okay everyone... first things first: I am terribly sorry for not updating for a couple weeks... school just starting getting rough over here in Bulgaria and I have been up to my ears in writing assignments (I hope I am using that phrase right, lol) as for all my reviewers... this story would have not been possible without you (sniffle) you guys are the best!!!!!!!!!! :) I would like to thank the following people:
FoxyGrampa, Derek57, Eric Lupin, Berek, still2twisted, Hawk Raskenark, Outlaw02, wolfblood82, Daisuki CES, Sirryn18, Ragnarok Element's, Dice Darwin, Sysi, hiro-0911, Tyler Bruggeman, rust phoenix, Taylor C.
one more person, Jessica Chelmecki, she's not a reviewer but I met her in America a few years ago and we became very close friends. we talk online and she has helped me out in so many ways. she helped me come up with the concept of the Sleet disease and some of the plot for Sleey&Hale as well. she is an amazing writer and japaneese artist and I know I have done an injustice to have not mentioned her before now (sniffle) I love you Jessica!! (deerly not queerly)
I do hope you will enjoy this chapter. not a lot of action, just a bunch of summing up with random cliffhangers here the there; the usual. anyway... please review when you are done, this chapter might be your last chance (hint,hint)
It was barely light out by the time Hale had been brought to the infirmary. His ribcage had been crushed during the fight, as well as his right ankle. Hale was otherwise okay, with the exception of the small cuts and bruises that lingered around his back and legs. At least he didn't have it as bad as Bruno or Cody. They both suffered severe burns as a result from frostbite. Dr. Inokura said that if Cody had stayed in the water any longer her hands and arms would have permanently paralysed from the cold.
Hale lay patiently in the white bed, wondering if he would have had the courage to do the same for Roque.
Outside his window the sun was beginning to rise. Cool, morning mist filled the horizon, blurring his vision of the trees and school buildings in the distance.
Hale closed his eyes to the warm sunlight and sighed. His body felt weak and his eyes lids felt heavy but somehow he couldn't bring himself to sleep. He pulled the covers up to his face stubbornly.
A pair of footsteps entered the room. The noise, however soft it may have been, pierced the quiet air and filled Hale's mind with curiosity. He heard a door close gently, after if the person were conscious of making any noise. Even the stranger's footsteps were hardly audible.
Hale was lying on his side, back turned towards the door so he could not see who was approaching his bedside. Instead, he listened carefully trying to pick up some hint as to the person's identity.
Nothing. The stranger made no sound at all.
Hale felt a hand gently caress his check; he felt the warmth of the light vanish and someone kiss him softly on the lips.
"Hey…" It was Roque's voice, "Are you awake?"
Hale opened his eyes slowly and squinted at Roque's dark figure above him, "Hi." He smiled.
Something seemed odd about Roque. Hale expected to see him smiling back. But Roque was far from smiling. An uncertain look of fear and sorrow filled his eyes with tears.
Hale stared in confusion at his friend, his own smile quickly fading.
"Are you okay?" Roque asked.
Hale stared confoundedly, taken aback by the question, "Yeah, I'm fine. A little beat up, but I'll be fine." He said, sitting up straight and placing a hand on Roque's, "Are you okay?"
Noticing the bandages wrapped securely around Hale's bare midsection, Roque remained silent.
"What's wrong?" Hale asked quietly, "What…"
"Can I ask you something?"
Taking Roque's hand with both of his, Hale said, "Of course."
"What…do you mean?"
Roque removed his hand and touched Hale's bandages lightly, "What happened?"
"I…" Guilt suddenly weighing him down, Hale hung his head low, "I… didn't want to tell you…"
"Why not?" Roque asked, a hint of desperation in his voice.
Hale examined the white tiled floor, "I'm sorry, Roque, I didn't want you to blame yourself. I…" He stuttered, feeling Roque's warm arms wrap around his body.
"Hale…" He muttered, pulling the boy close, "Please, just tell me… what happened?"
"Look," Hale sighed, "I tried to stop you from attacking Cody. You got mad that I wouldn't let go of you… so…" He explained, avoiding eye contact, "You tried to crush me into the snow. When that didn't work, Deltur got mad too and started attacking us…"
"Then Almnes jumped in a got hit instead of me. I remember that part… I thought Deltur was trying to attack me." He said as if his memory was slowly returning, "He wasn't, was he?"
Hale remained silent.
"It was you."
Hale stared up at the ceiling, trying hard not to ignore the pain in his chest, "Cody said that I didn't feel the wounds because I didn't realise they were there. My body had become numb from the snow." He said, "If I had seen the bruises on my chest, then I probably would have felt it too."
"I'm so sorry, Hassieb. I really am…"
Before he could get out another word, Hale kissed him unexpectedly on the lips. Roque blushed slightly and looked away.
"I forgive you." Hale cooed, passing a hand through Roque's dark hair. "If you had meant to do what you did, you wouldn't be as sorry as you are now."
Roque made eye contact and smiled, his dark blue eyes warming up, "Thank you."
Cody stared wearily into space, catching glimpses of other teachers as they started out their mornings pouring cups of coffee or filing through last minute papers and un-graded tests.
Cody sipped at her own coffee, still fighting off the cold chill that slithered up her spine every time she looked out the window. Outside, tiny bits of frost and snow stuck to the glass, giving off the appearance of a nearly shattered window.
Life in the teachers lounge at six in the morning was not a place for relaxing thought, but somehow, Cody took pride in the fact that she was not a teacher and didn't have to be in the nurses office until nine. That in itself gave her reason to watch the other teachers, as they franticly reassembled their binders, and smile.
But something caught Cody's attention and broke her train of thought. A few teachers hovering around the steaming coffee pot had mentioned her brother. Cody listened, sipping her coffee as if the group somehow knew she was prying.
"I saw him come in only a couple hours ago." One teacher said.
"I saw him too, he had to type in his code to get inside, I wonder what happened to his key?"
Cody, a bit confused, dismissed the disappearance of the key and continued to listen.
"But then he left again."
"Who knows?" One lady laughed half-heartedly, "I saw he had some weird, white case under his arm though."
'A white case…?' Cody thought, her mind beginning to race.
"It looked like he was trying to hide it too."
The group suddenly stopped chattering as they heard Cody get up abruptly and leave the room, leaving only her coffee behind.
It was another couple hours later, two to be exact, when Professor Rott had begun teaching his AP Chemistry class. Despite his lack of sleep and, perhaps, emotional sanity, he was still expected to conduct class. The reasons being, a, there was no substitute who could fill in with only an hour's notice, and b, Rott did not want Headmaster Galrestrom to think he was crazy when he tried to explain how he was off fighting were-wolves with emotional problems all night.
So there he stood, rubbing his eyes and hardly ready to take attendance. Laid out before him was a class of maybe twenty, all sitting quietly at their desks.
A girl's hand rose somewhere in the back of the room.
"Here." A boy in the third row grumbled.
…nothing but the wind humming against the building.
Professor Rott, suddenly realizing his mistake, glanced over at the empty desk by the window. He stared as if deeply confused by the lack of presence.
Whispers began to grow within the classroom.
Shaking himself mentally, Prof. Rott sighed and referred back to his attendance sheet.
"Here." The class resumed.
Breakfast was still being served for the students who didn't have classes on Sunday. Where Roque and the rest of the boys usually sat, now only Gunn was there, picking at his scrambled eggs solemnly.
"Lucas…" A voice mumbled from the sea of people in the aisles.
Gunn looked to his side and saw Ayorik take a seat beside him.
"'Mind if I sit with you?"
Gunn shook his head silently. He watched the rest of the crowd, almost offended that the world continued spin in spite of the recent crisis.
"So what happened to the rest of the boys?"
"Your guess is as good as mine." He said impassively, "All I heard was that Hale and Bruno are in the infirmary. Cody was too, but she wasn't injured bad enough to have to stay there."
"What about Roque?"
"He's probably with Hale."
"And the other two boys? The ones that changed after Roque did?"
Gunn thought for a moment before answering, "I have no idea." He said honestly.
The boys noticed the crowd quieting down. They glanced up at head table, and sure enough, Headmaster Galrestrom was standing with his fist in the air (apparently sign language for 'shut your mouths'). The hall obeyed.
Galrestrom waited for a moment once the hall quieted down, as if to absorb the silence. Gunn was curious has to how the headmaster was going to explain this one.
"I assume by now you all have heard about the killing a young man by the name of Eric Brower."
Although Gunn was sure that this was no news to anybody, the crowds began to erupt with faint whispers.
"Eric was a junior, age 17 and played on our football team since he was a freshman. There is no doubt in my mind that this unfortunate accident will be hard for us all. Eric's funeral will take place this Wednesday up in town at the Memorial Church. I encourage all of you who knew him, and even those of you who didn't but wish to pay respect, to attend the funeral."
Galrestrom could tell the crowd wasn't murmuring about Erich's death.
"As for the cause of death…" He said.
The hall grew uncomfortably quiet. Attention was restored (for the most part) to the headmaster.
"…it is yet to be certain."
Behind him at the staff table, only a few teachers were there. They didn't seem concerned. Gunn was almost certain that they had heard this speech more than once.
"All we know is that the suspects have been apprehended… and dealt with."
Gunn and Ayorik exchanged glances.
"Needless to say, all students and faculty members are no longer bound to their dorm rooms. It is safe to roam about the campus." He concluded, picking up his tone, "I will making this announcement again Monday morning, bright and early, for those students who had classes today." And with that he headed back to his own table, perhaps to finish his breakfast and talk amongst the other staff members.
Ayorik glanced over at Gunn, who had pushed his tray to the side and was now lying with his head down on the table.
"Hey…" Ayorik muttered, "After breakfast do you want to go looking for Hale and the others?"
Gunn picked his head up, "Sure." He smiled tiredly, "That sounds like a good. Maybe we can get some more information about what exactly went on last night. Hopefully the guys are okay."
"Yeah." Ayorik agreed, "Hopefully…"
Tyler Inokura was not one of those teachers who could be satisfied by living in the faculty dorms during the school year. So instead, he had purchased a small house on school grounds. And although Cody did not mind the dorms, she would occasionally spend time at her brother's house. It was a small house, providing a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and small basement for storage.
Inokura was not satisfied with the dorm rooms simply because they were too small. Despite his career choice, he had always been a man of science. He was always fascinated by how things work and are created. One might say that is what connects Tyler Inokura and James Rott. One might also bring up how Inokura has always wanted to become a scientist; until he found out he was a Sleet.
But Inokura wanted a bigger space to live in not because he is claustrophobic, but because he is constantly tampering with elements and chemicals, thus requiring a large amount of space in which to work. These 'experiments', driven by his fascination of science, were usually held in the basement of his house were a lab room had been set up. Cody, nor anyone else, is allowed down there without Tyler's approval. However Cody knows the truth behind this rule. It's not for safety reasons (Inokura would not do anything unsafe with science, he does not like taking risks), it is because, or so Cody believes, that's where he is currently working a cure for the Sleet disease.
Whatever the cause for that rule was, Cody had given up on, due to her brother's stubbornness. He would not alter a decision he made prior, even if he now found it to be a mistake.
That morning, Inokura was in the basement of his house, examining capped vials of some thick, red liquid lined up with dates scribbled on the sides. They sat on a rack beside a small, white case. One vial read Sunday morning, 2:56 a.m.
The room was dark, barely lit up by a few red tinted light bulbs flickering on the ceiling. Inokura took the 2:56 vial and dropped a small amount onto a glass slide. The slide already had a sample, and the two liquids began to merge, one dark shade of red soaking the light.
Inokura slipped the slide under his microscope to examine it more closely. Focusing the lens, he noticed something odd happening to the blood on the slide. Both samples had the Sleet gene, this Inokura was sure of (he had just picked up the newest sample that morning at the lake). However, said sample was acting irregularly. Instead of mixing with the other Sleet gene, it began to mutate it further, as if something different had been added to it.
Inokura picked up the original vial and held it up to the light, "This should be Bruno's blood… just like when they enrolled at the school…" He mumbled inaudibly, "There should have been no change since then."
Inokura replayed the fight. If Rott knew Inokura hadn't stopped the boys just so that he could get blood from them to test on, Rott would be furious.
"Deltur attacked Bruno, he bled on the ground, then Cody jumped in and…" Inokura's voice ran off as realization began to strike.
He looked back to the microscope. What now lay before the scope sent a chill up Inokura's spine. It was no longer Sleet DNA, but a genetic alteration of the disease itself. It had made a complete mutation.
Inokura's breath became staggered.
"Who…" He mumbled.
"Whose blood is this?"