The nurse comes into the infirmary bedside, and with a glare, a scowl, and the girls are forced to leave the room, with muttered utterances of 'cow' and 'fucking witch'. Sam eyes them with barely concealed distaste, and he stares down at the floor and his shoes, as he knows the nurse is not going to let him leave.
She eyes him, one beady eye focusing on him, making him feel tiny, insignificant and not worth anything at all.
"You know," She says, "You're never going to get anywhere in life if you carry on like this."
Sam looks away, to the side where Adam is lying asleep, only the flicker of eyelids betraying him. Almost identically, John is doing the same. Sam suppresses a wry smile. He feigns innocence.
"I'm sorry," He says, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
The nurse eyes the two boys lying on the beds in turn, eyes direct and piercing as ever. And then she turns her gaze back onto Sam, perhaps with a little more kindness.
"Go to your lessons. Come back here after school."
Sam nods, heart sinking as he realises that he is not getting out of this one.
Sam likes to think that that is all he has to be wary of today, but in reality, he knows that just isn't possible. He sees Martin advancing towards him along the corridor, and neatly, Sam sings his next step around, so he is facing the opposite direction.
Not that it works, as a hand grips his shoulder tightly, roughly swinging him back around to face the blonde.
"Why is he in the infirmary?" He snarls, shaking him like it is his fault. "Who put him there?"
Sam wonders idly why the news hasn't reached Martin yet. But there are darkly drawn circles under his eyes, pale ghastly skin and tousled hair that is unusually absent of any gel. Martin looks like he has a hangover.
Which explains why Adam was so easily provoked.
"Your friend will be fine." Sam says, rather scathingly. Martin, oblivious, doesn't even recognise the tone for what it is.
"Idiot," He hisses, "Adam, who put Adam there?"
Sam tries not to be surprised, but he is completely taken aback.
"…John." The name slips out, and Sam lets himself be pushed out of the way as Martin storms towards the infirmary.
Class is just about bearable, if not for the whispers and stares.
There are rumours, and Sam wants to shrink into himself as people he doesn't know ask him what happened, strangers talking to him, scavenging for information. Vultures.
Girls suddenly pretend to be interested in him, and inwardly, Sam snorts. A few weeks ago and he was the class faggot. How quickly do the masses forget.
The teacher is just as interested, only Sam bites his lip and refuses to answer, refuses to give anyone the satisfaction. He knows what it is like to be talked about, to have the class fall silent at his arrival. He refuses to give them the satisfaction.
Later, he goes back to the infirmary after lessons like the nurse instructs, only to find Adam and John and Martin glowering at each other. The tension is palpable, and when Sam walks in, all three look at him. Martin's expression is distinctly unpleasant, but Sam ignores him and walks straight towards Adam, eyeing the bruises on his face with worry.
"Are you okay?" He asks quietly.
"Completely fine." Adam replies. And then adds scathingly, "Didn't feel a thing."
"Doesn't look like it." John snaps, from the other side of the room. Sam looks up, and is interested to see Martin looking rather out of place, stood in between the two beds, as if not knowing where he should be.
As if wanting to approach, but worried about the consequences.
Sam sighs, reaching for Adam's hand. Adam looks up and smiles at him, but Sam can feel those fingertips shaking, skin cold and pale. They've been friends for a while now, and he recognises the familiar expression. The expression that tries to cover Adam's insecurities, the expression that covers his fear.
He's also dealt with John long enough to know when he is being watched.
And now, he chooses to ignore it.
John watches as Sam cradles Adam's hand, fingertips stroking his palm softly.
He almost feels betrayed.
Sam is ignoring him on purpose, and he hates it. He had thought they had connected, a few moments ago, but now, he only feels anger.
Martin refuses to look at him, Adam is gloating at him, and Sam betrays him. He remembers the feeling of not being wanted, remembers being ridiculed by others, and he swears he'll never feel that way again.
Before he can say something, the nurse enters the room, and she looks at them in turn, shrewd eyes taking everything in at a glance. Sam's hand on Adam's, John's stony expression, Martin's conflicted one. John remembers her from his previous school, and closes his eyes and plays the victim. She's used to that.
"It hurts," he breathes, through gritted teeth.
"It serves you right." Adam says, childishly and unsympathetically. John keeps his smile hidden, and watches as the nurse glares at Adam.
"You be quiet." She snaps, whilst giving him a brief but thorough check up. Then she turns her stare onto Martin, who shrinks, slightly. "You're his brother right?"
"Step-brother." Adam says quietly, slightly intimidated.
"Does it make a difference? Go. Take him home."
Adam nearly protests, but one look is all it takes.
It is a while before they leave, but as soon as the door is shut, the nurse turns her glare onto Sam. Very visibly, Sam wilts, and her expression softens slightly.
"Look after him. I'll be back in an hour or so."
"What?" Sam croaks, "Where are you going?"
"To phone his parents." She pauses. "And to explain this to the principal."
And there is silence. Awkwardness, strained tension.
"Come here." John pleads, voice raspy.
And Sam approaches carefully, against his better judgment.
And immediately, somehow, Sam is pinned to the bed (again) and John is on top of him, injured leg and all.
Pressing Sam's body down with his own, he kisses those lips roughly, tongue pushing into his mouth.
When they part, Sam's gaze is averted.
And John realises he just can't compete. Sam is happy with Adam. Truly happy, and John knows it's one thing he isn't capable of.
He growls, and pushes hands under Sam's shirt, almost clawing at skin, and then moving to dip his hand under his belt.
Sam whimpers, and looks up to stare back into his green, green eyes.
AN: Wow. Four years. I have no excuse other than my inspiration ran out. But I aim to finish this one now that I've started again. Also, my writing style has probably changed somewhat over the years…and hence the story probably won't have quite the same tone as before. For those who have still stuck around, I can only apologise and thank you for all your wonderful reviews.