Neil looked at Andrew.
Andrew ignored him, more fascinated by the paint on the walls rather than the blood on his fist and face. It had smeared slightly and made his grin even more chilling.
Across the room, Abby washed her hands in the sink. When she turned around, Neil was still staring at Andrew and Andrew was still ignoring him.
"What happened?" Abby asked gently as she fished through her first aid kit. As Neil opened his mouth, Andrew laughed again. Neil tried not to shiver.
Andrew didn't answer, so Neil sighed and turned away from the blonde.
"Sheena said something that set him off. I've not seen him like this since -" Neil faltered and Andrew turned to him, gaze mocking. "Since he came off his meds."
Andrew laughed, shaking his head.
"Oh, Neil," he said, voice full of sarcastic joy. "Never thought I'd see the day you were walking of eggshells around me." He tilted his head as if considering Neil for the first time. "Do you mean since darling Drake fucked me? Or since I left for Easthaven? Or were you meaning some time in between those two fabulous events?"
Neil stared, bewildered. Andrew just tutted. "Have to be more specific, Pinochio."
Abby grimaced as she came to stand next to the bed. Andrew grinned at Neil, before flopping backwards dramatically, throwing one arm over his forehead, the other lolling to the side and almost hitting Abby. She stepped out the way just in time.
"Ow, the pain, ow," Andrew wailed melodramatically, before his grin grew and his gaze locked on Neil. "Oh, are you thinking of the last time you heard me say 'ow'?" When Neil didn't answer immediately, Andrew laughed, high and delighted sounding.
"Andrew," Abby said, and Andrew turned his head to look at her, his bloody arm still inches from her.
"What you waiting for?" he asked, feigning confusion. "Patch it up, patch it up."
Abby took his hand, and when he didn't pull away or snap, she began cleaning the wound carefully. She handed a wet cloth to Andrew and he wiped his face, the blood coming off easily. When he was done, he dropped the cloth unsmcerimoniously on the open lid of Abbey's box.
"What did Sheena say?" Neil asked a few minutes later.
Andrew shrugged and waved his free hand in dismissal.
"Oh, nothing of importance."
"Andrew, I haven't seen you manic since you were taken to Easthaven," Neil snapped. Andrew raised his brows. "So don't fucking try and say it wasn't important."
Andrew considered him for a few seconds, before turning to Abby.
"Abby, be a deer and go hop to find Coach."
Abby frowned at him. "I haven't finished with your hand."
"Oh, you can do that when you get back."
Abby opened her mouth to argue, but someone knocked loudly on the door.
"Busy," Abby called.
"It's me," Coach said. Before Abby could reply, Andrew shouted.
"Oh, Coach, come in, come in."
Before he had finished speaking, Wymack had came in and shut the door behind him, staring at Andrew.
"Shit," he said when he saw the oh-so-familiar grin.
"We were just talking about you," Andrew said cheerfully. "I was trying to tell Abby to go hop along and find you but now you're here so you can both hop along together."
"Why?" Wymack asked gruffly.
Andrew widened his eyes innocently. "Cause I want a few minutes alone with my boyfriend," he said and Neil's blood chilled. Judging by the matching expressions Coach and Abby were wearing, theirs had too. "Is that really too much to ask?"
Abby sighed as Wymack gestured for her, and then he pointed between Andrew and Neil.
Andrew waved sarcastically as they went out the door and shut it behind them. He hopped off the bed and strolled over, locking it behind them, before spinning around to look at Neil.
Instead of saying anything straight away, he tilted his head again. Neil stayed where he was, waiting.
"You know," he began, "you never cease to amaze me, Josten."
"Let's play a game," he said instead, walking forward. "It's called 'what should Neil say'. Sound like fun?" Andrew clapped his hands, now standing an arms length away from Neil. "Great. I'll go first. When Jack makes a joke about me enjoying getting raped, what should Neil say?"
Neil stared, dumb founded. "What?" he stammered at last.
Andrew shook his head.
"Wrong," he sang. "Neil should say nothing. Not a thing. Silence. Because Jack doesn't mean shit. Although, he's a Fox so none of us mean shit. My turn again - when Nicky makes a stupid joke about needing fucked senseless, what should Neil say?"
"Silence?" Neil guessed.
Andrew clapped. "Ding-ding-ding. One point to Neil. Now, last round. When Sheena gets in my space and says she wants to know how hard you fuck me, and that she's not an idiot so knows you're just as bad as Drake behind closed doors, what should Neil say?"
Neil bristled. Sheena was so dead for that comment.
"Sheena thinks I'm just like him?" he asked. Andrew groaned, tipping his head back in exasperation.
"Wrong. You're not meant to repeat the question, rabbit."
Suddenly, Andrew reached out, wrapping his hands around Neil's throat like he used to do all the time. His thumbs dug in, grip tight enough to be a warning, finger tapping out the rhythm of Neil's pulse.
"What should Neil say?" he asked a again, voice soft and quiet.
Neil racked his brain. Andrew wouldn't play a guessing game if he didn't think Neil could get to the answer.
"To her? Yes. To me? No."
Neil frowned, and Andrew rolled his eyes, before pointing to his smile.
"What did you say a week or so before they came to take this away? What did you say when you wanted to play happy families with Dan's lot?"
Neil stared at him.
"I asked you."
Andrew's gaze flicked over Neil's face and Neil knew he was running out of time; Andrew's attention span was waning.
"I talked you into-"
Andrew cocked his head and Neil stared as he realised the answer. Was Andrew saying he would have gone more manic both those times if Neil hadn't talked him into something else? And by talking him into something else, Neil thought, he had talked him out of his severe mania.
"Ah," Andrew said happily. "And so he knows." His grip around Neil's throat tightened, as he walked them both backwards onto the bed.
"You're supposed to talk me out of this," Andrew whispered, mouth centimetres from Neil's, grin twisting wider and wider.
With that, he pushed Neil onto the bed, then climbed on his lap, knees on either side of his hips, pinning him down.
Neil didn't see it coming. One moment Andrew was staring and grinning at him, the next he was kissing him hungrily, as if the only oxygen which could keep him alive were inside Neil's mouth.
Someone rapped on the door.
Andrew pulled away with a grin, and before Neil could catch his breath or process anything which had just happened, Andrew hopped off the bed and unlocked the door, throwing "It's open!" over his shoulder.
When Wymack and Abby walked in with Kevin on their heels, Andrew had made it back to the bed and was reclaiming his position on Neil's lap.
"What the-" Kevin began, but Andrew silenced him with a dismissive wave.
"Don't be such a prude," Andrew said cheerfully. "I'm just saving Neil's dignity."
Neil opened his mouth to argue, but no words came out. Andrew laughed and turned to Abby, holding out his hand for her to finish cleaning and bandaging.
Abby looked between them, and Neil sighed.
"Just go with it," he said, forcing his voice to stay even. "He won't move unless he wants to."
Andrew raised his eyebrows but didn't argue, so Abby returned to cleaning his hand.
"Coach?" Neil asked, trying to look around Andrew and Abby to where the other two men were standing.
"What?" Wymack sounded tired and... amused?
"Sign Sheena up for a marathon."
"Why?" Wymack asked after a beat of silence.
Andrew was looking at Neil as if he were telling the best joke he had ever heard.
"Cause it's that or I'll do something I'll regret."
Andrew laughed chirpily, as if he had just gotten the punchline of an amazing joke.
Coach's voice was gruff with concern and anger when he replied.
"Done. Want her benched tonight?"
"Is Andrew getting benched?"
"Can he play?" Wymack countered.
"Yes," Neil and Abby replied unanimously.
Andrew's free hand returned to Neil's throat.
"Then no, he isn't getting benched."
"Then bench her," Neil said.
Coach left the room with Kevin on his heels. Neil thought he heard "I seriously need a pay raise," but wasn't sure.
When Abby finished wrapping Andrew's hand, he flexed it and looked at it as if it were something alien.
"Don't push that hand too hard," Abby said as she packed her box up. "It'll bleed easily if something scrapes it."
"Sure, sure," Andrew replied, before hopping off of Neil and strolling to the door. "Leaving now. "
Neil looked at Abby apologetically before he jogged to catch up with Andrew as he made his way down the hall towards the rest of the team, who were all already changed out and ready. Neil sighed and tried to put what had just happened to the back of his mind to deal with later; right now, he had a team to lead and a game to win.
Throughout the game, Neil tried to focus on the here and now, on the team - his team, he reminded himself. The Freshmen were finally pulling their weight; maybe the scare of Andrew being too manic to focus or care about the game gave them that extra jolt. As much as Neil loathed himself for it, he was secretly glad Andrew's mania had made a reappearance, if it meant the others finally stopped relying on him to clean up their mess.
It was almost half time, and Andrew had only had to deflect three goals so far. In the stands, waves of orange and white were out in support, and the Vixens were shouting and cheering so loudly Neil could make out some of their words.
But no matter how well he played, how many impossible passes he and Kevin were able to pull off together with their Raven footwork, Neil's thoughts kept derailing to Andrew.
Andrew, with that grin. That laugh. Those empty eyes. Neil had gotten so used to the blank mask he had forgotten just how chilling Andrew's mania made him.
But what was bothering Neil more than the effect the mania had on Andrew was the mania itself; Andrew hadn't been manic in front of him since the day he left Colombia to go to Easthaven. Neil had been under the impression the mania was entirely drug-induced. But tonight proved that wasn't the case. And Andrew's medication - what had it actually been for? He wasn't a sociopath, so what had he been medicated for? And almost more importantly; what had triggered Andrew's mania tonight? He had implied it had been caused by Sheena's comment about Neil being abusive - Neil's body bristled at just the thought of it.
At half-time, the two teams walked off the court, the Foxes panting and grinning; they were in the lead, 4-0.
When Neil got to the lounge, he frowned. Andrew was sitting there on the sofa, grinning, next to a confused and irritated looking Kevin.
"OK, maggots," Wymack said, clapping his hands once to get their attention. "We've got a good lead but that doesn't mean you get to slack in the second half." He went on to list which of the subs were getting put on, and who the other team's new line up was.
"Josten, you're getting subbed out for at least the first part," Wymack said. Neil stared.
"But I'm good to play another half, Coach."
"Congratulations. Didn't ask."
"Physically? Yeah you're 'fine' for another half," Wymack said, and Neil gritted his teeth at the implication. "But up here?" Wymack gestured to his head. "Not happening. You're off your game tonight. So no arguments."
"Give me a 'yes, Coach'."
Neil bit his cheek. "Yes, Coach. "
"Good. Now that that half is settled -" He turned to look at Andrew who was at Neil's side.
"Are you still good for another half? They'll come back fighting and the new goalies aren't ready for that yet."
"Sure," he said cheerfully, grin bright.
"Ok, apparently none of you are going to say it," Jack said, "so I will; what the actual fuck?" He gestured to Andrew, and Neil realised all of the freshmen were giving him curious glances. They had never seen him manic before - this was the first time any of them had seen anything other than the bored mask. The other Foxes were giving him concerned looks, almost all of them looking confused. All of them except Renee, who had only given him a few words and then gracefully bowed down.
Neil wondered if she knew why he had actually been medicated; yes it had been for his violent tendencies, but clearly he had been manic before the medication. What if that had only heightened it, rather than induced it?
"I mean," Jack continued, "is he high or something?"
Kevin shook his head. "Andrew doesn't care enough to try and sabotage us by getting high before a game."
"Then what? Did Neil blow him in the wings beforehand?"
Neil shot a glare at Jack, who shrugged. Before Neil could answer that, Sheena laughed.
"Oh, maybe he did. Or maybe he threatened to." She leveled a cold glare on them both. "He's Andrew's type - an abusive ass like all the others."
Neil felt himself sneer as he began to bite out a retort, but was cut off by Andrew's laughter. Before any of them could move, he was across the room with Sheena against the wall and a knife against her throat.
Wymack groaned, facepalming.
"Don't," Andrew said with a cheer none of them believed. "Or they'll be the last words you ever speak."
"Defending the abuser," Sheena said, voice wavering slightly. "First sign of Stockholm Syndrome."
Andrew put pressure on the blade and Sheena went silent. Neil knew he only had a few seconds to talk Andrew down - his mania made him even more bored and so even more likely to do something brash. In the corner of his eye, Neil could see Dan and Allison fencing the other Freshmen back so they didn't intervene.
"Andrew," Neil began, then glanced at Nicky and Aaron before switching to German. "What the fuck?"
Andrew only laughed again, and Neil could see his wrist beginning to twist and Sheena's eyes grew wide.
He switched tactics.
"Killing her will be boring," he said in German, slowly stepping towards the pair, arm outstretched. "She won't whine or beg or even do much - she'll maybe hiss once and that'll be that. You know it. Why bother? She's not even worth it."
"From one fox to another, that's a little hypocritical, rabbit," Andrew answered in German. Neil took that as a good sign as he edged closer.
"True. But wouldn't you rather rub her face in how pointless her drama is on the court rather than kill her now and just cause more drama? The game would be canceled, and we might even have to play this team again if that happens. Let her go and we can go back on court and get this over with."
Even though Andrew was still looking at Sheena, his tilted head told Neil he was listening.
Andrew hummed, before pulling the knife away and stepping back with a relaxed shrug. He spun on his heel and walked towards Neil, knife disappeared into one of his sheaves, face innocent.
"Fair, fair," he said. "And here I was thinking you weren't a team player." Andrew paused beside Neil and leant up to stage-whisper in his ear. "How surprising. Got any more talents up those sleeves?"
Neil sighed and Andrew laughed, flopping down on the sofa once again and looking around like nothing had happened.
"Fuck," Wymack grunted. "Sheena, go find Abby. The rest of you, line up." Neil looked over in time to see Sheena with a hand against her neck, a thin and unthreatening trickle of red smudged beneath her fingers. She nodded at Coach and made her way out the room, legs unsteady.
The team filed out, and Neil watched from the bench as the new subs went onto court. The game began and he found himself looking at Andrew more than the others. If someone asked him how one of the players was doing he wouldn't be able to answer. But he didn't care - all he cared about was Andrew.
Wymack gestured and Neil looked at him before standing and walking over.
"What the bloody hell is going on with that dingbat?" he asked quietly. Neil grimaced.
"Sheena told him she 'knew' I'm like Drake," Neil replied quietly, trying not to bristle too much. It didn't help. "He snapped, punched out a mirror and somehow went mani-"
Neil's words stuck in his throat. It didn't add up. Sheena was always saying stuff like that- most of the freshmen were. Not about Neil specifically, but about Andrew's 'taste', how it was always abusive asshats he was attracted to, how they had made him be just like them, how he must have enjoyed it. Every time, Andrew just ignored them or bit them off - he never reacted like this.
Neil's brain whirled as it processed everything, raked through the memories of sober Andrew with the freshmen, Andrew's own words earlier that day in Abbey's room - all the comments had been about him and his taste. All their comments about Neil had been to compare him to his father. But none of them had compared him to Drake or the others.
"Neil." Wymack clicked his fingers and Neil blinked up at him. "The fuck?"
Neil's chest constricted as he answered slowly.
"He was defending me."
"Jack made a comment about Andrew enjoying being - hurt. He brushed it off. Nicky made a comment about being horny. He brushed it off. Sheena made a comment about me being abusive and it set him off." Neil couldn't help but smile slightly. Apparently he wasn't the only one with the martyr complex.
Wymack pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Minyard went psycho because a brat made a comment about your relationship with him, but he can brush off all the other shit they say?"
"He doesn't care about himself but he cares about others even if he won't admit it." Now, Neil was seriously questioning Andrew's so-called "apathy".
"After the game, talk to him and get him back to fucking neutral ground. I don't need anyone getting knifed."
Neil walked back to his seat, a muffled "And get me a pay-raise while you're at it."
"Yes Coach. "
Wymack flipped him off but Neil barely noticed.
He spent the rest of the game looking at Andrew in goal.
Andrew stared back.
They were in the study hall with the rest of the Foxes, and Andrew still hadn't came down from his manic high.
"What happened?" Dan hissed at Neil. They were standing with Matt at one of the tables, watching Andrew. Normally he didn't care for celebration - usually he and Neil headed back to the dorm and left the others to party. This time, though, he seemed unbothered by the growing crowd.
"I don't know," Neil replied. When Dan gave him the side-eye, Neil grimaced. "I'm not completely sure," he amended. "I've got an idea but -"
"But it's hard to explain in a way that doesn't make him sound psycho?" Matt guessed. Neil glared but didn't argue.
"Fair enough," Dan said. "But when you figure it out, let us know? So we know what to avoid?"
Then he heard a laugh which made him cringe. Katelyn had arrived with the rest of the Vixens. She hadn't seen Andrew manic - well she had, but that mania had been drug induced and she hadn't been dating Aaron at the time.
"I better get him out of here," Neil said. "He doesn't like her enough when he's- when he's not manic."
He started towards Andrew without waiting on Dan or Matt to reply.
"'Drew," he said as he got close. Andrew raised a brow at him, grin still as wide.
"Oh, Neil," Andrew said.
"We should get going," Neil said.
Andrew tilted his head in question. "Why?"
"It's getting too crowded," Neil said, trying not to glance behind him at Katelyn who was now fawning over Aaron. "Don't you want to go back to the dorm?"
Andrew hummed as if he were thinking, before shrugging and starting towards the door.
"Rabbit," he called and Neil grimaced at the name but followed, eyes peeled for anyone who might grab Andrew's attention.
They continued through the building and across the lot without incident. Neil didn't know if he was meant to talk or stay silent. Andrew hadn't said a word, only hummed a non-committal and tuneless tune.
By the time they made it back to the dorm, Neil was tempted to take one of Andrew's knives and try to cut the tension out of himself. But that probably wouldn't help much.
After he shut and locked the door behind them, Neil looked at Andrew. He thought he deserved some credit for not flinching backwards when Andrew was barely inches from him.
Neil was cut off by Andrew's lips on his, kissing him hungrily. Andrew's fingers were in his hair, his body pressing Neil's against the door.
Neil groaned, but kept his hands behind his back, and didn't kiss back - when Andrew tugged at his lip Neil tugged backwards until there were a few centimetres between them.
"No," Neil gasped. "Andrew, no."
Andrew paused, but didn't pull away. By now he had his hands back on Neil's neck.
"I'm not consenting, Andrew." Neil tried to keep his voice even. "Not when you're like this."
Andrew tilted his head, grin widening.
"Manic. It's not going to be a yes when you're manic - it just doesn't feel right."
Andrew hummed, tapping his fingers alongside Neil's pulse. It was slightly faster than normal.
"Funny," the other man mused. "Didn't you say it's always a yes with me?"
"Except when it's not," Neil replied. Andrew raised both brows, eyes mocking. They were both silent - Neil counted nine heartbeats before Andrew sighed dramatically but took three exaggerated steps backwards, arms up as if in surrender.
But he was laughing.
"Fine," he laughed, before turning on his heel and walking down the hallway and into the bathroom. Neil stayed against the door, silent; about a minute later, he heard the shower cut on.
Surprised, Neil made his way quietly to the kitchen to find something to eat. Normally Andrew wasn't so... reliant.. on his needs - usually he had the self control of a saint. Neil rolled his eyes at himself; normally Andrew wasn't manic.
Ten minutes later, Andrew padded into the den, hair towel dried and in a loose hoody and sweats. By then, Neil had gotten himself some water and a sandwich. When Andrew saw the food he just raised his brows in question - Neil tilted his head to the counter. "Yours is there," he said. Andrew hummed but didn't say anything as he made his way around and picked up his sandwich, opening it to see what was inside; Neil had just put some cheese and ham in with jam, guessing it would be sweet enough without the sugar rush. Neil watched him carefully- his grin was still in place, but not as wide; now it was more like a smirk or that smile someone had when they were waiting on a punchline.
"Staring, Pinochio," Andrew said, voice still laced with sarcastic joy.
"Pretty sure that name suits you better, right now," Neil replied. Andrew looked at him with a bemused expression.
"I was wondering where that tongue had gone."
Neil licked his lips. "What set you off?"
"Oh, you're going to have to be more specific than that, Josten," Andrew mocked.
"What triggered the mania?"
Andrew tutted. "That memory of yours is getting worse," he said, lips curling in a crude smirk.
"Was it Sheena saying I'm like them? Like Dra-"
Andrew's expression darkened slightly and Neil's words froze in his throat.
But when Andrew didn't argue Neil knew the answer.
"Are you always this horny when you're manic?" Neil asked once Andrews expression had neutralised to the bemused toothy smirk.
Andrew laughed. "Someone's curious tonight," he said.
"So humour me."
Andrew hummed again as he began eating the sandwich.
"Usually," he said almost two minutes later. "Comes with the deal."
Andrew lifted a finger in a tutting motion. But his eyes and smirk were mocking.
"Oh," he said. "Wouldn't you love to know."
With that, he dropped the crusts back on the counter and made his way back down the hallway. Neil caught a "And you idiots are on the beanbags tonight," before Andrew shut the bedroom door behind himself.
In the morning, Kevin grumbled about having to sleep on a chair since Nicky had called dibs on the remaining beanbag. But Neil didn't care about them - all he cared about was that Andrew's expression was blank again, no hint of a grin in sight.
Neil and Andrew sat on the roof in silence, Andrew smoking and Neil cupping his cigarette in his hand. It was twilight and the entire campus looked hidden beneath a thin layer of mist.
Earlier in the day, the team had gone to the Girls' room for a movie marathon; it had begun at 10am and was still going. Andrew had glared but agreed to go along because Neil and Kevin were. When the others had seen his straight face, they had all shot looks at Neil. Dan had even gone as far as pulling him into the kitchen under the pretence of getting snacks to grill him about what had happened, how he had gotten Andrew to calm down, what had set him off in the first place. Neil stepped around the questions as best he could - "He was defending me. Sheena told him she knew I'm just like the - like Drake, and that's what set him off. He can brush off insults to himself and he can brush off when the others compare me to Nathanial and his father, because Andrew knows they don't matter now, but he holds his standards and himself very far apart from his past so her saying I was like Drake pissed him off and sent him into the episode."
When he had said that, Dan had looked like she wanted to cry and punch Sheena at the same time. She had asked again how Neil had calmed him down and Neil sidestepped again - "I just let him have his own space to get it out of his system." It wasn't a lie, but he wasn't about to tell Dan Andrew had jacked off in the shower which had started the crash and then kicked the others out the bedroom and likely gotten himself off a few more times before passing out. She just really didn't need to know that.
Dan had nodded, accepting Neil's vague answer, likely knowing the real answer crossed too many boundaries.
"Is he ok now though? Like is he still crashing or is he norm-" She grimaced and Neil tried not to glare.
"I think he's still crashing, but he might just be really tired."
Dan had nodded and then let him go through to the other room with his arms full of food packets.
They had all watched an entire saga of movies before Neil had noticed Andrew beginning to twitch. It was subtle enough the others didn't notice but Neil was right next to him and tuned into Andrew's language so knew "I'm fucking bored and might stab someone if they make one more veiled reference" when he saw it. When the others had split up for bathroom break and food break, he had tugged gently on Andrew's jumper.
"Wanna go up to the roof for a bit?" The words had barely gotten out of his mouth before Andrew nodded. With that, they had stood up, Neil waving to grab Matt's attention.
"Can you let Dan know we're just gonna go the now?"
"Sure. You two ok?"
"I think so," Neil hedged - Andrew was already out the door. "Just staying on the safe side the now."
Matt had nodded and Neil had jogged to catch up with Andrew.
Now, almost two hours later, they had made their way through half a pack of cigarettes, and still hadn't said anything.
Finally Neil couldn't take it anymore.
"Are you ok?"
Andrew flicked him a bored look.
"Are you still crashing or are you just worn out?"
Andrew tilted his head slightly before sighing and flicking the half-smoked cigarette over the edge.
Neil nodded - he wasn't surprised.
"Do you always have to tire yourself out to get the mania away?"
Andrew shrugged ever so slightly, expression still masked.
"When was the last time you went manic?"
This time Andrew was silent for almost two minutes before answering.
"About a month ago."
Neil blinked. What?
"How come we didn't see it?"
"Bee usually deals with it." Andrew's tone was growing more and more dismissive with every answer.
Of course, Neil thought.
"Does it happen in front of Aaron?"
"No." Andrew paused before elaborating. "I see Bee with him every Wednesday. I see her alone every other Friday."
Neil frowned, before it clicked.
"Is that where you go on some Friday mornings while the rest of us are at gym?"
Andrew nodded slightly and Neil was silent as he processed that.
"How does she bring you out of it?"
"Push-ups and sit ups on her floor. Then laps around the parking lot since its still empty. Sometimes around the green as well."
Neil stared blindly in front of him, knowing better than to stare at Andrew right now.
Morning gym was 6-8. Andrew almost always left around 5:30. Assuming his Friday sessions with Betsy were still the standard hour, that meant he was seeing her 6-7, and then had that extra hour and a half to either go back to sleep, or apparently to run himself ragged in the parking lot and then shower and get dressed in time for classes starting. How had Neil not thought of this before now?
When he came back to himself he realised the silence between them had turned stoney. Andrew had gave all that information without a fight and Neil still hadn't gave anything back.
"I'm sorry - I should have guessed you were doing something important in that time. I just thought you came up here to have your own time or something." He paused, carefully looking over at Andrew. "I miss you on those Friday mornings but I get how important they are now."
Andrew hummed, and Neil licked his lips. "Do you want me to shut up?"
Andrew flicked a glance at him. "We both know you're not done."
"I can be for now, if you want."
Andrew was silent. They each got through another cigarette before he looked at Neil, a vaguely expectant expression on his face. Neil took that as permission to continue with the questions.
"Is this mania the same as the drug one?"
"The medicated one was that - medicated. Constant high, but controlled. It never sank below a certain level." Andrew grimaced before surprising Neil by raising one hand to the air between them, and gesturing in a vaguely similar way to how Matt had explained Andrew's highs and medication when Neil had first began playing with the team.
"The medicated one was always here," Andrew said, hand in line with his shoulder. He dropped it a few inches then returned it to the top again as he spoke. "It never went past here, and always returned to here." He dropped it slightly lower, about half way down his arm. "When I came off them for games or Edens, it never went lower than here." He paused to make sure Neil was still following, before continuing. "When they took me off it, I had to hit rock bottom - natural manic low - before they could get me back up to 'normal', here." As he spoke, Andrew dropped his hand down to his wrist, then raised it to his elbow. When Neil nodded that he was still following, Andrew spoke again.
"This mania rarely goes that high or that low. Yesterday went from here to here-" He moved his hand from his elbow to just above halfway up his arm, "-and last night from here to here-" From halfway up his arm to halfway down, "and then back to here." Back the his elbow.
Neil nodded. That made sense.
"Did I do the right thing?" he asked a few minutes later. "By telling you no?"
Andrew stubbed his cigarette out.
"Can you consent when you're manic?"
Neil relaxed. He had done the right thing, after all. And then -
"What was the medication actually for?"
Andrew flicked him a bored look.
"You can figure that out yourself." Neil watched as Andrew stood up and began walking back to the door.
"Are the rest of us allowed back in the bedroom tonight?"
"Yes," Andrew replied and Neil smiled, stubbing his cigarette out and following after Andrew, who was waiting in the stairwell.
"Thank you," Neil quietly murmured. Then he paused. "You can ask me whatever you want - it's only fair."
Andrew considered him for a few seconds before turning. Neil smiled, following him back to their dorm room, which was still empty. Neil locked it behind them, turning to find Andrew a step away from him.
"Yes or no?" Andrew asked.
Neil grinned. "Yes."
Andrew kissed him, gently pressing him back into the door. This time, Neil let him, only touching where and when Andrew gave him permission to. He was so glad he had made the right call.