Alex strolled through the hallways a few days after he and Mike had first made love.
He glowed happily and for once the glares and whispers he got from strangers as he passed really didn't bother him. He hummed quietly to himself and quickly put his books into his locker before heading to Mrs. Travers class. He sat down in his spot and turned to face Mike.
"Hi." He said and smiled his brightest smile at Mike.
"Hey babe." Mike said. He looked pale and tired.
"What's wrong? You don't look so good." Alex frowned.
"I'm sick." Mike said as he leaned in for his good morning kiss.
Alex covered his mouth with one hand and pushed Mike away with the other.
"Don't you dare try and kiss me sick-o." Alex laughed. Mike frowned.
"I thought I could handle coming to school but I don't think I can. I think I'm going to go home." Mike coughed. Alex put his hand to Mike's head.
"You do feel a little warm. Go home, baby, and get some rest. The sooner your better, the sooner you can have your good morning kiss." Alex smiled.
"Hmmm. Definitely motive to get better." Mike laughed. He stood and grabbed his stuff before walking to Mrs. Travers desk. He said a few words and then Mrs. Travers nodded and returned to what she was doing.
Mike smiled one more time at Alex and blew a kiss to him before leaving. Alex smiled and turned down to his work.
Alex wondered what he would do for lunch since Mike wasn't there but figured he could survive a day of eating alone.
He decided that he would eat outside. He liked being outside much more than being inside but Mike had allergies so he
kept quiet about his preference to make Mike happy. He was very much willing to sacrifice something to make Mike happy.
"Hey." Ethan said from behind Alex.
"Oh, hi." Alex replied. He was startled Ethan was talking to him. He remembered the hurtful things the other boy had said to him.
"Look, I wanted to apologize. I said some stuff that day that I really didn't mean. I guess I was just jealous and worried my best friend was trading me in for a new one." Ethan smiled.
Alex sensed something wrong here but couldn't place it.
"It's alright. A lot of people are uncomfortable with my kind." Alex said. He sat down at the base of the tree trunk. Ethan followed without being invited. Alex felt uncomfortable around him but said nothing.
"I was wondering if we could start again. I want to keep being friends with Mike, and if that means we got to be cool then I can live with that." Ethan said.
It wasn't quite a 'lets be friends' but more of a ' I'll tolerate you for now.'
"Sure." Alex smiled, but the grin didn't quite reach his eyes.
"Hey, did you do the English homework?" Ethan asked.
"Yeah, it's in my locker." Alex said.
"Man, can I get it from you? I'm nearly failing that class and I don't have time to do it." Ethan reasoned. Alex hesitated but agreed.
"Yeah, I can get it for you after lunch." He said.
"I kind of need it now. I said I would turn it in right after lunch." Ethan said.
Alex sighed, slightly annoyed.
"Ok, I'll go get it." He stood and after picking up his bag, began walking towards the hallway with the lockers in it.
"Cool." Ethan got up and followed him. The hallways were empty and quiet. The lockers were far from where most people
eat lunch so they were usually pretty barren. Alex began unlocking his locker.
"Look what we got here." He heard from behind him. He turned and saw a large beefy guy with a jersey on.
Alex looked him up and down quickly before ignoring the boy, if you could call him that, and turning back to open his locker.
He finished fiddling with the lock and opened it. The guy with the jersey leaned against the door and it slammed shut.
Alex barely moved his slender fingers away in time.
"Alex, this is Randall. He's a new friend of mine." Ethan said. He had a smug grin on his face that looked more natural then the friendly one he tried to fake earlier.
Alex felt his feathers shift uneasily and wanted to be back outside where people could see him.
"Hi, I just remembered I have to go." Alex said and turned away walking towards the door that lead out to the courtyard.
"What's the rush, bird-boy." Randall snarled. He cut off Alex's exit and crossed his meaty arms over his chest.
"I have to get to class." Alex said.
"We still got awhile left for lunch don't we, Eric?" Randall turned to one of his slightly less beefy friends.
"Yup." Eric replied pretending to look at his watch.
"Come on. Hang out with us a bit." Randall put his arm around Alex's shoulder. The gesture, which Mike did often, didn't seem friendly this time. It was full of menace and brute strength.
"I really have to go. Extra credit for history." Alex said and spun under Randall's arm and headed back to the door. He felt a large beefy hand grab the base of his left wing and pull him back.
"Jumpy little bitch, aren't YA?" Randall laughed as Alex screamed at the delicate wings, being handled so roughly.
"Just let me go, please." Alex tried to lessen the pressure on his wing by moving closer to Randall.
"Hmm. No, I don't think I will. But I tell you what I will do. I'll beat you into such a bloody pulp, no infected piece of shit will come near this school ever again." Randall's threatening playfulness disappeared quickly and was replaced with real threats.
Alex looked up at him, eyes wide with fear. Randall squeezed the base of his wing tighter before turning his wrist sharply.
Alex squawked loudly and fell to his knees in pain. He screamed hoping someone would hear him but the only other sounds were the snap of his wing and the laughing of Randall and his goons.
"Please..." He begged.
"Please what, scum?" Randall laughed at the crumpled mass of feathers that used to be Alex's large proud wings.
"Please, let me go." Alex begged louder.
"Again. No." Randall pulled back his foot and kicked Alex hard in his side. Alex swore he heard bone crack under the heavy boot of his assailant.
He screamed and curled around his wounded rib. Randall grasped a handful of hair and pulled him up to a kneeling position.
He pulled back his right hand and punched Alex in the nose. Alex felt warm blood gush out his nose and onto the white speckled tile of the hallway,
and soak into and stain the blue jacket Mike had given him.
Alex raised his hand to cover his nose and left his stomach wide open. Randall threw a lower punch into Alex's stomach and smiled and Alex grunted.
He fell to the ground once more and didn't see the heavy boot swing down towards his face before he blacked out.
Mike tried for the fifth time to call Alex on his cell. He hadn't been answering all day. there was no answer the day before either, the day he had gone home sick.
'Why isn't he answering? He always answers.' Mike thought to himself before hanging up once he reached Alex's voice mail. He had already left three messages and figured a fourth one wouldn't make a difference. Something felt wrong and Mike didn't like it.
He shoved his phone into his pocket and began walking to his third class of the day.
He sat down and saw Ethan wasn't in the room. The feeling of dread got worse.He had a enough and walked up to the teachers desk.
"Excuse me, where's Alex?" Mike asked.
"He's in the hospital. He was found in the hallway beaten up pretty badly." The teacher said and returned to her work.
Mike felt his chest tighten and think he squeaked out a thank you before returning to his seat.
He sat for a moment before getting up and running out of the school.
Mike finally reached the hospital and was glad he lived in a small town and that the hospital was only a few blocks from the school.
He burst through the door and ran straight up to the front desk.
"Please, I need to see Alex....uh...I don't know his last name but he's infected. Orange eyes, gray wings." Mike explained franticly.
"Yes, he's here but I'm afraid I can't let you see him if your not family." The nurse at the desk said giving him a funny look.
Mike realized he still had his backpack and he was sweating from his run to the hospital.
"Please, he doesn't have any family I need to see him, please!" Mike was yelling now.
People began to stare at him and he looked around before lowering his voice.
"I'm sorry. I just care about him a lot and I need to see him. Please, no one else will come for him." Mike begged.
He felt the hot tears sting his eyes. The nurse looked around and behind her for a second before she nodded her head down the hall.
"Room 308. If anyone asks, I didn't let you in." She whispered. Mike sighed.
"Thank you so much!" Mike said before walking quickly down the hall. He turned into room 308 and gasped as he saw the thin form lying there.
Where the skin wasn't bruised it was pale and splotchy. His right eye had a very large bruise covering it and it had swollen shut.
His lip was split and still looked red and irritable like it had just stopped bleeding. His nose looked like it had been broken and was bruised as well.
His left arm was in a cast and his right thigh was wrapped in gauze and Mike could see blood soaked through one layer of it.
His neck had obvious finger marks around in and was bruised and swollen. He had a cut above his left eyebrow that was stitched shut and he had a bandage wrapped around his ribs.
He was asleep but his sleep looked anything but peaceful. His brows were scrunched together like he was in pain even in sleep.
His breathing was quick and short. His hands were balled into fists at his sides and they clenched and unclenched around the sheets. His left wing was folded and pressed to his back by a bandage.
Mike sat quietly down next to the bed. He took Alex's uninjured hand and rubbed it soothingly.
Alex visibly relaxed and seemed to sleep peacefully. Mike leaned down and kissed his hand and nuzzled it lovingly. He fell asleep before he realized it.
"Mike, wake up." Mike heard from his sweet dreams of making love with Alex.
"What-? Alex?" Mike looked up at his lovers face and saw he was still asleep. He turned to see his parents standing behind him.
"Mom? Dad? What are you guys doing here?" Mike rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He looked at his watch and saw he had been sleeping for only an hour.
"Your school called and told us you had randomly run out of your class. We couldn't figure out where you could have gone. We asked your teacher what she said to you and she mentioned you asked where Alex was. So we came to the hospital and found the nurse who had seen you come in here." His father explained.
"Oh. I'm sorry I know I shouldn't have just ran out like that but I was worried about him. I didn't want him to be alone." Mike looked up at Alex's sleeping face and stroked his hand.
"You really care about him don't you, son?" Mikes dad asked.
"Yes, I do. I care about him more than anything." Mike said and leaned forward and cried into the bed.
His dad wrapped an arm around his shoulder and held him while he cried. Alex shifted in the bed and moaned. Mike looked up quickly and squeezed Alex's hand again.
"Mike?" Alex whispered. His eyes stayed closed but he raised his head slightly.
"I'm here,baby. I'm here." Mike whispered and stood up and moved by Alex's head. He gently stroked his hair and Alex opened his good eye.
"Mike, I'm sorry about your jacket." Alex whispered. His voice was hoarse and scratchy.
"Baby, I don't care about the jacket. I care about you. God, I was so scared when I heard you were hurt. I swear to God whoever did this, I'll kill them." Mike said.
"Who did this to you, baby? Who hurt my beautiful song bird?" Mike asked and kissed Alex's temple.
Alex shook his head quietly.
"I don't want to make you mad." Alex said.
"I'm not mad, baby. I'm furious. I can't believe someone would hurt you like this." Mike said and stroked Alex's broken ribs gently.
"It.... It was Ethan. And a couple of his friends." Alex said.
"That son of bitch. I'm going to kill him. I swear to God." Mike stood angrily. His dad held him back but he continued to try and get past him out the door.
"Mike, please. I need you." Alex held out his uninjured hand. But it dropped soon he didn't have the strength to hold it up. Mike immediately calmed and went back to Alex's side.
"Ok, its ok. I'm here baby." Mike soothed Alex gently.
"Mike, we'll give you two some alone time. We'll be right outside." Mikes mom said before they stepped outside the room.
"My poor lover." Mike stroked his hair lovingly. " I should go get a nurse and tell them your awake." Mike said and stood up.
"No, please don't leave me." Alex reached out for him.
"Shhh, I'll be right back." Mike said and walked quickly out of the room. He found the nurse who had let him in at the front desk.
"Excuse me. He's awake." Mike said to her. She looked up and nodded.
She paged a doctor over the intercom and a minute later a handsome doctor with chocolate brown eyes and the same colored hair walked to the front desk. He followed Mike into Alex's room and introduced himself.
"Hello Alex. I'm Dr. Marks." He greeted him with a smile. Alex tried to smile back but it came out as more of a grimace.
"Hi." He squeaked out.
"How are you feeling? Any pain?" The doctor asked as he shined a light in Alex's good eye.
"I'm ok." Alex said. The doctor gently pressed on his ribs. Alex gasped and whimpered.
"You don't seem ok." The doctor said. He began unwrapping Alex's chest to look at his horribly bruised ribs.
Alex shrugged. Or at least attempted to shrug. The pain from his ribs and everything else caused him to much pain.
The doctor turned to the nurse next to him. " I think Mr. Evans could use some morphine." He smiled.
"Evans." Mike whispered to himself.
"What?" Alex turned his head to face him.
"I never asked what your last name is." Mike smiled. Alex laughed but then winced and wrapped his good arm around his ribs.
"Please, don't make me laugh." He smiled at Mike. The nurse came in with a syringe full of, what Mike assumed, was morphine.
"Wait I don't like need-" Alex was cut off when she immediately pushed the needle into the IV and pushed the plunger down.
Alex immediately relaxed.
"Oh." He blushed. His entire body relaxed and he sighed.
"Ooooh." His eyes glazed over and his body was limp on the bed. " That's nice...." He sighed. Mike laughed.
Alex's good eye began to droop and he tried to keep them open.
"Go to sleep babe. I'll be here when you wake up." Mike said and smoothed Alex's hair.
"Promise?" Alex asked. His good eye was already shut and his breathing became deeper.
"Promise." Mike whispered and kissed his temple.