, Freddie. Remember our discussion about missing the odd one as you put it'.
'Not you as well. Yes I'm taking them, yes I'm ensuring I drink warm but not overly hot tea, yes I only ever take them at the right time, under a cherry tree called Gerald on the 32nd day of each fucking month'. Freddie could feel neither the embrace of shared brotherly humour from a concerned doctor or the man at the door, arms now firmly crossed, ready to call him a daft bastard.
'Sorry', uttered Freddie, with a ring of genuine inflection. 'Sorry, I've just never been one for the regiment of life but I am taking them responsibly, doctor, and thank you for asking, you have a right to, darling'.
The doctor with accustomed practice put away his stethoscope and torch without a look downwards and smiled at last. 'I know you are, Freddie, and you're coping well, better than most to be fair to you'. There was a pause as a golden cat found her from Jim's feet to the bedpost and scratched while the coast was clear and while no-one shooshed her away for now. He looked around the room slowly and considered something carefully, always aware of the good habits a doctor, a nurse and a person who simply cares must pick up and practice. Namely, never give good or at least better news than before without knowing absolutely sure you can attest to it.
Freddie found his gaze focusing onto the television atop the dresser, Top of the Pops was on and he tried diligently to not be the old man he protested against being but he couldn't help but shake his head and laugh in disbelief at who was playing. 'Sharon's at number one, Jim, can you fucking believe it'.
'Who?' Jim queried, his mind elsewhere, arms still crossed.
'You know fine well. Elton, and it's not half-bad. I must phone him, he's just suffered a terrible success'. Freddie laughed to himself at that well-worn joke, even if he alone was the comedian and the audience.
Sitting by the bed, Dr. Mitchell caught his patient's eye and told him before he lost his nerve and showed the trembling of nervousness in his hands. 'Freddie, I believe we will be moving you to new medication soon. The hospital laboratory has received supplies of a treatment from our counterparts in the U.S. which works in stages and it's more than just a single drug. Trials have been very promising there, we're allowed to test it here and with your consent of course, we'll start you on it all immediately'.
Freddie and Jim looked on with a rare and singular curiosity, even a glint of confusion but more an intrigue born from the unexpected and with nothing said for more than a few seconds, Jim asked the pertinent question.
'A new way to treat Freddie?'
The doctor nodded, more than once and looked at them both. 'Yes, and we believe, we believe it may halt what is happening'.
Freddie's eyes gave signs that his mind was reeling through the quiet sadness of what had already come from his terrible illness, both to him and those around him. He had seen the promise of new treatments only take his friends even more quickly than if they were not on them. But there was something different in the tone of what was just announced. He saw a light, in the distance of that sadness. Beyond his friend, beyond the love of his life, beyond the walls of their home. He could see and feel a way back.
For the first time, in longer than he dared recall, Freddie Mercury felt this may not be the end just yet.
--- To be continued ---