Title: Unexpected help
Character: Zeke, Sister Harper
Word Count: 2023
Disclaimer: Of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the character :( - I'm just borrowing them for some fun
Very old prompt: In sickness (#12.05)
Zeke could feel cold sweat on his forehead though there was a cold wind blowing since days, then there was the stabbing pain in his stomach again, worse than before. He groaned slightly and looked for a hold at the iron stair rail of the bleachers. He already felt sick since some hours, usually a good reason to go home and stay there for some days. But no way that he would skip school today.
It had been at the boy's washroom this morning that he had overheard a talk between Meat and two other jocks from the football team, only fragments, but enough to know that they had something nasty in mind. Actually not a big surprise, they always enjoyed it to bully Casey, but the way they had laughed and patted each other on the back as if they were celebration a crushing win had aroused all of Zeke's instincts.
Of course, this actually wasn't his business. Maybe it was just about time that Casey learned better to keep his mouth shut and to stay out of their way; this stubborn dumbhead did his best to enraged them every day anew with contemptuous glances and verbal abuse. Pretty stupid. But on the other hand, Zeke had always secretly enjoyed this spectacle. To stand up against the jocks when you were all alone and, at least, two heads smaller than them, that really deserved some approval.
This time, though, Zeke had a very bad feeling, this was more than the usual shit and it could end badly for Casey. So, despite his usual attitude, to stand out of other people's problems, he had decided to keep an eye on Casey when he left school today. Only when things got out of control he would step in.
He cursed, when the pain, mixed up with a strange feeling of dizziness this time, hit him again.
When he opened his eyes next time he wasn't longer at the bleachers, but ... fuck, where the hell was he? Confused, he stared at the white wall in front of him, and the great poster that warned against smoking. He was lying on a small, uncomfortable bed, the head lower than his legs. Groaning, he tried to turn around, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him immediately.
"Fine, you are awake."
He blinked, wondering where he had heard this voice before. None of the teachers, and for sure, no student. Slowly, the memories came back. Sister Harper, the school's nurse. But what was she doing here? Or, what was he doing here?
A cold hand touched his forehead, then grabbed for his wrist to feel the pulse.
"Don't worry, the ambulance will be here soon."
Zeke almost jumped. What? That was ridiculous. He didn't need an ambulance, he never ... Feeling annoyed, he pushed her hand away and tried to sit up. The pain rushed through his body with full force and let him cry.
"Fuck," he groaned and sank back weakly.
Sister Harper eyed him thoughtfully. A strange guy, she didn't know much about him, apart from his rep, which was not the best. He was rebellious, didn't give much about rules, skipped classes; never enough though to get suspended from school. The girls liked him, not a big surprise, he was good-looking and when he smiled it was special. But he did only rarely, usually he preferred to put on an unapproachable behavior.
He was at Herrington High for ... what ... three years now? And he had never ended at the schools ward before, not even with the dislocated hand he had gotten during gym last year. He had preferred to hide the pain and to deal with it alone.
This time, though, it was more serious. A junior did show up at the ward some time ago to ask her to come to the bleachers quickly. She had been pretty alarmed the moment she reached him. Zeke had lost his conscious, was lying on a wooden bank in the first row, pale, sweat on his forehead. Obviously high fever and his abdomen was hard and sensitive. Appendicitis, for sure, and she could only guess how long Zeke already was in this state. Probably for long, stubborn as he was, and it was most likely that the appendix was already ruptured.
While the coach and one of the players, who thankfully were still around for some extra training, had taken him back into school, Sister Harper had called the ambulance. There was not much more, she could do for him, only to calm him down.
"Take it easy," she told him when she noticed the pain in his eyes.
"I know you don't like it to ask for help. But this time, you don't have much of a choice. You need a surgery. Don't worry, an appendix isn't life-threatening."
At least, she hoped so, a ruptured appendicitis was not to be taken so lightly.
Zeke stared at her. What she was talking about? Appendix? Surgery? Hospital? He glanced at the big clock at the wall. Almost 3.00 clock. Casey's art course would end soon. Shit. Not the right time to go to a hospital.
Again he tried to sit up, this time, prepared for the stinging pain. He somehow managed it to put his feet onto the ground and to stand up, even if a bit wobbly. Sister Harper shook his head slightly and sighed.
"No, Zeke," she said rigorous.
"Stop that! This is not the time for acting obstinately. You won't go anywhere in your state but in the hospital. I'm responsible for your healthiness and I will make sure that you get the treatment you need."
Zeke's eyes sparkled annoyed.
"No one ever told me what to do."
His voice was slightly rough but determined. Although the nurse wasn't easily to impress, she had to admit that this desperate stubbornness somehow touched her. What happened to this boy that he was so afraid to accept help, despite high fever and for sure a lot of pain? Suddenly an idea crossed her mind.
"Look, there is nothing you need to worry about," she said.
"Maybe you will have to stay at the hospital for some days, but if you don't have the money for it, we will find a way. For the moment, it's only important that you get the help you needs."
Zeke stared at her and almost felt the urge to laugh. Not the money for it? The only thing he could always count on were the monthly checks his parents did send him. It was the easiest way to get rid of the responsibility they had for their only child. Slowly he shook the head.
"You don't get it. I can't stay because I have got some business to take care off."
Sister Harper smiled mildly, yes, she had heard about these rumors, too, Zeke was known as a dealer who could supply everything that was needed.
"Well, this will have to wait until you are out and about again. I think, I already hear the ambulance in front of the main entrance. So better accept it."
Zeke's look darkened, he huffed slightly. Why today, why the hell today? He never got seriously sick, never ever, nothing that couldn't be cured by some Advil or Demerol. Suddenly he wished he would have warned Casey to be careful today. Now it was too late. And whatever would happen to him, it was his fault. Suddenly he felt really lousy, the pain was overwhelming and his world started to spin around again. He groaned at the futile try to ignore it.
Sister Harper threw a warning glance at him.
"You will play nice now, Zeke, and won't do anything stupid. I will be back in an instant."
Then she turned to the door to go to meet the ambulance.
With a weak voice, he held her back.
Zeke licked his lips, dry and hot.
Sister Harper turned back and looked at him questioning.
"Gabe and the others ... I guess, they will hurt him."
The nurse looked at him thoughtfully. Considering all the injuries the boy had shown up with at the school's ward during the last two years it was for sure not the first time that they planned something like that. She had suspected it but there had never been enough proof to accuse the player of the team. Casey was a nice boy, who never did complain. He was a bit different than most of the others with his love for art and photography, he was not interested in the usual party- girls- and football stuff. Which made him an easy target. No one wanted to stand up against the star players of the team for an outsider like him.
"What do you know, Zeke," she asked.
"Not enough. Nothing concrete. It will happen today, after school."
Zeke closed his eyes when another wave of pain was rushing through his body.
"Art course. It ends ... soon."
Suddenly all the pieces started to fall together.
"You planned to help him. This is where you want to go?"
Zeke shrugged, feeling somehow embarrassed.
"Someone needs to stop this," he murmured.
"Or one day it will come to a bad end."
The nurse grabbed for his hand and squeezed it slightly. If the pain wouldn't be so violent in the meantime that he could barely breathe without crying he would probably have jumped out of the bed and run.
"You are a good guy, Zeke," Sister Harper said.
Holy crap, no one had ever called him a good guy. What a shitty day. He wished that he would have stayed in bed this morning. Nothing of all this would have happened and his life would still be what it was supposed to be. Without Casey, without pain, without hospital and surgery and for sure without a stupid, caring nurse. It was all her fault. Without her he would wait for Casey at the parking lot and ...
The knock at the door tore him out of his thoughts. Two medics with a stretcher between them entered the room. Without further ado, they shared some words with Sister Harper, then one of them turned to Zeke for a quick check-up. Finally, he nodded.
"Yes, this looks like an acute appendix. A surgery is needed as quick as possible."
In the meantime, Zeke felt much too worn out to protest, when they helped him from the bed onto the stretcher and fixed him with two straps.
"Just a moment," Sister Harper stopped the medics last minute. She turned to Zeke again who was looking up to her with blurred eyes.
"Don't worry, everything will be okay. You will get the treatment you need. And I will take care for Casey. I guess, I could give him a ride today, make sure that he comes home safely. And I will have a talk with Mrs. Drake, you are right, it's about time, that someone steps in."
For a moment, Zeke wasn't sure if this was still real. Then he felt relief rushing through his body and he pulled the face to a smile.
"Thanks," he whispered.
"But ... please, don't tell ..."
"Casey. Don't tell him, that I ... "
He paused and shook his head haltingly.
"I just don't want him to know ..."
"Oh ... yeah, I get it."
Sister Harper smiled reassuring.
"You know, Zeke, I'm not just taking care for bruises and sprained arms. Sometimes I'm also a kind of shrink. And nothing I get to hear will ever leave this room. So, no, I won't tell him that you care. Though, I think, it's kinda stupid, because it's nothing wrong with it to care for others."
She watched the medics lifting the stretcher into the ambulance, only a second later they were gone. And she wondered if there was more she could do for Zeke without alienating him. He was a good boy, he had a lot more to give than he was aware of. And it was really a shame that no one cared about him.