Chapter Five

I opened my eyes to see Dalton standing over me with a worried expression on his face. I tried to smile at my brother to ease that look off his face but I was in too much pain. Instead I just blinked at him. Then I thought of Dyllan and tried to sit up. As I moved there was a wave of white hot pain that radiated from my shoulder, across my neck and up the sides of my face to the top of my head. I dropped back against the bed with a groan.

"Easy, killer," said Dalton, putting a hand on my good shoulder. "You scared me, Bro."

"Dyllan?" I managed in a weak voice that made it sound like a croak.

"He's in surgery," replied Dalton. "Trent Perkins has been arrested and so has Coach Miller."

"Coach?" I asked, stunned. What had Coach done to be arrested? He'd gotten Trent away from me and Dyllan and the knife out of his hand.

"Yeah," Dalton chuckled. "He did a number on Trent; broke his arm in three places. They arrested him for assault."

"Mom?" I asked, suddenly understanding that we were alone in the room and she was nowhere to be found.

"She's talking to the police," Dalton informed. "She'll be in here in a minute."

"My back?"

"You're going to be fine, Bro," said Dalton with the first smile I'd seen since opening my eyes to find him looking back at me. "No severe damage."

"I hurt," I sighed. My eyes were so heavy and I wondered if they had given me something to make me groggy. They must have because I didn't remember anything after Coach and Dean Pritchard had intervened.

"Of course you hurt, dummy," laughed Dalton. "You were stabbed."

"Oh God," I sighed again, remembering the sight of Dyllan and all of the blood. I was really worried about him. Compared to what he'd suffered I was fine and dandy.

"Amy, Carl and half the football team are in the waiting room," said Dalton. "Mike and Andy are here too."

"Why?" I asked, thinking that Mike and Andy were the last two on Earth that I wanted to see at that point.

"They're your friends, dork," he said, smirking at him.

"Right," I said weakly and lost my battle. Sleep claimed me again.

When I opened my eyes again my mother was sitting in the chair beside my bed. She smiled at me when she saw that I was awake. I tried to sit up again and got my second reminder that I was wounded. Instead I just moaned, getting Mom to her feet instantly. She stood over me saying something I couldn't hear. All I could hear was my slamming heartbeat. My throat hurt and I desperately needed a drink.

"Mom," I was able to whisper. She came closer.

"I'm here," she said, and I hated the pained look on her face.

"Water," I whispered, trying to swallow and wincing.

She turned to get a styrofoam cup and filled it from a water pitcher on the table beside the bed. She held it so I could drink from the straw. The cold water soothed my aching throat instantly. I took another long pull before she pulled it back and sat it on the table again. I wanted more but I wasn't going to argue with her.

"You shouldn't drink it too fast," she cautioned. "You could choke."

"Dyllan?" I asked, thinking of him again.

"He's going to be all right," she said. "He's out of surgery and the doctor said that he'll make a full recovery. He lost a lot of blood, but your brother was able to donate."

"Dalton?" I asked. It amazed me. Dalton wasn't exactly the most selfless person in the world.

"Surprised me too," she said. "But he said that you and Dyllan have been friends since the sandbox and he wanted to help."

"Thank him for me," I said, closing my eyes and sighing with relief. Dyllan was going to be all right.

"You can thank him yourself when he gets here," she said. "He'll be off work in about an hour."

"How long have I been asleep?" I asked. "He was just here."

"That was yesterday, Sebastian," she said, smiling at me. "The doctor needed you to sleep so that you didn't move around and tear out your stitches."

"I want to go home," I said as that information sank into my head.

"Tomorrow," she said. "The doctor told us that you would be released in the morning."

"Can I see Dyllan?" I asked. The thought just popped into my head. I wanted to see him to make sure that he was all right. It wasn't that I didn't believe my mother. I just needed to see him with my own eyes. I couldn't get the sight of him lying in that pool of blood out of my head.

"Not tonight," she said. "Get some sleep, Sebastian. You need to rest. You can see Dyllan in the morning after you're discharged."

I knew there was no point in arguing with her. I was tired anyway. I supposed the drug that the doctor had given me hadn't worn off yet. I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep. This time I slept peacefully until a nurse woke me bright and early the next morning to take my blood pressure and temperature.

"Morning," she said with a bright smile.

"Morning," I replied, looking around the room and finding that my mother wasn't there any longer. I realized that I'd slept through the evening and the night, missing Dalton's visit. "Is my mother here in the hospital?"

"She'll be back with clothes for you to wear home," she said. "The doctor is just starting his rounds. He'll be in to speak with you soon."

"Thank you," I said with a sigh as I laid back against the bed.

The nurse was barely out of the room when my mother came in. She was carrying my gym bag and I had to laugh at the sight of it without my pads in it. She smiled when she heard me laugh. I was happy to be going home, but I still wanted to check on Dyllan. I wanted to go straight to his room as soon as I was released.

"Morning," said my mother as she came over and kissed the top of my head.

"Morning," I replied. "I'm ready to get out of here."

"Well why don't you wait for the doctor?" she asked. "He's right next door."

We talked about anything other than Melissa, Dyllan or the stabbing while we waited for the doctor. Mom told me about her trip and asked how Dalton and I had gotten along while she was gone.

When the doctor came in he just gave me simple instructions on how to care for my wound. I could take a shower as soon as I got home. I just had to remove the dressing before and put a new one on after. He said it was time for the dressing to be changed anyway. Then he told me I could get dressed as another nurse came in with my discharge papers. As soon as I was sprung I went down the hall to Dyllan's room. I ran into his parents as I was almost to his room. Mr and Mrs Long both smiled when they saw me. I was enveloped in a careful hug by Mrs Long. Mr Long patted me on my good shoulder.

"We're so thankful for what you did, Sebastian," said Mrs Long as she let go of me.

"I didn't do much of anything," I replied honestly. I had only sat with him and pleaded with God to let him be alright.

"Standing up for Dyllan was a lot of something to us, son," said Mr Long. "I was really happy to see that the two of you were friends again."

"I've always been Dyllan's friend, Mr Long," I said. "We just grew a part for a while."

"Well, thank you for what you did for him anyway," said Mrs Long. "He's awake, and I'm sure he'd like to see you."

I walked into his room and the first look I got of him made me wince. He had a huge bandage around his chest and he looked pale and kind of sick. I walked over to his bed and sat in the chair beside it. He looked over at me and gave me a weak smile. I smiled back at him but I couldn't say anything for a moment.

"Thank you, Sebastian," he said after a long moment. "Thank you for being my friend even after you found out."

"Dyllan, I'm going to be your friend for a very long time," I replied. "Probably the rest of our lives."

"I like the sound of that," he said. "I don't have many friends anymore."

"Don't say that," I said quickly. "Amy and Carl are your friends. I'm sure you have more than you realize right now."

"As long as you're still my friend I'm happy," he said. "I'm sorry you got hurt because of me."

"I didn't get hurt because of you, Dyllan," I corrected. "I got hurt because Trent Perkins is a hateful person who couldn't see past his own hatred long enough to understand that you and I are human."

"I probably won't be going back to school," he said softly, turning away from me. "I don't think I could face it now."

"I think I understand," I replied. "I just hope that you'll still come over to my house every day when you get home from whatever school you go to."

"I'll do that," he said. "My mom is going to home school me for a while."

"That sounds good," I said for lack of anything better to say. I knew nothing about home schooling. I was sad to hear that he wasn't going back to Bryarwood High. I could understand his reason for not wanting to come back, but I'd miss him.

"Sebastian, we really should get going," said my mother as she poked her head through the door. "I'm happy to see that you're doing well, Dyllan."

"Thank you, Mrs. Landry," he said. "I have Sebastian to thank for that."

"I'll come see you tomorrow," I promised.

"Bye, Seb," he said.

I did visit him the next day and every day that he was in the hospital. He got out of the hospital a week later, and Amy, Carl and I were at his house waiting for him when they brought him home. We didn't stay long because he looked so tired, but we were there to welcome him home. I went back to school a few days after getting out of the hospital. I wasn't allowed to play football, but I did go to every practice. The charges against our coach were dropped and he was back on the field when I got back to school. He shook my hand and told me how sorry he was that I had gotten hurt and that he was happy that I'd come to practice.

The other guys on the team all shook my hand as they took the field. I was happy for that. I wasn't sure how any of them would feel about me after what had happened. I was glad to see that they at least wanted me on the team. I wasn't exactly friends with all of them, but they were my brothers in a way.

Amy and I started dating seriously and everyone accepted us as a couple. The rumors about me and Dyllan died before Amy and I announced our relationship. Melissa was expelled from school for spray painting Dyllan's locker while we were both in the hospital. She had been convicted of the perpetration of a hate crime as well. She was currently spending her sentence in some place called Riverhaven about forty miles outside of Bryarwood.

Dyllan started coming over a few weeks later, after I got home from school. We were very happy to see him and included him in our homework party. He told us all about the way his mom was teaching him. It wasn't much different than getting assignments while you were sick from the sound of it. He had the same books that we all had, and he had the same homework.

A few weeks after that, he started to come to the Galaxy on Friday nights with Paul Tate. Paul was the Bryarwood Knights' quarterback. The revelation of his sexuality and the fact that he and Dyllan were together was quite a shock. As the school year continued our Galaxy group grew. Ryan Jackson and Jason Oliver had joined them. Jessica Williams and Brad Carlton had as well. Brad was another player on the team, and I was worried about what he would think about Dyllan and Paul. He took in stride without saying anything but a congratulation to both of them and I was relieved.

Life got back to normal for all of us after a while. Well, normal is a relative term I guess. Life went back to ordinary, anyway.

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