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Jay: Not long after Malachi and Jade departed, Jesse fell asleep, leaving Kellen with the full responsibility of distracting himself. Though he hears Mike and Tim return, not too much later, he stays where he is - he's not sure he could keep his composure about the whole thing, without Jesse there to act as a buffer. So he actually does school work - an almost-overdue essay for comparative religion class - until the return of his stomach ache forces him to leave off, smoke a bit more weed, and go to bed. Before he does, he decides he'll consult with the nurse about the reoccurring symptom, if it shows up tomorrow as well.

But he never actually gets the opportunity to do that, because after some few hours of sleep, the symptom becomes awful enough to wake him up. There's a groggy curse, which rapidly changes to a wordless groan as consciousness breaks in fully, and Kellen rolls onto his side to curl up into a ball. This doesn't help at all, and after gnawing on his lower lip and subsisting with only quiet whimpers - not wanting to wake his roommate - the pain in his belly spikes so suddenly as to force what even the most generous description would have to call a scream, a noise he would certainly never make if he were more in command of himself.


Jackie: Since he was so fucking stoned earlier, Jesse falls asleep in much the same position he was in when Mal departed - wrapped up in his blanket and curled up on his side. He remains like that throughout the night, not even flinching and shifting when Kellen flicks on his desk light and works on homework. He's blissfully unaware of everything, up until he hears that scream.

Immediately, his eyes snap open, and he moves to reach into his night stand for his small, pocket sized flashlight. He's still got the blanket wrapped around himself, and he peers over at Kellen's bed with wide eyes; never before has he heard his room mate make such a noise, so undoubtedly that means something has happened. He shines the light in the direction of that other body, and then shoots into action, leaping across the small space to pounce onto the bed and inspect. "Kellen! Are you okay? Was it a ghost?" For that, he picks up his head and shines the light around the room, fully expecting to see the ghost of the dead priest hovering near the ceiling.


Jay: And on the other side of the bathroom door (which Tim has not yet equipped with a new lock), Michael also startles awake at that noise, a hand instinctively scrabbling under the pillow where his switchblade usually rests. Belately remembering its movement into a nightstand drawer, he pushes himself up on an elbow and reaches over Tim to turn on the little lamp there. More awake now, he understands that the knife won't be necessary, listening intently to the voices in the other room.

The fetal position having failed, Kellen instead rolls onto his face, both hands flattened against his lower stomach. Jesse's words do penetrate, and if he had the ability right now, he'd surely laugh for Jesse's first assumption. But he can't, and only groans, shaking his head where it's pressed into the pillow and gnawing fiercely still on his lip.


Jackie: Unusually, Tim doesn't startle for that scream - his new medicines and overall exhaustion making him sleep heavily, unconscious to the world until the mattress shifts. Mike's movements force Tim, who was nicely tucked away on his side and nuzzling into Michael's bicep, to shift a little more heavily against his room mate. He only makes a quiet, questioning noise when the bedside lamp is flicked on - because it's a clear sign that something is not normal, and won't go back to normal until something else is done. Still, he doesn't move into action, and instead talks against Michael's ribs. "What is it?"

Tucking his legs under himself, Jesse is basically kneeling on the bed, his blanket having shifted around enough to where it's more like a cape than a burrito wrapping. Once he's able to determine that there are no visible ghosts, he turns more to look at Kellen, and when the boy doesn't technically speak, it sets a warning flare to Jesse that something is seriously wrong. "What is it? What hurts?" With how much his room mate is normally concerned with being hard core, he's clearly very vulnerable right now, so Jesse presses a hand to his back and sucks his own lower lip into his mouth.


Jay: Staring towards the bathroom door, Michael doesn't at first realize that Tim is awake, but the question that comes a moment later doesn't startle him. He shakes his head vaguely. "Dunno...Kellen, I think." That assumption is confirmed a moment later, when another noise of pain emanates from the conjoined room - not as loud as the previous scream, but foreboding enough of itself that Mike pushes back the covers and hops out of bed to hurry into that other room.

There's a moment when the pain abates enough for Kellen to turn his head to the side and suck in a deep breath, though his eyes stay firmly closed and his expression is still drawn. "Fuck...god. My stomach." This is explained as briefly as possible, and the kid has no chance to go on, having to force his face into the pillow to muffle another scream.


Jackie: There's a moment of complete silence, where the only thing Tim hears is his own heart beat, and he momentarily thinks that things are all right - that perhaps Kellen and Jesse can't sleep and are playing ghost games. He's about to make another noise, understanding Mike's words, but he gets interrupted by another scream that is definitely alarming. Immediately, Tim's eyes snap open, and he lifts his head to look at the bathroom door. He hears Jesse making little panicked noises - the kind of sounds the boy makes when he's nervous and scared - and Tim hauls himself out of bed, still groggy, but following Michael into the next room.

Jesse gnaws on that lip, unsure of what to do, and starts rubbing his hand smoothly along Kellen's back. But that second scream makes him jump, and the answer to his question doesn't help, either - Jesse knows close to nothing when it comes to the human body's inner workings. "Is it like...a stabbing feeling? Or just an upset tummy? Maybe that burrito was bad..." He shifts around a little more, looking down at Kellen with concerned eyes that widen when he has more time to think of potential reasons the boy is in pain. "Or...oh my god, what if it's phantom pains?! Oh my god, oh my god."


Jay: Surely, Kellen appreciates Jesse's concern, but he can't show it much right now. His body more or less forces itself to fold up, knees crawling up to his chest while his hands just flail and scrabble at the sheets helplessly. Shaking his head is the best he can do to answer those inquiries, though he might otherwise point out that phantom pains are usually caused by a missing limb, not actual phantoms.

Once Mike is actually in the bathroom and can see Kellen and Jesse, his pace picks up so he more or less jogs the few remaining yards to the bed, where he comes to a stop, nude and disheveled and wide-eyed. He stares at Kellen for a moment, then at Jesse, eyebrows raising nearly to his hairline. "What? What is it? Did someone shank him?"


Jackie: Jesse continues to rub along the boy's back, eventually dropping his flashlight so he can use both hands, trying to soothe Kellen to a point that he can maybe explain himself some more. But that doesn't seem to work, but something else pulls his attention away: Michael and, soon after, Tim come barreling into the room. The former is completely naked, and Tim is only in his pajama bottoms, and Jesse has to shake his head, his own eyebrows far up on his forehead. "I don't know! He has stomach pains. He just woke up screaming-- why are you naked?" Because innocent little Jesse sees no reason to be naked at two in the morning, on a school night.

Following after Ness, Tim hurries into the next room, some part of his body relaxing when he sees that Jesse is, physically, okay. He quickly scans over both boys, and then steps closer, trying to see what could be causing this pain.


Jay: "Oh...


Jay: ...


Jay: "Oh..." Mike is no less perplexed by that answer, looking back at Kellen's face - what he can see of it - as if he wants the other boy to confirm this diagnosis. He looks like he got stabbed, the way he's curled over, and his face so pale. The next question throws him, and his gaze snaps back to Jesse, this time lifting only one eyebrow because is that really what's important right now? "Pajamas are an unnecessary expense. Shouldn't we do something?"

Writhing helplessly around on the bed and trapped in his own little world, Kellen only notices the arrival of their suitemates after Mike has been talking for a couple moments. Catching that last question, he once more turns his head to the side, forcing his eyes open now (thus revealing the pathetic gaze and watery eyes he was trying to hide) to stare at the others, feeling a little spark of relief when he spots Tim alongside Ness. "Leech! Tim, please...get Leech." Because Tim will be able to do more than pound on Leech's door until the parasite gets exasperated enough to actually answer it; he has keys.


Jackie: When Jesse questions Mike's lack of clothing, he sounds exasperated, but not distracted - he immediately goes back to trying to console his friend. He squirms a little closer to Kellen and ducks down, getting his face somewhat close to Kellen's and pressing his forehead to the boy's shoulder - perhaps hoping the reasoning behind Kellen's pain will transfer into Jesse's head through osmosis.

Tim, still having not said anything, tries to rake his sleepy mind for any remedies he can offer Kellen for an upset stomach. However, once he gets a look at the boy's face, it's clear that this is more than just sour food or an angry intestinal system. He's about to offer to go call the nurse, but Kellen interrupts his thought process, and Tim definitely wakes up more for the mention of the parasite. He looks down at Kellen silently for a moment, and then stirs into action, knowing that he has those keys and this is definitely a time when he should use them. He's already half way through the bathroom when he affirms to Kellen: "Yeah, okay, be right back. Jess, get him a wet rag, try to cool him down a bit."


Jay: Kellen groans in what he tries to make an appreciative manner, when Tim sets off so agreeably, then goes right back to his squirming around. Somehow he ends up more or less in Jesse's lap, wrapped around him like a boa constrictor. Eyelids closed again, hands turned to white-knuckled fists, he can't control the entirety of the plaintive noises he releases but does manage to keep from screaming, assured that help is coming - because Leech fixes everything, naturally.

Michael, for his part, continues to be useless and bewildered, watching Tim set out and only looking back at Kellen when his roommate disappears from view. Since Jesse is indisposed by the Kellen wrapped about him, Mike instead carries out Tim's suggestion, heading to the bathroom to find a cloth to dampen. He comes back with it shortly, handing it off to Jesse for administering.


Jackie: Hauling himself back into his own room, Tim stumbles around for a shirt and slips it on - ignoring the fact that it's one of Michael's. He goes to his desk to retrieve the keys given to him by Leech and slips on a pair of slippers (something given to him by Lars, undoubtedly) before heading downstairs. He keeps a steady pace through the hallways and down the stairs, so by the time he's slipping into Leech's quarters, he's out of breath and a little all over the place. As soon as he enters the small apartment, he peers around for a sign of Leech; the main room and kitchen are dark and empty, but Cooper starts bounding at him from the hallway where the bedrooms are. Tim heads in that direction, one hand distractedly petting at the dog when he enters the room and locates Leech in bed. "Leech. Leech, you gotta come upstairs, right now."

As Kellen slowly wraps himself around Jesse, the younger boy in turn wraps his arms around the lanky form, and then lowers himself so he can press his cheek to Kellen's back. He only looks up at Ness when that damp rag is offered out, and he takes it immediately and starts using it to brush Kellen's sweaty hair off his forehead. "How long have you been hurting?"


Jay: Though Leech is in bed, he is not asleep - actually, he's not even trying, but has his laptop with him and appears to be working (or at least not looking at porn). The sound of the outer door opening alerts him to a visitor but, thinking it's probably Kellen since night visits are common from him, he doesn't bother to get up. But then Timothy comes through that door, and just looking at him, it's apparent that something's up. Leech moves the laptop and is out of bed before the boy finishes speaking. "What is it, pet? Are you arrite?" Snatching a pair of pants from the end of the bed, Leech pulls them on.

Roused a bit from his inner struggle, by that cool clothe, Kellen presses his face into it appreciatively. His voice is tight and quiet when he answers. "First, last night...then a little bit today, but not this bad. Ahh, fuck me..." Giving up on the cloth, he buries his nose against Jesse's side, gritting his teeth and whining through them. Still helpless, Ness moves closer and sits on the edge of the bed, but seems hesitant to actually touch the kid - and entirely sure nothing he could do would prove helpful.


Jackie: By this time, Cooper is wagging his tail and hopping up and down, licking at the hand Tim is using to rub and pat at his face. Still out of breath, if only a little bit since it hasn't even been five minutes since he first woke up, Tim nods his head, then shakes it, already starting for the door. "I'm fine. It's Kellen-- his stomach. Just woke up to him yelping. Jesse's with him now, but he asked for you." And now, the both of them are in the main room, heading towards the door.

When Kellen pushes into that cool rag, a little bit of Jesse feels better: at least the boy isn't in too much pain that everything hurts. He lifts his own head and continues to look down at Kellen, eyebrows knotted. "Oh, okay...well, Lint is getting Leech. I'm sure you'll be okay..." The weakness in Jesse's voice clearly shows the boy's worry - and just how not good he is at handling panicky situations.


Jay: That description sounds pretty mild, all things considered, but Leech starts looking frantic regardless as soon as Timothy says his brother's name and only gets moreso as he goes on. "Fuck." After stuffing his feet into a pair of much-worn converse, Leech grabs the usual necessities - wallet, cigarettes, phone, keys - from the table on the way out, half by instinct. He doesn't ask for more particulars, saving his breath to hurry down the hallway and up the stairs.

Absurdly, Kellen feels bad for the worry he can hear in Jesse's voice - though with most people he might not even notice it - so he attempts a reassuring nod. It's cut short by a sharp inhale through his nose, which air comes back out immediately in a yowl muted against the back of his teeth. This noise makes Michael's shoulders hunch, and he reaches over to pat Kellen's head, hopelessly exchanging a glance with Jesse and speaking in a low voice. "Hope they hurry." As much as he dislikes Leech, he's seen plenty of proofs of Kellen's affection for the creepy dungeon dweller, and the return of that affection, so perhaps he is the best person to send for.


Jackie: Tim gets to the door before Leech does, and holds it open for the older boy to pass through. He hurries along with him, back down that hallway and up the stairs, until they're back in Jesse and Kellen's dorm room. This time, he's definitely more out of breath, so he hovers back towards the door and tries to recollect himself - feeling a little better in knowing that Leech is here and, from the looks of it, Kellen isn't dead yet,

Continuing to pet that cool rag along Kellen's hairline, Jesse nods as well, maybe because he thinks it'll reassure his room mate. He looks back at Ness much the same way the older boy looks at him, and he too nods, but speaks to comfort Kellen more so than anything else. "They will." And just a few moments later, the boys appear, and Jesse looks at Leech with big, wide eyes.


Jay: Along the route, Leech tries to mentally convince himself that it isn't anything too bad, all the while cursing under his breath. Really, with the kid's eating and drinking habits, it's astonishing he doesn't get stomach aches all the time - but he doesn't, and Leech remembers too well Kellen calling the previous night, when he and Timothy were at the apartment, to complain of his stomach hurting.

However he tries to beguile himself, it's all torn away when he reaches the room and spots Kellen surrounded by his useless but concerned nursemaids. He doesn't pause or even slow down, but pushes past Ness and climbs over Jesse to get to Kellen. Kneeling on the bed and folding over the stricken boy, Leech pets both hands through his hair and speaks in a very quiet tone, inquiries and reassurances. The look of pain on Kellen's pale face and the strained way he speaks is enough to make the parasite want to fall apart, but of course, he can't - there's no one else to take the responsibility over for him. Kellen can't answer all of the queries, so Leech looks to Jesse instead. "When did it start? Was it this bad last night?"

Once Leech arrives and, thankfully, takes no notice of him, Michael stands up again and paces back to the bathroom door, giving Tim a brief wretched look. Then, he goes to put on some pants, because it seems like a bad idea to remain so vulnerably naked when Leech is in the vicinity.


Jackie: Watching Leech approach the bed, Jesse shifts to make room, but doesn't completely withdraw from Kellen's form - especially since the boy doesn't seem to pull away from him at all. He looks back down at his room mate and moves that rag to the back of his neck, hoping to cool him down since his skin is definitely warmer than it was when he first got to him. "Oh, um, I don't know - I didn't know it was bothering him at all. He kind of said something after dinner, but then we just hung out. He woke up screaming like, five minutes ago."

Tim, still hovering off to the side, looks up at Michael and gives him a Look - something like gratefulness, since he was the one to first wake up, and appreciation, since he does genuinely look concerned. Tim crosses his arms over his chest, but stays quiet.


Jay: Leech nods sort of absently for Jesse's answer, having immediately gone back to staring at his brother once the questions were asked. "Can ya straighten out fer me, kitten? Lay on your back?" Kellen is good enough to attempt it, but no sooner is he uncurled than he gives a quick yelp and contracts once again, shaking his head emphatically. Leech gives a little whine in his own throat, though he doesn't notice it himself, rapidly thinking: this is plainly more serious than a little heartburn, and he doubts that the half-assed nurse would be able to do much for it even if they could get him to wake up. The only option is to get him to a hospital - an ambulance would take a very long time to get here, though; Leech could drive him there in half the time.

Not wanting to leave Kellen, he lifts his head to look at Jesse again. But of course, the kid is too young, so he turns his face towards the other occupant of the room, freeing up one hand from the constant petting to dig in his pocket. "Timothy, go get my car an'-- no, fuck, you can't drive." He sounds unreasonably irritated about that lapse - probably because he knows what he has to do, and doesn't at all want to do it.

Clenching his eyes shut hard for a second, he reopens them to focus on the Ness that is now in pants, hovering in the bathroom doorway - and Ness is a bit surprised by the animosity that Leech directs at him, for a second before he manages to make his eyes go blank. "Go get my car. It's in the back lot. Bring it around the front of the building. The code for the gate's on a paper under the right-hand visor." Catching the keys that are thrown at him (maybe harder than necessary), Michael nods once - for Kellen's sake, surely - and retreats back through his room, to get some shoes and a jacket before he goes out.


Jackie: When Kellen starts to stretch out, following Leech's quiet request, Jesse unwraps his arms from around his room mate and sits back on his heels, hands fidgeting in his lap. He looks absolutely, horribly hopeless, but also very attentive to anything Leech (or Kellen, were he able to vocalize it) requests.

Tim's eyes sharpen a bit when Leech turns to address him, and for a moment he thinks that yeah, he could drive - he could do something more than simply retrieving Kellen's brother. But Leech drives a stick, and seems to deem him unsuitable to drive before Tim can think of it himself. Of course, this means it falls on Michael, and Tim watches their brief exchange very carefully. He's torn between staying here, near Leech, or going with Michael, but with the chaos and his genuine concern for Kellen, he decides to follow his room mate. "I'll go with him." He doesn't want for a go ahead from Leech; instead, he shuffles back to his dorm so he can put on some proper shoes, and a jacket.


Jay: Already focused back on Kellen, Leech only spares Timothy a glance for his words; it's not the most appreciative glance, but he hardly has the time or attention to devote to jealousy right now. Instead, he ignores the two boys heading out, and looks at Kellen's roommate again. "Can you find his hoodie, and shoes, and some pants? Jammie pants're fine, jus' something to cover him up." Kellen seems to be fine with people talking about him as an object, resuming his fetal position between Jesse and Leech.

Glancing back curiously for Tim's interjection, Mike nods, waiting for the other boy to finish his hasty dressing before he starts for the stairs. "Guess the door by the courtyard would be quickest?" Though he's been here a while now, he isn't totally familiar with the grounds, and the 'back lot' Leech mentioned isn't somewhere he has cause to go - he isn't even sure where it is.


Jackie: Jesse, too, looks up at Tim before he leaves, but his gaze is much softer, thankful. He immediately nods for Leech's request, and carefully moves himself off of the bed, gently laying down the rest of Kellen's body onto the bed. He paces over towards the boy's closet, and starts tugging out some items. "What do you think it is?"

Kicking off his Snoopy slippers, Tim replaces them with a pair of Converses, a pair that he doesn't need to bother with the laces since they're so worn in. Before he left the other room, he absolutely caught that quick glance from Leech, but he swallows down whatever off-placed guilt he feels and zips up his jacket. He shakes his head for Michael's question, since there are definitely better - and lesser known - options to get there. "No. C'mon, we'll go this way." Instead of heading towards the courtyard, Tim makes his way towards the back exit - the same route he takes to get to Leech's apartment.


Jay: Leech debates the merits of giving Kellen some sort of pain killer or weed, to hopefully dim the pain until they arrive at the hospital - but it might interfere with whatever treatment they want to do, so instead he only lights a cigarette and holds the filter to Kellen's mouth, still watching intently. Jesse's query gets a snort from Leech, one that wants to sound amused but fails. "I'm flattered that ya assume I can think in this situation." Glancing up, he takes the pajama pants Jesse's found and starts coaxing Kellen into them, doing most of that work himself. "I really don' know; most the injuries I deal with are more obvious. Yer the smart one."

Unquestioning, Michael follows after Tim, nervously jingling the keys as the walk along. "So, it seems like Kellen's going to the hospital? I wonder if it wouldn't be better to get the nurse to look at him." Actually, he's pretty confused that this step hasn't already been taken - but then again, most of the night's events have confused him in various ways. The route Tim is leading him on is no exception to that.


Jackie: Jesse blindly hands over a pair of jammy pants to Leech, but goes right back into that closet to find a warm hoodie for Kellen to wear, and some shoes that aren't as constricting as his typical boots are. If he weren't so worried, because damnit this is Kellen in agony, he'd maybe laugh for Leech's first remark, but instead he just makes a little noise and goes back to his scavenger hunt. Lowering himself onto his knees, he's not at his room mate's dresser, searching for some socks in the bottom drawer. The second set of words makes Jesse roll his eyes and, in a very rare instance, he fully recognizes and admits to his own stupid ghost obsession. "...my first thought was that he was being attacked y ghosts. Pretty sure I'm not the smart one here."

Making his way down that hallway, Tim's pace is a little more sped up than normal, but he isn't running - maybe a little content that Leech is with Kellen, now. Approaching a door, he opens it and ushers Michael through, and then continues down the dark hallway. "You've dealt with the nurses here," Tim starts, pointedly, because the medical staff here is on par with the administrative staff. "Leech is right, I think."


Jay: Finally getting the pants on - after which Kellen immediately contracts again - Leech looks back at Jesse, waiting for the next piece of apparel. Somehow, though Kellen is still in pain, Leech feels much better now that something is being done. And now that Ness is not here. That comment makes a corner of Leech's mouth tuck back, not quite a smile, but fairly close. "Conditioned response. We've all got 'em." He takes the hoodie, and manages to get this onto Kellen with much less work than the pants took, simply because it requires less help from Kellen himself.

Michael keeps pace with Tim, a bit uncomfortable about their locale but willing not to question it. Tim's been here a lot longer; he would know the short cuts. He gives a faint shrug. "The one we got now isn't too bad. Did a decent job of stitching me up when I broke my knuckles open on Tony's face." The farther they go down the hallway, the more claustrophobic Ness is feeling, so it's a relief when they finally go up a short flight of stairs and outside. Eyeing the cars parked nearby, he hesitates. "Which one's his?"


Jackie: It doesn't take long for Jesse to find a pair of balled up socks, and he snags them out from the drawer and places them at the head of the bed - within arms reach for Leech, but not in the way as he works that sweatshirt onto Kellen's form. He makes a little noise in response to that, because he feels so useless and immature and kind of ridiculous, but doesn't dwell too much. Instead, he gets to his feet and goes to the bathroom again, where he retrieves a near, colder wash cloth. He hands this one over to Leech, and takes the old one away.

"Kind of different when you can't see what's wrong, though. Either way, someone is going to have to get a look inside." Since Kellen's only physical pain was shown in his face, and not in an actual injury, Tim's certain that X-rays or some sort of internal testing is going to be needed. Getting outside, they're immediately met with a gust of brisk wind, and Tim finally steps back into pace with Mike, sticking near the boy and motioning towards the small, sleek black car in the corner. "It's that one."



Jay: Occupied with assisting Kellen to dress (or rather, just dressing Kellen like a doll), Leech doesn't notice the offered cloth at first, but once he has the kid's shoes on he spots it. Giving Jesse a curious sort of look, he takes it - if he were in a better state of mind, more alert, he would probably have figured out its purpose immediately. As it is, it's Kellen who takes the cloth from Leech and wraps it around the back of his neck comfortably, prompting Leech to make a noise of understanding.

Leaving Kellen to his fetal position, Leech crawls off the bed and snags another of the boy's hoodies, pulling it on himself, then approaches the bed to start hefting the unwieldy Kellen into his arms. "Arrite, imp, let's go." Predictably, Kellen groans as he lets himself flop against Leech's chest: "Do I have to?" To this the parasite snorts comprehensively. "Must be feeling better, if ya can bitch. Jesse, get the door fer me."

Mike makes a little noise in his throat, not liking the concept of someone taking a look 'inside', but the sight of Leech's car drives it from his mind. "Oh, of course. A Corvette. The only car ever sold with a free set of lifetime daddy issues." Despite this disparagement, he unlocks and gets into the car, starting it in a business-like manner and waiting for Tim to get in before backing out of the parking space.


Jackie: Once the rag is taken, Jesse steps back again, and stands there a little awkwardly; obviously, he knows he isn't much help here, but he can't help but want to help. So his tactic is to stay out of the way and look at Kellen with big ol' Bambi eyes, only moving to grab a hoodie for himself and slip on a pair of skating shoes he has stowed away in the closet. The short interaction between Kellen and Leech makes Jesse feel a little better, maybe because it seems to ease Leech a bit, and Jesse immediately gets to the door, opening it and letting the two pass before he follows along.

Walking across the parking lot, Tim focuses in on the car and heads towards it. He knows close to nothing about vehicles, not even how to drive them, but he always sort of figured that Leech's car is a nice one. So Mike's comment makes him wrinkle his nose, and Tim crawls into the passenger seat without bothering with the seat belt. "Be nice. He's taking care of Kellen."


Jay: With Kellen settled awkwardly in his arms, Leech heads into the hallway more or less in silence - though he might grumble about Kellen gaining weight, or other tactics to distract him. These don't really work, as Kellen clings insensibly to the parasite and makes little pitiable noises. Reaching the end of the hallway, he stops before the blank doors of the service elevator - not wanting to have to haul Kellen down the stairs - and redistributes the kid's weight to dig his keys out of his pocket. He hands the large ring off to Jesse, motioning with his head at the elevator doors and the keyhole in the side panel. "It's a little silver one, marked with an E."

Michael lifts an eyebrow at Tim's retort, finding the reasoning behind it faulty. "Of course he is." He leaves it at that, but the tone carries implications enough. Reaching over Tim's head, Mike pulls the sunvisor down and spots the paper pinned to the headliner, entering the code written there into the number pad at the gate.


Jackie: Jesse sticks close to the two boys, and reaches a hand up to help keep the cool rag on Kellen's neck. Once it's secured, Jesse moves his hand up to Kellen's hair and scritches at his scalp, trying to comfort him. He takes that offered key ring with a quick nod of his head, and sorts through the multitude of keys until he finds the proper one. He opens the doors, once they're unlocked and again lets Leech and Kellen through, then enters the elevator himself. He hits the main level button, and then looks to the eldest boy. "Are you taking him to the hospital? Or like, urgent care?"

Times like these, Tim's jealousy burns in his gut so much that he almost lets it crawl out of his mouth. But that would be no good - actually, it'd be horrible - so Tim only gives Mike a Look and shakes his head. He doesn't get too comfortable in the car, since he won't be sitting in it for long, and once Mike pulls up to the building's exit door, Tim crawls out, keeping the car door open as he jogs over to the door he expects the boys to come out of.


Jay: Pausing in the elevator, the lack of activity makes Leech take to gnawing on the inside of his cheek, and Jesse's question almost seems to startle him, judging from the speed with which he flicks his widening eyes at the boy. "It...I hadn't--" Forcibly, he stops spluttering and says more firmly: "The hospital. I dunno where an urgent care place is." The elevator takes an unusually long time to reach the ground floor, but as soon as the doors are open wide enough, Leech eels his way out with his burden.

Michael arches that eyebrow higher when Tim doesn't respond other than shaking his head, but stays quiet; he's aware that Tim is on better terms with the parasite than he is (almost everyone is on better terms with the parasite than he is), and though he doesn't like it, he at least doesn't lose face by saying so. He leaves the car running as he gets out more leisurely to follow after Tim.


Jackie: Jesse seems to be a little impatient while in the elevator, and would probably voice his displeasure of it taking so long to move down if he weren't so concerned. He wobbles his knees a little bit, anxious, and whatever ease he had earlier is dwindling when Leech is so obviously nervous, too. Still, Jesse keeps at scratching Kellen's scalp, and nods his head a little bit. "That's probably a good idea. Plus, I bet Kellen really wants to wear a hospital dress, right?" He glances down at Kellen's face, at least trying to help relax the boy.

Timothy keeps his focus out the window, but can still feel Mike's eyes on him. He knows he needs to get better at accepting this - that Michael suspecting that Kellen and Leech are together is actually a good thing, for him. But it's still hard to juggle, and he favors instead to let it all pass in favor or getting to that door. Before long, it pops open, and Jesse is holding it open for Leech-carrying-Kellen to pass. "Do you need anything else? i can go run and grab it."


Jay: Kellen isn't so out of it that he doesn't hear that, but he can only snort and flip Jesse off in a feeble sort of way rather than offering a verbal retort. Reaching the front door, Leech again hefts Kellen closer to partially free a hand, and keys in the code to disarm the alarm mechanism. He nods appreciatively at Jesse when the boy pushes the door open and heads out, the chill air immediately making his shoulders hunch up, though Kellen doesn't seem to mind it at all. Shaking his head at the query, Leech only motions to the front seat of the car with his chin. "Shift that back as far as it'll go."

Reaching the door behind Tim, Michael shoves his hands into his pockets to keep out the cold. He isn't in the least surprised that Leech doesn't thank him, or even look at him, but he can't take much offense - the sight of miserable Kellen impresses the seriousness of the occasion on him again. "Are you going, too, Jess?" He kind of hopes so; if Jesse stays here, he'll probably fret himself into pieces.


Jackie: Jesse maybe lets out a little snort of amusement for that, and briefly switches his scritching to soft ruffling to show his affection. Once they get outside, Jesse rushes to the car, shifting that car seat all of the way back before Tim even has the chance to. He stands there, helpless, and doesn't think twice before answering Mike's question. "Heck yes, I am." And the way he says it makes it clear that Leech can't tell him no.

Tim, having followed the boys back to the car, sticks near the back end of it, out of the way up until Leech gets Kellen into the car. Then he helps by going to the driver side, and gently easing Kellen's form into that seat. Away from the others, he looks up at Leech. "Do you want me to come, too?" Because, as much as the boy means well, Jesse isn't going to be much help - aside from assisting in keeping Kellen company.


Jay: And in fact, although Leech looks a bit startled for the answer, he doesn't at all try to dissuade Jesse, obviously accepting the same fact as Ness does - that Jesse will be better off there than here. Depositing Kellen extra-carefully into the front seat, Leech goes around the car to flip the drivers' seat forward and give Jesse a place to crawl in. Straightening up, he flicks his eyes towards Timothy at that question, but waits until Jesse is out of the way to answer. "Ya better stay here - missed too much class recently as is, and ya got that appointment with the counselor tomorrow." But for a moment, he loses that look of frantic distraction, warming into something much more affectionate. Reaching out, he lightly touches the boy's right side in appreciation, lowering his voice further. "I dunno when I'll be able to get back, but if ya haven't heard from me, go downstairs before dinner an' I'll call you there."

Watching everyone cluster around the car and make themselves useful, Michael judges that the best thing he can do at the moment is to stay out of the way. He crosses his arms against the cold, waiting for Leech and Kellen and Jesse to take off, but some trick of wind brings Tim's question to his ears, causing his eyebrows to furrow inwards. He does not hear the answer, but catches enough of Leech's murmuring tone to force himself to look away, not liking the reminder of the parasite's partiality towards Tim.


Jackie: Still hunched into the driver's seat, Tim pulls back to stand up properly, but keeps close to the car in hopes of having their conversation remain between just the two of them. He gives Leech a look that's equally balanced with despair and acceptance, because he doesn't give a fuck about missed classes or counseling appointments - he's more concerned with Leech's well being. He knows that the older boy will be fine, and is dealing with this just fine, but he still wants to hover and give comfort when he can. Rather than argue, he nods his head, maybe about to say something but then Jesse is squeezing in between their bodies to crawl into the back seat. "Right behind ya, Kel."

Sighing, Tim looks back at Leech - maybe a little amused by Jesse's eagerness to be near his room mate - and reaches out to squeeze his hip covertly. He doesn't say anything else, but he does duck down into the vehicle to let both Kellen and Jesse know that if they need anything, to let him know. And then he parts off back towards Michael, his face looking like he's a little worried, mostly tired, and a bit bewildered.


Jay: Leech watches Jesse as he crawls back, also looking momentarily diverted by his loyalty to Kellen, but he looks back to Timothy as the boy sighs. A corner of his mouth tucks in, almost a smile. "Prolly it'll mostly be waiting, anyway. I'll let ya know." And then, not willing to remain any longer, Leech ducks into the car and shuts the door.

Having curled up and squeezed his eyes shut as soon as he was immobile again, Kellen doesn't pay much attention to any of the conversation floating around, but he may file it all in the back of his mind. Jesse's suddenly-closer voice makes him look up in surprise, seeking for a moment before he focuses on his roommate in the back seat. "Ahh...good." He says this as if Jesse's presence is all he could hope for (to Leech's silent amusement), and unwinds one arm from around himself to reach back, wiggling his fingers in request for Jesse's hand.

Still hovering near the door and not quite watching the group around the car, Michael only turns his head when he spots movement nearby. He lifts his eyebrows in question at him, giving the car a brief look as it departs. "Well...there's that. Hope nothing's too wrong with him."


Jackie: Jesse settles himself into the back seat, but doesn't relax into it; instead, he ignores the use of a seat belt and hunches up onto the edge of the seat, as close to Kellen as possible. He looks over his folded up form and, almost immediately, takes that offered hand. He laces their fingers together and squeezes them, but then relaxes his digits - allowing for Kellen to squeeze, should he need to relieve any of his pain. "Maybe, since I'm going with you, they'll let me get a hospital bracelet, too. And we can be bracelet twins."

Walking back up towards Mike, Tim meets his face and nods, also looking back at the car as he departs out of the school grounds. When he turns back to his room mate, he shivers, the cold finally getting to him now that his adrenaline is running down. "Yeah, me too."


Jay: When his hand is taken, Kellen closes his eyes once more, but he snorts at Jesse's words. "Only if ya get a gown, too." His voice is still tight with pain and somewhat distracted, but he does seem a little easier. "...want a cigarette."

Leech, meanwhile, is concentrating on driving as fast as he reasonably can; the snow has at least stopped, but he's keeping an eye out for ice on the road. Hearing Kellen, he digs in the pocket of his pants and hands his cigarette pack back to Jesse so he can comply with the request, never looking away from the road.

Mike exhales a long sigh and turns back to the door as the car disappears. He opens it and waves Tim through in silence, also feeling more enervated now that the excitement is over. Once inside, he casually slings an arm around the other boy's hips, moving towards the stairs unhurriedly. He might have said, at least now Kellen and Jesse won't be harassing them about the revelation they witnessed earlier, but even he can tell that's a little tactless.


Jackie: Jesse actually smiles for Kellen's response, and squeezes his hand briefly. "I'd do it, just for you." And he's entirely serious. He'd probably do that anyways, just to make Kellen feel a little more comfortable, but he keeps silent on that. He takes the offered pack of cigarettes from Leech and snags two out with his mouth. He lights both of them and then places the pack aside, reaching over to offer one of the smokes to Leech wordlessly. Then he takes a draw off of the other one, to make sure it stayed lit, and then directs it to Kellen's mouth. He doesn't draw that hand away, and instead is content in helping his room mate smoke.

Making his way down the hallway, Tim slows a little bit when Mike's arm wraps around him, and he presses in a little closer to his body, appreciative. He doesn't bother with making conversation, since they both seem to be fine without it, and he yawns quietly as they start to ascend the stairs that will take them back to their room. They make it up a few flights but, upon reaching the landing for the floor beneath theirs, they bump into Snider, who is startled enough to drop his night-check clipboard. Immediately, the teacher's eyes narrow. "Why am I not surprised?"


Jay: Kellen makes a noise that is supposed to be indicative of appreciation, but it just comes out as a little whine instead. Taking the cigarette when it's offered, he immediately attaches it to his mouth and draws desperately on it as if this will ease his pain. Leech looks surprised when the other cigarette is offered to him, but he takes it with a slight nod and a quiet 'Thanks', and continues to drive, speeding up considerably when they reach the interstate, where much traffic has kept the snow on the road melted.

By the time they reach that landing, Michael is relaxed and thinking blissfully of his bed, ignoring how they won't get much sleep before having to wake for classes. When Snider materializes, Mike startles and steps back quickly, quirking an eyebrow and doing his best to answer that question as if it were not rhetorical. "...because you already noticed that we were missing from our room? You might also have seen that the kids from C-3 are missing, but you won't find them here." This is undoubtedly preparatory to giving the valid excuse for Tim and Mike being out after curfew.
cigarette, a few times even taking draws off of it himself - unusual for Jesse, but this is stressful and his friend is hurt; he needs something to take the edge off. He has to reach over the front seat a little awkwardly to ash the cigarette out of the window, but he doesn't seem to mind, too occupied on focusing on Kellen, should the boy request anything.

Just like Michael, Tim startles a bit upon seeing Snider, and he stands up a little straighter, perhaps trying to be a bit more presentable. He lets Mike do the talking at first, which maybe isn't the best idea; the boy has the very keen ability to be insulting, even if he doesn't mean it. Snider glances down at his clipboard briefly, and then shakes his head, talking sternly. "No, I hadn't. Mostly because I have yet to get to your floor. And where might the other boys be? Another night spent in the chapel?" Because certainly, almost everybody had heard about their recent hooliganism.


Jay: And eventually, Leech gets to the city and finds the hospital and pulls into the emergency room parking lot, which thankfully isn't too overcrowded at this hour. Killing the car, he shoves his door open - flipping the seat up for Jesse as an afterthought - and scurries around to open the passenger side door to draw Kellen out. The younger brother seems to be worse again, and can't assist much in Leech's efforts, but eventually the parasite gets him balanced in his arms with Kellen's own arms locked around his shoulders, and heads straight for the glass double doors into the hospital. Given his burden, he bypasses the secretary in her little glassed-in desk to go the triage office. "Press the button, Jesse?" He motions with his head for the buzzer, which will alert a nurse on duty of patients needing to be seen. Rather than releasing Kellen, Leech lowers himself carefully into a chair and keeps the kid in his lap.

Michael definitely wasn't trying to be insulting - he used to have a fairly good rapport with Snider, but the guy's expression states plainly that he should take no liberties based on that. "No, no they're not. They're on their way to the hospital, with Leech. Something's wrong with Kellen. That's why we're up, too; Leech had me bring his car around to the front, so he could get Kellen there easier." He says this all matter-of-factly, not truly hopeful that Snider will believe him right off, but the truth should eventually come to light, when Leech's absence is noted.


Jackie: As they approach the hospital, Jesse lets out a little sigh of relief, and tosses the cigarette butt out of the window, since the campus is certainly a smoke free environment. He scrambles out of the car as quickly as he can, and takes care of shutting both doors before jogging to catch up to Kellen and Leech. His eyes dart around the hospital waiting room very curiously, half way expecting to see bloodied up bodies on gurneys everywhere, since the kid hasn't been to a hospital like this before. Following Leech's request, he presses the button, and then stands there nervously, again reaching over to Kellen's hair and scratching at it gently.

"No, we weren't in the chapel--" Tim tries to reason with Snider, but then Michael is explaining the situation, and he shuts up. He's grateful for Michael's calmness and, if they weren't in front of Snider, he'd maybe reach out and soothe a hand over the older boy's lower back. Snider, having put his clipboard off the side and resting on his hip, looks very dubious of that explanation. "I see. I severely doubt that Mr. Harvey would have a student so much as touch his vehicle. Come along, boys. You're breaking curfew. I'm sure Leech can take care of the punishment."


Jay: The door to the triage area opens not long after they sit down, and Leech manages, somehow, to struggle out of the uncomfortable chair to carry Kellen into the small space. At the same time, the secretary swoops down and follows them and, apparently deciding Leech looks the closest to an adult of all of them (though she looks suspicious of the whole group), shoves a clipboard at him almost offensively. The nurse is more friendly, asking him to put the patient down on something that's a cross between a table and a bed, so Leech does so and takes the weaponized clipboard.

As he sits down to start filling it out, the nurse looks Kellen over and, seeing that he isn't bleeding or visibly injured but obviously in pain, he directs his questions to the other two boys who came in. "So, what have we here?" In response, Leech only flashes the poor man a quick glare that says without words, aren't you supposed to know that?, so the nurse looks to Jesse instead. "Uh...maybe you can tell me what symptoms your, friend, has been displaying?"


Jay: For Snider's response, Michael blinks a few times in ingenuous surprise. "Why, surely sir, as an employee of this school, Mr. Harvey would do whatever necessary to render help to a student in pain." He manages, by some miracle, to make this not sound like he's quarreling, oozing all the charm at his disposal (which is a reasonable amount). He doesn't hesitate to lead off the small party, though, heading downstairs obediently - perhaps giving Tim a quick wink as he passes.


Jackie: Following the boys into the triage area, Jesse gnaws on his lower lip, feeling incredible sympathy pains for the noises Kellen makes as he's sorted back into that hospital bed. He immediately goes near the boy, petting his hair again, and looks a little shocked when the nurse addresses him. He splutters for a moment, but uses his free hand to gesture towards the poor boy in question. "Oh, yeah. Um, his name is Kellen. He just woke up in the middle of the night, screaming. It's something with his tummy, or something. He can't really walk, or stand up, or...lay down unless he's curled up like that. He like, he didn't eat anything funky or anything. But he keeps making noises like it really hurts, so you gotta help him."

Snider doesn't look impressed at all by Mike's charm, and turns to the stairs they were just climbing to usher them back downstairs. "I'm sure, if that was the case. And surely, the school's nurse would have been notified of this situation far before you two left your dorm rooms." Making their way downstairs, Snider opens the door for the basement and allows the boys to pass through, having known that both of them are quite used to isolation, and visiting the parasite. Tim, not about to argue this all because Snider isn't even listening, returns a quick glance to Mike, and maybe his cheeks lightly flush for that wink.


Jay: The nurse seems grateful that Jesse is more communicative than Leech was, and smiles at him encouragingly. "Thank you; I'm sure we'll do our best...and what's your name?" As he speaks, he's working around the fetal Kellen, attaching a blood pressure cuff and taking his pulse. Leech is having difficulty getting the paperwork finished, since he keeps giving the nurse sharp looks, but after a few moments he gets what he thinks is sufficient filled out and tosses the clipboard onto the nearby counter (so violently that the nurse doesn't even try to ask him to take it to the secretary) in favor of standing up and rounding the bed, to rub comfortingly at Kellen's back.

Since Snider can't see it, Michael rolls his eyes excessively for the guy's tone, but when he answers he still has the same respectful, innocent tone. "Well, I agree, the nurse should have been notified - but when I suggested it, Leech just snarled that it was too serious for the nurse, along with some pretty insulting comments, and threw his car keys at me." Knowing the enmity between Leech and Snider, Mike figures that adding something of that nature in might help their case - though at this point, he knows they're not being left off now, but later on Snider might remember his words and realize the truth in them, which if he's lucky will raise Mike's reputation in Snider's eyes. But he follows along peacefully for now, until they stop for Snider to knock relentlessly on Leech's door.


Jackie: The sound of that clipboard meeting the counter top makes Jesse jump, and he lifts his head to give Leech a look that is a mix between confusion, and a glare. This nurse seems to be nice, so there's no need for unnecessary crankiness. Not that Jesse would ever say that out loud, though; he's seen what Leech can do to a person. Instead, he's drawn back by that question, and perks up a little bit. "Oh! I'm Jesse. And that's Leech. He's Kellen's older brother. And I'm his room mate at school."

Reaching Leech's door, Snider starts pounding on it, figuring that it will take a while to rouse the parasite to answer. But he doesn't, even after a half a minute of knocking, so Snider eventually relents - mostly to give his hand a break - and looks back to Michael. "If this is even true, then Mr. Harvey would know to communicate it upwards to the rest of the staff. I'm done hearing your excuses, Michael. You two are going into isolation, for the time being."


Jay: Leech probably didn't mean to throw the clipboard so hard, but he doesn't look apologetic for it - doesn't even notice the looks it gains him. Thankfully, the secretary is able to come collect the thing for herself and comes back shortly with a wristband for Kellen. The nurse, whose nametag has a totally unpronounceable last name printed on it after the 'G.', nods to indicate his reception of Jesse's information. He takes the wristband absently and stuffs it in his shirt pocket for the time being, more focused on the patient. "All right. I have a suspicion, and there's an easy way to test it. Kellen, can you lay out flat for me?"

Though the man uses a polite, coaxing tone, Kellen shakes his head frantically and at the same time, Leech snaps: "He can't. It hurts." Ignoring the malevolence in that tone, the nurse nods again, patient as ever. "I'm sure it does. But it would best to know - perhaps you could help me, Jesse? Just hold his feet." And he looks at Leech in a way to suggest that he could also help, if he isn't feeling too irascible, and after a moment of suspicious staring, Leech gives in with bad grace and takes Kellen's shoulders to roll him onto his back.

"Oh, I didn't mean them to be excuses, sir, only explanations. I don't blame you for being suspicious - with my past offenses, and all." Seeming entirely unperturbed, Michael steps away from Leech's door and turns to survey the hallway of isolation rooms, waiting for Snider to take the lead and following him to a nearby room. The door, though, is locked, as is the next one. Finally, the third door that Snider tries opens (causing the staffmember to stumble back comically), and Mike waves Tim into the room before obediently entering himself, wanting to make certain that they're at least in the same isolation room.


Jackie: When that secretary comes back with the wrist band, Jesse straightens up a little bit, about ready to ask her for one, but refraining. It's pretty unlike Jesse to not say whatever it is that's on his mind, and he isn't one to worry about looking like a fool, but he's maybe startled enough from all of this that he isn't willing to make things complicated. Still, he eyes the wrist band wantingly, and bites his lip to silence himself.

Being addressed by the nurse, Jesse looks at him wide eyed, not wanting to have anything to do with causing Kellen more pain. But the nurse is obviously the expert here and, after hesitating a moment, Jesse nods, going towards Kellen's feet and grabbing his ankles gently. At the same time, the nurse works to get Kellen onto his back, although the noises the boy makes are a sign that it is still very painful.

Moving down the hallway, Snider tests those first two doors, vaguely annoyed that they don't open. Eventually, he gets to a room that isn't locked, and he gestures it open and ruffles a hand in the air, signaling the boys to enter. Once Mike is past the door, Todd looks at him with slightly narrowed eyes. "And I'm sure that, with those past offenses, that one more night in isolation won't kill you. I'll send Leech to you both once I've located him." And with that, he slams the door shut, comically needing a lot of push to get it to close. Inside, Timothy paces over to the bed, body looking tired and beat up because he hasn't gotten much rest, recently.


Jay: Once Kellen is flattened on his back, he's biting at his lower lip and giving the nurse a very suspicious look, which pretty well mimics the look that Leech is giving the man from over his head. Blithely ignoring all of this, the nurse pushes Kellen's shirt up to reveal his stomach; putting his pinkie just under the boy's belly-button and his thumb on the edge of his hip, he presses his middle finger into Kellen's stomach. This maneuver gets a quick reaction: as soon as the man lifts his hand, Kellen forcibly wrenches out of Leech's hands and rapidly folds up again, almost biting through his lip and giving a high-pitched whining noise against the back of his teeth.

The nurse looks so smugly satisfied about this that Leech, glowering, starts towards him with obvious violent intent. Unruffled, the guy looks back at Leech as if everyone should share his approving sentiment. "I thought so! It's definitely his appendix." Leech stops at this statement, switching his narrowed gaze between the nurse and Kellen, who is recovered enough now to groan out weakly: "I'm gonna fucking kill you."

Michael only replies to Todd's words with a jaunty salute, but once that door is closed, he sags a bit and sighs. "Fucking tool." He walks over to where Tim has taken a seat, ignoring the second cot in the dark little room, and sits down next to him. "Wonder how long it'll be until Mr. Harvey remembers to tell anyone about this."


Jackie: Gripping his room mate's ankles tightly, Jesse helps the nurse as much as possible in getting Kellen to straighten out. He watches as that tummy is exposed, is probably tempted to lean over and blow raspberries on the soft skin, if only because he knows it would normally make Kellen laugh, but he stops himself in favor of not acting like a child. Still, as soon as Kellen yelps out and curls back up, Jesse shoots back, releasing those ankles so that the boy can manuever himself back into comfort. He keeps his hands raised up near his chest, as if he's surrendering himself, and his eyebrows hitch up high on his forehead when the male nurse quickly detects the problem. "What about his appendix? Is it okay? Is he okay? Is he gonna be okay?"

Taking a seat on one of those uncomfortable cots, Tim snorts for that description of Snider, agreeing with it without actually saying anything. He's working on getting his shoes off, actually taking the time to unlace them because it's been a while since the shoes have been taken off properly. He talks lowly, since it's so quiet down here, but then bumps a shoulder into Michael's gently. "Probably not until they figure things out with Kellen. Mid morning, maybe."


Jay: Leech is still looking as if he'd like to immediately carry out Kellen's threat, but instead of doing so, he returns to the bed and hops up to sit on it, petting at Kellen's hair soothingly. Turning to face Jesse, the nurse nods reassuringly. "Oh, yes, he'll be fine. It's a very simple surgery, takes no time at all. But we will have to admit him. I'll be right back." So saying, he leaves the room, with Leech's malicious gaze following him the whole time.

Smiling tiredly, Michael returns that shoulder bump, toeing off his own shoes. "Oh. Well...at least we can sleep in, then." He eyes the cot uncertainly, like he isn't sure if they'll be able to get to sleep on it, but once his shoes are off he scoots back to the wall and stretches out, pointedly leaving some space for Tim next to him. His jacket, he folds up and stuffs under the flattened pillow to give it a bit more padding.


Jackie: Immediately, Jesse seems to relax for that reassurance, but that doesn't last long - his eyes go wide, and he follows the nurse as he exits the room, but Jesse doesn't go beyond the door. "Surgery? Like, now?" The nurse nods for both of those questions and then disappears, leaving Jesse looking all sorts of shocked. He turns back around to look at the brothers, one hand raising to brush through his own buzzed hair. "Dude."

Getting his shoes off, Tim kicks them off to the side and then moves to wipe tiredly at his face, still leaning forward in that seated position. He's a little bit relieved by Michael's words, because he could definitely use the extra sleep, but he knows well enough that these beds are even worse than the ones in their dorm, and he's a little too worried to rest easily. But he'll at least try to relax, so he turns a bit to look over Michael laying down. When he notices that room left open, his eyes warm and something in his chest relaxes. Without hesitating, he moves to lay down as well, after taking off his jacket and pushing it up towards their pillows. He pushes himself towards Mike, one arm out stretching so he can curl it over the boy's side. "Could be worse, I guess."


Jay: Once the nurse is out of the room, Leech resettles himself on the table/bed and crosses his legs indian-style to draw Kellen's head into his lap and continues to pet at him. The younger boy's eyes are still closed, but Leech meets Jesse's gaze, squinting an eye in thought, then eventually shrugging. "At least they know what it is? I mean...I don' think anyone really uses their appendix, do they?" Because fuck if Leech has any idea of basic anatomy.

Mimicking Tim's movements in reverse, Mike turns onto his side and laces an arm under Tim's neck, folding it back on itself to make a sort of pillow, waiting for him to relax before draping his other arm across Tim's hips. Those words draw a quiet, slightly dark chuckle, because it could absolutely be much worse, as he has cause to know. But the laugh doesn't last long, fading off as he recalls the reason for their being out after hours. "Could be...if only Kellen's all right. I'm glad Jesse went with him."


Jackie: Meeting Leech's eyes, Jesse still looks pretty perplexed at the thought of surgery, but it eventually dissolves away the more he thinks it over. And then something comes to mind, and he actually brightens up like a light bulb, and steps back over to the hospital bed. He leans heavily onto it, but doesn't fully sit on it - and winds up somewhere between standing and sitting. "No, I don't think so. And! Kel, you can have them put it in a jar! And you could keep it in our dorm. It'd be pretty cool."

Tim's eyes gently close the more Michael envelops around him, and he sighs again quietly when he inhales the boy's scent - something that he is definitely associating with affection. He tightens his arm around Michael and scoots in a little closer, their faces level but Tim's legs moving to tangle with Mike's. When he talks, he sounds relieved of that, and even a little amused. "Me, too. There's no way he wasn't going to go, though. It's kind of cute."


Jay: Kellen seems slowly to be recovering from the shock of that bizarre diagnostic test, enough so that he snorts at Leech's words and mutters something like 'no, that's why they're in the back'a the book' which, naturally, only confuses Leech more. But the parasite is reassured by Jesse's words, even going so far as to nearly do something that looks like it might be a smile, as the kid goes on. "Very decorative. Pretty sure human organs aren't contraband." Not yet, anyway. Kellen seems to perk up at the idea, too, squinting his eyes open. "That'd be...hella rad. Gotta get a good jar, though."

At this happy point, the nurse returns with a bed on wheels and a cohort. Kellen flinches away when they try to transfer him, undoubtedly suspicious of that nurse doing another 'test', and in the end only suffers Leech to relocate him to the new bed. As they all start off towards Kellen's temporary room, the second nurse draws Leech aside (reluctantly) to clarify some of the information he gave. "Go with him, Jesse; I'll come after you soon."

"Mmm..." Not waiting for Tim to entirely settle, Mike subsides lazily into the thin mattress and lets his eyes close, though it's obvious he isn't trying to sleep as the arm over Tim's hips tightens when the other boy wriggles closer. "Real cute. Should we cover their room with candles and rose petals for when they get back?"


Jackie: Looking back at Leech, Jesse absolutely notices that sort-of smile and beams for it, looking like he captured all the light from the day's sunshine and is letting it secrete from his face all at once. And that's further emphasized by Kellen's eventual response, so Jesse is encouraged enough to keep at it, also returning a hand to Kellen's hair again. "It'd be so cool. We can make our room look like a mad scientist's lab. Oh! Maybe I can get my tonsils out and we can build our collection."

Before they can further detail these plans, the nurse returns, and all of the boys help to get Kellen onto the roll away bed. He keeps in pace with the bed as they start to roll Kellen away, and Jesse feels an incredible amount of responsibility to watch over his room mate. He nods quickly at Leech and then continues on, maybe back to looking a little scared.

Nuzzling into that arm, Tim presses a blind kiss to the soft skin there while his hand slowly starts to move up and down Michael's side - along his ribs. He actually smiles for that idea, his mouth opening to expose teeth although it's still pressed to Mike's skin. He forces it to calm down, but then noses at the spot that his mouth just was. "Only after we carve their initials into the door and sync some Marvin Gaye for their arrival."


Jay: Reasonably quickly, Kellen is installed in a room with one other bed, right now unoccupied, and an outdated television set, and a few nefarious looking machines that he's grateful not to have hooked up to him. Even better, since they can't locate the surgeon right away, he's given a shot of morphine (and some sort of medicine to calm his appendix down until it can be yanked out) which renders him, finally, something like comfortable. Of course, he was made to strip down and put on one of the aforementioned hospital gowns, but once the drugs kick in and he's cozily ensconced in the narrow bed and the medical people clear out, he finds he doesn't even mind that too much.

He's been aware of Jesse hovering around, smiling when Kellen looks at him and looking worried when he thinks Kellen can't see him, but only now does he really have the presence of mind to notice his roommate. "ey...where's the remote for this thing? Let's see if we can find any terrible info-mercials." He looks around lazily, as if expecting the remote to pop into existence, but doesn't actually search for it much.

Mike gives a quiet hum for all the affection with which he's being lavished, opening his eyes partially while his eyebrows, naturally, lift much farther up his forehead. "I'm not sure if Kellen's the type to appreciate Marvin Gaye. 'Sex and Violence' might be more to point." Which is quite a statement, given who it comes from. He hunches a little closer to Tim - the isolation rooms are always chilly - and slides his right hand farther around, to rub up and down the other boy's back, but lazily, not as if he's trying to start anything.


Jackie: Following Kellen into his room, Jesse stays out of the way as they get him settled - including the part where they strip him down and force him into one of those ridiculous hospital gowns. Still, he grins a bit when the drugged up Kellen gets situated in bed, but can't force himself to relax; he's pacing around the room and inspecting everything in it just to keep himself occupied.

Looking over at Kellen, he's right in the middle of fixing a hospital cap to his head - the thing the same bright blue as the nurses' scrubs. It's crooked and one of Jesse's ears is sticking out comically, but he smiles for the question and goes over to the nightstand, where the remote is hidden behind a tissue box. Grabbing it, he hands it over, and flicks his eyes over to the television. "I bet there are some really good ones on, given that it's so late."

Tim doesn't even try to stop the snort that comes along with those words, and he again tries to hide the smile that is forcing its way across his mouth. "Don't think Jesse would fully appreciate the Exploited while losing his virginity." Because obviously the kid isn't sexual - anyone with one eye could see that - and Tim severely doubts the boy's first time would be anything other than very, very vanilla. Arching his back, Tim makes a pleased noise for the hand at his back, and in doing so moves his own hand down to Mike's hips, trekking back up his side once it slips beneath his shirt.


Jay: The hat is completely ridiculous, and causes Kellen to grin in a much more dazed way than usual. "A-ha!" He perks up when Jesse finds the remote, pushing himself up on the bed - which has been lifted to provide a backrest - and scooting over a bit, patting the mattress a few times to indicate that Jesse should sit down. But when the other boy tries to pass off the remote, he declines, waving a hand. "No, you do it. I don' think I could make my fingers work that good right now." And then, as if he's just noticed: "...where did Leech go?"

Mike repeats that quiet chuckle. "Maybe...not. But maybe he'd be too distracted to notice." Having had some small experience of Kellen, he figures the kid would be skilled enough to engage all of a virgin's attention, if he put his mind to it. The way Tim arches his back makes it too tempting for Ness to deny instinct, so he tightens the arm he has around the slighter boy and moves more onto his back, drawing Tim closer in the process. "On the other hand...I'm not sure Kellen's lost his, so maybe we should cut out carving their initials and draw some diagrams instead."


Jackie: Jesse grins lopsidedly for that grin, and keeps the cap in place just because of it. Since entering the room, he's warmed up enough to where his hoodie is now laid out across one of the chairs, and he's made himself comfortable enough that his shoes are tucked beneath that same chair. He's already moving towards the bed to hand over the remote, but instead of pausing at the side, he crawls into that offered space, mindful of Kellen's body. Adjusting, he fits himself next to his room mate and then flicks on the television, grinning a little bit because the morphine is doing a great job of relaxing the boy. "Oh, he just had to talk to some of the doctors and that secretary. I think his hand writing was too much like chicken scratch on those forms."

Tim's hand continues to explore up Michael's side, soft but exploratory as his fingers dance over his rib cage. It seems as though that grin is going to be stuck to his face permanently - definitely an effect Michael has on him - and Tim doesn't try to hide it so much this time. "I can't even think about Jess having sex. That's just...weird." Because clearly, the boy is so asexual - he still giggles at the naked body diagrams in his science books. Moving into that embrace, Tim curls in to Mike's form, kind of half on top of him, and lowers his face to nuzzle at that wonderful neck, his hand still playing under the boy's shirt.


Jay: Appeased when Jesse joins him on the bed, Kellen relaxes back against the pillows, watching the television blearily and without much interest. "Ahhhh...makes sense. Jus' shameful, his penmanship..." Yes, the morphine is definitely doing its job. He seems to lose the thread of that thought (or follow it in new and uncharted ways, at least) and abruptly turns his head to look at his roommate. "Thanks, fer coming with me...and all that other shit, before."

Tilting his head back to let Tim fit his head under his chin, Mike can't help shifting some, in an attempt to find a place where the bars of the cot don't dig into his back through the thin mattress. This doesn't stop him from tightening the arm around Tim's back, though, and stroking the fingers of the opposite hand lightly along the back of his neck. "It is kinda weird. I can see him being one of those people that insists on turning the lights off when they fuck. Or only ever being able to do it in a bed, under the blankets." Obviously, even though thinking about Jesse having sex is weird - and it's not something Mike would, personally, spend a lot of time contemplating - he doesn't shy away from the idea altogether.


Jackie: Now that Kellen is sedated, Jesse's shoulders seem to untense, and he relaxes down into that mattress (which is much more comfortable than his bed back at school), body squished into place a bit. He flips the channels of the television lazily, not paying much attention, but settling down when it comes across the OxyClean infomercial. He grins a little bit at it, but then shifts that amusement down to Kellen's face, looking at him adorably. "Of course. There's no way anybody is taking out your appendix without me there to supervise."

Once he's given more room to nuzzle, Tim lowers his nose down to that warm skin and runs the tip of his nose along a vein there. The boy's scent is much more strong here, and Tim makes a quiet noise for that - and for the fingers at his neck. The more Mike details Jesse's expected sex life, the more Tim's insides clench; he's never really thought of sex with Jesse, aside from the few times he'd catch a glimpse of the boy shirtless, and momentarily think that maybe they were meant to be together. But that's never really stuck around, thankfully, and Tim doesn't lift his head to talk. "I don't know. I can see him liking nature sex. Fucking hippie." The hand beneath Mike's shirt moves further up, now toying along his collarbones, fingertips trailing along the bone there.


Jay: When Jesse finishes switching channels, Kellen tilts his head to the side and incidentally onto Jesse's shoulder, staring at the enthusiastic spokesman with fascination. But when the other boy speaks, he draws his gaze from the TV to Jesse's face, losing none of his wide-eyed look, but it becomes imbued with some discomfort. "Ahh...they are taking it out, aren't they?" He plainly views this operation with some uncertainty, now that he has some space to think about it.

Under Tim's ministrations, Michael tilts his head even farther back, making a mental note to thank Snider, the next time he sees him - but maybe he won't specify what he's thanking him for. The hand at the back of Tim's neck inches down some, letting his fingers roam beneath the collar of the other boy's shirt, but his actions are still slow and, for Mike, unusually non-sexual. "Nature sex." The term makes him laugh again, mostly in his throat due to his head being tipped back. "What is that? You find a nice big tree, or something? One of those huge redwoods might work I guess..."






Jay: Having taken a quick jaunt back to the school, to acquire some comfortable clothes for Kellen - and changing into some clean ones, himself - Leech returns to the hospital with very little delay. Happily, he gets back before Kellen's surgery is over with, as his first look at the bed the kid was previously occupying shows him. But a perusal of the rest of the room causes him to pause, nonplussed by the sight of the boy who is keeping Jesse company. He comes on more slowly, nodding a greeting at Lars and setting the small dufflebag on the little dresser near Kellen's empty bed. "Grabbed some clothes for ya, Jesse. Thought ya might be tired of running around in slippers and jammie pants."


Jackie: As much as Jesse pleaded with the doctors, he wasn't allowed to watch the surgery, not even from behind one of those glass windows that they use for educational procedures. So he's forced back into Kellen's room, and is happily joined by Lars when they run into each other in the elevator; the older boy having gone to visit Duster and his lady, and their new child. The two are seated in two somewhat plush chairs, a table in between them, and they're playing a very rousing game of Go Fish. Jesse is entirely into it; Lars just looks amused that Jesse actually groans each time he has to go fish. Looking up, Jesse beams at Leech, and then goes back to his cards. "You kidding me? This is like, the most comfortable wardrobe ever." Across from him, Lars also nods at Leech, and then laughs, drawing a card when he doesn't have a matching pair. "Not more comfortable than wearing just the hospital gown, I'm sure.


Jackie: "


Jay: Leech gives a minute shrug for Jesse's words, leaving it to him to suit himself. Rather than occupy the very uncomfortable rocking chair in the corner of the room, the parasite hoists himself up to sit on the windowsill, tucking one foot under the thigh of the opposite leg. "One good thing about hospital gowns: real easy-access." Even knowing what is wrong with Kellen, and that the surgery is relatively easy, Leech hasn't been able to cease worrying since last night and, because of the worry, is even more dour and terse than usual. He glares out the window for a moment, like he blames the lightly falling snow for the entire predicament, before it occurs to him to ask: "When'd you get here, Lars? Nice'a you to come see the kid. I'm sure he'll appreciate it."


Jackie: Focusing back on the game, Lars figures out a few hands he can play, and then it gets handed over to Jesse, who is looking over his cards carefully. He might be a little stoned; the older boy had caught Jesse's anxiety within a minute of running into him, and coerced him into his car for a quick bowl. Lars, now rearranging his cards, chuckles a little. "Speaking of easy access - where's Tim? Thought he'd be coming along with ya." Jesse blames this kind of joke on Lars' past relationship with his best friend, so the other innuendo flies over his head. He just plays his round and then goes about eating the sour gummy worms they got from the small convenience store in the lobby of the hospital. Lars, grabbing a neon red worm, talks around it. "Ahh, two hours ago? Originally came here to visit Duster, and ran into Kellen about an hour ago. When is Kellen expected to return to the school?"


Jay: "Mmm. He stayed at school; missed too much lately, and he's got his first session with the counselor after classes." Leech manages to sound distant and disinterested when he answers this, as if Tim's whereabouts are of little concern to him. Honestly, it isn't hard right now: he was made aware of his boy being locked in one of those isolation rooms with Ness all night, and his jealousy was awakened by the circumstance enough that he left it to someone else to release them. Lars' next words make Leech look back to him sharply. "Duster's here?" He can't really be faulted for the tiny bit of hope that flares in his chest, thinking perhaps Duster is here because of someone else, who routinely gets himself pretty badly injured. But this train of thought doesn't show in his expression or tone, at all - except his unconscious ignoring of the latter question. "Is everything arrite with him?"


Jackie: Lars makes a noise that sounds like deep understanding for that, having caught up with Timothy over the phone after his initial appointment with the psychiatrist in Boston. He doesn't bother delving further into it, mostly because it seems kind of rude to do so without Timothy there to defend himself, but he can also tell that Leech is steeling himself. No doubt this is a topic to avoid around Jesse, who is very triumphantly putting all four of the 7's in a pile. He actually squirms in his seat, and munches on another gummy. "I wish Lint was here. He'd play rummy with me."

Lars rolls his eyes for that, since it's not his fault he wasn't taught how to play that game, and he instead flicks his gaze over to Leech and nods. "Oh...yeah dude, Maggie went into labor. He said he tried to call you, but it kept going to voicemail...figured you'd already been up there."


Jay: Oh, of course: the baby. Feeling idiotic for getting his hopes up, Leech stifles his disappointment and cocks his head to the side inquisitively. "Yeh? I've had my phone off, since we've been here." At this he digs it out of a pocket of his leather jacket, spotting the several missed calls from Duster - pointless to return them now. "Where are they at? Did she have the kid a'ready?" He glances to the door at the sound of a bed being wheeled along, but it merely goes past, not containing Kellen.


Jackie: Sitting back in his seat, Lars allows for his back to pop a few times, having been hunched over his cards for nearly a half an hour. When Jesse snags a neon blue worm, Lars instead grabs the boy's hand and redirects it to his own mouth, snapping the candy into his mouth before Jesse can protest. The younger boy looks way more offended than he should be, and immediately snags up the last blue worm. Lars grins that cheeky grin, but doesn't bother in looking back at Leech. "Yeah, she did. Early this morning. They're on the seventh floor - seven twenty four, maybe? Something like that. Not too far away from the elevator."


Jay: Giving no attention to the boys' playful activities, Leech continues watching the doorway and hums, debating whether he ought to go see Duster now, or wait until Kellen is returned. Before he can decide, the choice is made for him: The bed wheeling down the hall this time does contain his brother, currently still unconscious and hooked to an IV drip of some variety. Two orderlies bring him in and transfer Kellen to the other bed with the utmost care, while the nurse accompanying addresses the visitors in the room. "Everything went great, and he should be coming out of it anytime. The doctor wants to keep him overnight, just to be sure, but it's doubtful there will be any complications."

Leech only halfway listens to this, having promptly hopped off the windowsill and moved in on Kellen's bedside as soon as he was relocated there. He looks him over carefully, as if he could see any traces of the operation in his sleeping face, and nods distantly to the nurse.


Jackie: Jesse is only stirred away from his gummies and card game when Leech darts up, and immediately the younger boy looks at the door way, popping up like a prairie dog. He throws his cards on the table and scampers to his feet, but doesn't bother with getting in the way of Leech - know his rankings in the totem pole. He crowds to the other side of the bed, opposite of Leech, and looks over Kellen's face - he looks blissfully asleep - and asks the nurse if they can wake him up. She smiles, seeing the younger boy's worry, and shakes his head. "He'll wake up naturally. You can coax him out of it, but it may be best to let him come to on his own." Jesse, regretfully, resists the urge to tug on Kellen's wrist and call out his name, and instead looks over at Leech. "He looks a lot better." Meaning, mostly, that he doesn't look in pain - and perhaps has a little more color in his cheeks than he did late last night.


Jay: Jesse's assertion makes Leech smirk faintly, because really Kellen just looks passed out, but that he is at ease is obvious and Leech's shoulders relax some for having it verified from another source. "I hope that'll be the end of it." Not really trying to draw Kellen back to consciousness - and well aware that the kid sleeps like he's sedated in the usual way of things - Leech runs a hand through his messy hair affectionately before stepping back. "I'm gunna run up an' see Duster. If he wakes up, let him know there's some pajamas in the bag if he wants to change, an' I'll be right back."


Jackie: Staying near Kellen's bed, Jesse continues to scan his eyes over his form, although there isn't anything to see - no remnants of blood or visible stiches, since the wound has already been bandaged up. He nods at Leech and glances over towards the mentioned bag, looking like he's ready to stand guard over Kellen until the parasite returns. "Aye aye! We'll hold down the fort." By we, he means himself and Lars - which maybe isn't all that reassuring, because they're just two dudes eating gummy worms in a hospital room, but his determination is definitely applaudable.


Jay: Leech nods gravely, as befits one being deferred to, hiding his amusement for Jesse's manner. "Then I'll leave it in yer hands, Leiutenant." Kellen's successful surgery is such a relief that, even though he's not going to see Ruckus and instead is going to see a baby, Leech can't help feeling almost absurdly cheerful as he sets off.

Not very long after Leech leaves, Kellen starts to twitch a bit and shortly comes awake, blinking at the ceiling fuzzily until he recalls where he is. He only has to turn his head to spot Jesse, whose appearance occasions a sleepy sort of grin. "Heyyy, you. What's happenin?" He gropes towards Jesse with his right hand, but when he finds it constrained by the IV, uses his left hand instead.


Jackie: Jesse absolutely beams for the way he's addressed, and from the other corner Lars smiles - it's hard not to, when Jesse looks as pleased as he is. Instead of returning to the card table, the younger boy grabs his chair and drags it over towards Kellen's bed, curling up in it and having an easy conversation with Lars - who busies himself with a crossword puzzle - until Kellen wakes up. He doesn't catch his twitching, only realizes his room mate is awake when he begins to talk, and immediately Jesse turns to look over at Kellen, eyes wide and bright and an instant smile on his face. "Hey! You're awake!" Getting up from his seat quickly, Jesse grabs at that hand and squeezes it, and again scans his eyes over Kellen's form. "Are you achey? The doctor said the surgery went well. You're gonna have to stay the night, but that's only because of their rules or something. I didn't get the chance to ask for your appendix in a jar, yet, but next time the nurse comes around I'll ask. Leech is here, but he's upstairs - Duster's lady had their baby so Leech went to go check on him, but he said that there's a bag of clothes if you don't want to wear your hospital gown." Poor kid is talking a mile a minute.


Jay: "Ahhh...sorta?" Kellen squints an eye, trying to decide if he is, in fact, awake, but disregards the thought as Jesse continues. He blinks at him, waiting until he finally winds down before even trying to answer. "No, not achey...can' feel much at all. Maggie had the baby? What is it?" In his excessively drugged state, it takes a moment longer before he notices the other occupant of the room, but once he spots Lars Kellen gives another wide, sleepy grin. "'ey, tiger. What're you doin' here?"


Jackie: Jesse is all smiles, clearly beyond thrilled that Kellen is alive and awake, and he uses his spare hand to scratch at the boy's scalp, fingers tanging in his hair. "Yeah! I guess she went into labor this morning, umm..." He looks back at Lars, who is watching the two of them with very amused eyes - clearly seeing their affection for one another. He pipes in, cool as ever. "What, you think I'd miss out on the chance to see you in a hospital gown?" He arches an eyebrow, but doesn't wait for a response - just grins one of his Larsy grins and eats another worm. "She had a baby girl. Brixton."


Jay: Kellen slooowly tilts his head towards the scratching, only about a step away from purring at the attention, his eyes slitting down contentedly. Lars' words make his mouth twitch, maybe trying to hold back a grin, but he forbears offering to be seen out of the gown. "Have to show ya my scar, later. Brixton's a good name." And then, something belatedly penetrating, he turns his eyes back towards Jesse. "You said I gotta stay overnight here?"


Jackie: Lars can definitely tell when that grin is held back - is probably very used to seeing other people do that, just with the way that he is, and he winks for that mild suggestion. But rather than adding anything more to it, he returns t his crossword puzzle, scribbling in another answer while Jesse goes about scratching at Kellen's head. The youngest boy looks a little uncomfortable, like he doesn't want to be the one to answer, but he shifts on his feet and does so, anyways. "Oh...yeah. But only one more night. It's just like...protocol. You can eat all the ice cream you want, though."


Jay: Kellen's amused expression drops when Jesse answers, and he sighs, then - apparently thinking that one wasn't enough - he sighs again, drawn-out. "Ice cream is good, but I was kinda hoping fer whisky on my birthday." Inebriated as he is, the usually-subtle east-coast accent is become more obvious and the lazy diction makes him sound more like Leech than ever despite his higher-pitched voice. "Oh, well. Guess we can put it off."

Returning, Leech gives a little smile that is visible to any and everyone at seeing Kellen awake, and rounds the side of the bed that Jesse isn't occupying, hopping up to sit on the edge of the mattress. Kellen's own grin reappears in answer. "Ahhhh...daddy's home." Leech snorts, but can't make himself sound disapproving. "Careful, ya might get yerself in trouble calling me that." He pushes the hair off Kellen's forehead to lean over and plant a kiss on it, entirely ignoring Kellen's murmur of 'I hope so', because even if it is joking, it's not a subject to be continued in the presence of other people.


Jackie: Jesse rolls his lips, trying to think of something that will please Kellen beyond the aforementioned ice cream. But nothing comes to mind, so the boy instead just tries to an impeccable smile - one that doesn't look forced at all. "We'll just have to have a momentous extravaganza to make up for it. With all the Jameson you could ever want. Jameson and pot brownies." For this, Lars grunts - agreeing, and also confirming, having already bought enough pot to make a potent batch of brownies for such an occasion.

Looking up at Leech as he enters, Jesse beams at him, since he's so happy and all, and then parts away from the bed to give him plenty of room to adore his brother. Jesse returns to his gummy worms, and dangles another one out to eat and Lars, only half paying attention to his crossword, scratches at the boy's stomach.


Jay: Humming in a pleased way, Kellen seems to agree with Jesse's assessment, but doesn't say anything more of it right now. As Leech leans close, the younger boy strikes out with both arms more quickly than would have been guessed, given his groggy state, to lock them around Leech's back and draw him down. Leech doesn't resist this other than a noise of surprise, which turns to a laugh (yes, an actual laugh) once his face is pressed to Kellen's shoulder and Kellen is gnawing at his scalp.

Not intending to let Leech up, Kellen rests his chin on the crown of Leech's head to address himself to Jesse and Lars again. "Ferget pot brownies: I'd kill fer a cigarette, right now. Assholes won't even give me a nicotine patch, since I'm not old enough to smoke. You think they'd throw me out if I lit one up anyway?" He sounds hopeful, because being thrown out would be getting out of here sooner. He has no very strong objection to hospitals, but he'd much rather be at home - even if that home was his dorm room.


Jackie: Jesse swats at Lars' hand, because damnit that tickles, but he doesn't look annoyed - rather, he looks just as bright and happy as ever. It'd probably be very hard to get the boy to stop looking so pleased, because the past twelve hours have been long and kind of scary and a little bit lonely and he's so relieved that Kellen is all right.

Lars' eyes dart over to the boys on the bed, probably not used to hearing an actual laugh come from the parasite. It feels a little odd, being around him when Tim isn't near, but he knows better than to say anything more about it. Instead, he just grins over at Kellen, then looks at the door, and the large window off to the side. "Could probably mask it, if you're really fiending for one. Gotta ask Daddy first, though." Of course, he's referencing Leech, and then tips his chin to motion to the boy covering Kellen's form.


Jay: Surely, Leech is operating on the same debilitating relief that Jesse is, as he hadn't slept for a second the previous night or all of the day, but rather than being surly as this might usually make him, he's as near giddy as a Leech ever comes. Even when he wriggles his head free and turns it to look narrow-eyed at Lars, for the use of that term, there's something of a grin hanging around the corners of his mouth. "Et tu, Brute?" This interjection causes a lazy laugh from Kellen, because hearing his street-rat brother, who has difficulty with words over two syllables, quoting Shakespeare in dead languages, never fails to amuse.

Leech gives him a look to say that he knows perfectly well what Kellen's laughing at, but rolls onto his back, squirming into the small space unoccupied by the invalid. "Matter'a fact, I came prepared for that." He unearths from his pocket a small tube that looks like a cigarette, except for its not being crushed, and being comprised of a hard material. Kellen takes it dubiously and draws on the filter-looking end, exhaling a small quantity of steam after a second, and eying the contraption with even more bafflement.


Jackie: Lars meets Leech's narrow gaze with nothing but a shit eating grin, and even laughs for that response, shaking his head and looking down so as to not incriminate himself. Here, it's one of the few times he sees a side of Leech that is alluring - and maybe understands Tim's connection to the older boy just a little bit better. Not to say it does anything for Lars, himself, but he maybe doesn't have to wonder so much about what it is Tim sees in the dude, beyond the physical.

Jesse, still in his slippers, slides across the tiled floor like an ice skater, until he reaches the bag of clothing Leech had brought him. He plucks a few items out and is heading towards the connected bathroom, still in the ice skating fashion, until he catches site of that tube. He looks a little confused and instead twirls his way back over to the bed, leaning over the side of it to inspect the item curiously. "What is that?"


Jay: Leech watches with amusement as Kellen tries the fake cigarette a couple more times, looking no less dubious for the continued trials. Kellen rolls his head to the side, squinting an eye at Jesse and his slipping and his question. "Seems like low-tar crack fer underage robots." Turning the cylinder around, he offers the thing to Jesse for his inspection.

Now that Kellen's attention is diverted from trying to keep him captive, Leech sits up to slide off the bed. "I'm gunna go find a soda. You want anything, Kellen? I think they got snack machines too." Kellen nods enthusiastically (if still in slow-motion) for this offer. "Yeh, soda is good. And something to eat...something sweet mebbe."


Jackie: "That sounds horrible!" Taking the small tube, Jesse eyes it warily - especially after that brief description - and decisively does not take a hit from it, instead handing it back to Kellen and then slipping his way into that bathroom.

Watching Jesse's movements with a very definitive look of amusement, Lars shakes his head when the younger boy very dramatically falls once he reaches the bathroom; even his goofyness is undeniably adorable. Watching Leech slink out, Lars reaches into the bag'o'gummies and draws out a red worm, coated in sugar, and flicks it through the air to land on Kellen's tummy.

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