Andrew walked out of the goal as soon as Neil picked up the ball, he moved faster when he saw number 14 speed up instead of slow down as Neil threw it. He heard the buzzer go off, he watched everyone moves except Neil. His team celebrated as Neil laid crumpled on the ground. Andrew carefully pulled the helmet off, he wanted to reach for his knives and slash number 14. Though he was lost to the groupings of players and Neil lay helpless in his arms.
Andrew glared at everyone as they carried Neil back to the locker room. They took him into Abby’s office as she looked him over. The rest stood around each other, all of the cheer from the victory died out. Even the freshman was quiet. Andrew headed for the door, he was blocked by his brother. “Move”
“No,” Aaron said. Andrew tightened his fists. “Are you really going to punch me?” Aaron asked like it was a taunt that Andrew wanted to follow through with. He turned back to the office when the door opened.
“The wound is small, it looked worse than it was,” She said, pointedly to Andrew. Andrew was still ready to kill.
Abby stepped into the room, letting the door behind her shut. “He needs a hospital though, I think we should do an MRI”
“No,” Andrew said. Abby sighed, shaking her head just slightly.
“Andrew he could be hurt” Andrew couldn’t stand to see him in the hospital, too many memories from the last time Neil had visited were fresh in his mind. The burns and cuts were now scars that would fade with time but in Andrew’s mind, the memories would never fade.
“Alright, fine I will be back in fifteen minutes if he doesn't wake up then we’re taking him to the hospital,” Abby said. She didn’t wait for Andrew to answer instead she headed out of the room, letting the door slam behind her.
“He really should go to the hospital,” Dan said, Andrew glared at her. She glared back taking a step forward. Matt got in her way, “I agree with her” he added.
“It’s not your decision,” Andrew said. She scoffed moving around Matt.
“And it's yours? Whatever your relationship is, he needs a hospital Andrew” Andrew pulled a knife out stepping towards her.
Wymack moved forward between them “Enough with this shit” He yelled. “Andrew knock it off, we don’t need any more players injured. Aaron go talk to Abby. If he’s not awake when I open this door he’s going to the hospital. Is that clear?” He didn’t wait for anyone to answer, he pulled the door open. They all watched the chair come out first smashing into Coach and knocking him backward. Neil came out looking scared and determined, his eyes shifted back and forth quickly scanning the room. Andrew crossed his arms, Neil was awake but it wasn’t Neil. It was someone who didn’t recognize them, a runaway. He ignored Nicky’s comments and watched Neil. Andrew had never seen that kind of fear on him, he didn’t like it.
Renee was the one to step forward first. Andrew didn't try and stop her.
“What's going on?” He asked, “and where’s my mom?” Andrew glared at the blood on Neil’s shirt at the mention of his mother.
Renee stepped closer, “Neil do-” Neil cut her off before she could even start her sentence. “My name is Alex,” He said. He said it the same way he said that his name was Neil. Andrew didn't know the extent of Neil’s alias’ but this was one of them. Wymack finally moved startling Neil, Andrew shifted his glare to Wymack though he was ignored. Neil moved, Andrew stepped in his way. Neil whipped around when he bumped into him. Andrew grit his teeth, Neil should never be afraid of him. Neil shifted until his back was to the wall, his eyes shifting around the room for an exit.
Kevin stepped in next, “Nathanial,” Kevin said his tone rough. Andrew watched Neil lose color in his face.
“Your father is dead,” Andrew told him, he had to end this show as soon as possible. He was now rethinking his decision on keeping him away from the hospital.
“Where’s my mom?” he asked.
“She's dead,” Andrew said. Andrew stared at Neil, watching the vein in Neil’s neck pulse at rabbit speed. He ignored Allison’s comment about him being too blunt. He could care less what they thought, Neil was the only one that mattered.
“When? How?” Neil sounded younger, more innocent. Andrew hated everything about this moment and had even more fuel to kill number 14. Wymack moved closer, no doubt to check on Neil’s condition. Neil flinched away and Andrew had enough of everyone watching him as if he was a spectacle on display.
“Three years for your mother and one for your father,” he said
“I was just with her” Alex said,
“Fuck off,” Andrew told Wymack. He sighed, motioning for the team to leave. He glared at Allison before she could say anything else. She rolled her eyes and with a push from Renee continued moving.
Andrew took a step back, it didn't stop Neil from being tense. Andrew asked him several questions, wondering how deep this Alias of his went. Andrew was annoyed that this situation happened. Neil was already enough to handle, he didn't want to have to deal with all of his “past lives” as well.
“I'm sorry,” Neil said, Andrew took two steps back. He didn't want Neil, or rather Alex to fear him. Maybe he did before but not anymore. Andrew looked away, “Andrew” He looked back at Alex, Neil truly should have been an actor. He had a slight crease in his forehead, a small pout to his lips. “My name”. The confusion cleared, they were quiet for a few moments. Andrew turned, Nicky pushed open the door popping his head in. Andrew glared at him, Nicky quickly backed out. Andrew tensed when he watched Neil slide against the wall, Andrew stepped closer but stopped until Neil reached out to him. Andrew quickly moved forward, swiftly pick up Neil. Andrew held him close for a few seconds before moving out of the stadium. He carefully laid him in the backseat of the car, he watched Neils' eyes flitter. Andrew ran his fingers through his hair, pulling it up to look at the small bandage Abby had put on his head. Andrew pulled back, number 14 was still going to die.
Andrew glared at the out of order sign on the elevator. Number 14 had until Neil was better to live. Andrew headed toward the stairs, with each step Number 14 death scenario got worse and worse. When he made it to their floor he glared at the grouping of Foxes. He ignored all of them and their comments, especially Nicky’s. Aaron followed him into his dorm.
“Andrew just take him to a hospital”
“Aaron fuck off”
Aaron rolled his eyes, following him as he set Neil on the bed. “Andrew he could have a brain injury, there could be some serious damage. He could die” Andrew glared at him, leaving the room.
Andrew grabbed painkillers and a glass of water, “Andrew get in here” Aaron called him from the room. Andrew moved quickly, stopping at the door. “He wants you to lay down with him, I'm not doing it,” Aaron said, Moving past Andrew as Andrew moved into the room. He set the water and bottle of pills on the table. He watched Alex shift back, It was something Neil wouldn’t do. Andrew laid down, it was only a minute before he was sleeping. Andrew carefully got out of the bed, he headed back out in the living room. Dan, Matt, Aaron, and Nicky stood in the living. Andrew glared at all of them, Andrew moved past them to the hallway. They all quickly followed him, out. He made sure the door was shut behind them.
“If you won't take him in then I will,” Dan said. The others gave their opinions like Andrew actually cared to hear them, he didn't. He listened to them drone on and on. Andrew would never admit it, but he was terrified. If something was wrong with Neil, he couldn't do anything to stop it.
“He is not going to a hospital,” Andrew said.
“He needs treatment” Dan argued. Andrew didn't feel like have this argument again. It was a waste of his time. He didn't want Neil to wake up in the hospital, if they tried to force him then he kill all of them.
“I’m staying with Andrew” Andrew would never admit to the swoop in his stomach at that sentence. He didn't move or do anything to give away his beating heart until Neil nearly ran when he noticed Kevin. Andrew stepped between them, “Go back in the room Abram” Nicky, Aaron, Kevin, and Renee followed him a few seconds later. He didn't understand why they were all going into his dorm but he had a different battle to handle first.
“Andrew you know he isn't normal, he really needs a doctor. What if he stays like that forever?”
“You don't know that! I know your not stupid Andrew. Exy is a dangerous sport, he could have brain damage” Her tone softened near the end. Andrew didn't answer her, he already ran through the possible damage the Neil could have. It was something that Andrew couldn't have prevented, he couldn't fix him.
“We all care about Neil, we can take him if you don't want to”
“No, I’ll take him tomorrow”
“Fine, but if you don't then I will” Andrew ignored her threat, he turned and just as he opened the door Neil was bumping into him. Andrew stepped back, he looked past Neil to where Nicky and the others were betting against something. Seeing Aaron come out of the room, pissed him off. They all shoved the money in their pockets. Andrew pulled a knife, hiding it from Neil. “If you ever bet on him again you won't live to regret it” he didn't care for their silent answers. He pulled Neils chin towards him, He still wasn't really Neil though.
“What's your name?” He asked. He already knew the answer that he was going to give.
“Alex Wagner” it still pissed him off to hear it, Neil’s mom had instilled so much fear into him that even to Andrew he would still tell him his fake name. Andrew dropped his chin, this wasn’t his Neil, this was Alex. Neil was somewhere in his mind among the other alias’ that Neil had before he became Neil. Was it just a matter of time before each of them came back to haunt him? Andrew couldn't believe how much he hated Neil in this very moment. Neil was his, the others weren’t. He wanted, no he needed Neil back. “What's my name?” Alex asked.
“Neil Josten” If just telling him his name brought him back, Andrew would say it for the rest of their lives.
“Who is he?” He would say his name but Andrew wouldn't tell him who to be.
“You” Andrew watched Alex begin to pout, he pulled out the picture missing from their wall. Andrew looked at the empty spot on the wall again, it was strange to see it empty. Andrew clenched his fists when he saw tears start down Neil’s face. Andrew moved closer, whether it was Alex or Neil he could only give him one thing. He pressed his finger to photo, tapping it.
“This is something” Andrew watched him stare at the photo, he wouldn't explain it to him. It was only something that Neil, would understand.
“I'm tired,” Alex said, Andrew rolled his eyes when Alex stared at him. He climbed in, he didn't touch Alex and the moment he was sleeping Andrew was out of the bed.
The living room was quiet when he entered, all eyes focused on him. “What?” He asked.
“Andrew is so sweet, I knew you had it in you” Nicky held his chest, he wiped away fake tears.
“Shut up,” Andrew told him, glaring until he did. “Get out, all of you” Renee herded out the upperclassmen, Aaron hauled out Nicky. It only left Kevin. “If you spout off about Exy”
“I wasn't going to, but he might not wake up alone,” Kevin said pushing off from the couch, Andrew let him pass him to the bathroom. Andrew turned back around to his room, Neil was still sleeping. Andrew changed into Neil’s gray foxes sweats, shutting the light off he climbed into the bed moving around Neil to lay against the wall.
Andrew woke up before Neil, he closed his eyes when Neil began to wake. Neil shifted but mostly he was still. Andrew could feel him staring and he knew it had to be Neil, he wanted it to be Neil. He heard the picture crinkle and when he opened his eyes Neil was setting it aside. It was hard to see Neil’s face in the light.
“What's your name?” Andrew asked, sitting up he tried to see Neil’s face better. Neil followed his lead.
Just hearing him say it wasn’t enough, he needed to know he was really Neil. “How old are you?”
This one had Neil hesitating but he still answered. “21”
“Where do you live?”
“Here, with you in South Carolina why are you asking me-” Andrew cut him, Neil was back.
It may have been Neil again but he needed to reassurance. “Yes or no?”
“Yes” Andrew pulled him into a heated kiss, it was the reassurance he needed when Neil had first been injured. He needed to feel that Neil was real, that he was okay and that he was still with him. Andrew pulled Neil closer by his neck, leaning their foreheads together. It was a while before Andrew could force himself away. Andrew kept them in bed for a few minutes, he wasn't ready for the antics of the Foxes when they figured out Neil was himself again.
Eventually, Andrew let him go, He could hear the others in the living room. He watched Neil leave when he was gone Andrew slowly followed. First, he returned the picture to its place on the wall, he headed to the kitchen, the others focused on the TV. it wasn't long before Neil made himself known and Nicky was yelling his name. The moment he heard Nicky continue talking he moved behind him, sliding a knife out of his sleeve. Andrew didn't move but it could still tell when it barely cut into his neck. When Nicky tried to backpedal, Andrew withdrew a few steps back.
He watched Neil as he took in the information of the accident, it was clear that Neil didn't remember anything after the accident. His eyes tracked him, especially when Neil moved closer and smiled at him. “Yes,” Andrew whispered. He didn't care about anyone else in the room, he pulled Neil toward their room. Seeing the picture on the wall when he walked in settled something in him.
Neil shut the door, he leaned against it letting Andrew hold his wrist. “Andrew, what happened?”
Andrew dropped Neil’s hand, stepping closer he leaned against “They already told you”
“You put the picture back”
“When did you become observant?” Andrew asked Neil answered with a knowing smile. This was Neil, this was something.