“Stop moving,” Sam sighed, rubbing his forehead with one hand as he turned the steering wheel with the other, his eyes flashing to the passenger seat, “You’re gonna pull a muscle or something.”
“Don’t be stupid I’m fine,” Chris said, pressing his face against the window beside him, hands against the glass as he tried to looked as far out as he could, “Are we there yet? When are we gonna get there?”
“Man,” Sam sat back, “I never thought I’d see you excited to go to school.”
“Well I can’t remember it!” Chris whined, “It probably sucked like middle school did but I still wanna see! Besides you said Casey worked there now!”
“He and Cal both.”
“That’s so weird,” Chris sat back, “Did you ever think they’d be teachers?”
“Honestly? No. Casey I expected would do something like he’s doing, but Cal?” Sam shrugged, “Well, I’m not saying he’s a bad teacher, apparantly his students love him.”
“That’s nice to know,” Chris said as he leaned forward, pulling against the seat belt, and Sam sighed again, reaching over and pushing him back.
“Knock it off, if I had to stop one a dime you’d be tossed through the windshield.”
“Don’t be dumb, I’m wearing a seatbelt,” Chris stuck his tongue out, and Sam’s lips twitched up into the smallest smile.
Even so, it was the first time Chris had seen him smile, so he grinned and sat back. After weeks of physical therapy, Chris could stand on his own two feet, he could walk on his own, running was still questionable, but for the most part he was completely independant, which he enjoyed. It was weird being stuck in a house with so many people. He loved his mom, he loved his sister, he’d gotten used to Cameron, and Ben he was starting to get used to, but there were still a lot of people at that house.
It got to be so stressful he had to move in with Marin, Jack, and Sam, which wasn’t exactly a bad thing. He liked being close to Sam, and he really liked Jack. Everyday more and more of his memories were coming back, bits and pieces, like flashes from a dream. Mainly emotions. He was now completely certain that before he’d gone into his coma, he’d had a massive crush on Sam. He didn’t know if Sam knew or not, though he assumed not.
They were both guys after all, that was weird. Chris remembered parts of school, hearing odd phrases that were incredibly homophobic, so he was wary of saying anything for fear that Sam had been the one to utter them. Even with that fear he still loved being around Sam. He’d started talking more, taken more charge of Chris while he recovered, always helping him walk, making sure he was eating as much as he could, basically being a nag, but Chris didn’t really mind.
He could kind of understand how protective Sam was, considering he’d been in a three year coma. Whatever had put him there must have been bad for Sam to act the way he did. Besides, letting Sam dote seemed to make him a little happier, his face wasn’t as dark or haunted, so Chris just let him do what he wanted, even if it meant letting him carry him around like a princess. As embarassing as it was, it seemed to relax Sam, make him feel a little better, like he knew Chris was safe, so he dealt with it.
“You’re not aloud to carry me around like a doll today,” Chris said suddenly, and Sam arched an eyebrow.
“You heard me, Mr. White-Knight,” Chris teased, and Sam’s cheeks burned an amusing red, “We’re gonna be in public, and I don’t want them thinking I’m a cripple, so even if you wanna throw me over your shoulder, you’re not alloud to.”
Sam clutched the steering wheel, his face red, “That’s... I don’t do that.”
“Yea you do,” Chris reached over and poked Sam’s cheek, “When I’m too slow standing up you whip me off my feet and carry me away to the castle.”
Sam made a strangled noise in his throat, “You... really don’t know what you’re saying, Chris.”
“Course I do,” Chris sat back and leaned against the window, “Now where are we?”
Sam continued to clutch the steering wheel as he glued his eyes to the road. Chris really had no idea the impact of his words. Just the idea of throwing him over his shoulder and taking him to his bedroom was so appealing. Sam wanted to do just that, lock them both in his room and love him till he remembered everything, but there were dangers to doing that. It could backfire, and Chris could remember all the bad things instead of the good.
Already his memories were quite scattered. He’d started remembering bits and pieces, football, friends, school, family, but he was also remembering tiny pieces of the bad stuff, feeling hungry enough to be in pain, a hand hitting his skin... then there were the scars. Sam grit his teeth, his eyes moving to watch Chris a moment before returning to the front.
For a while Chris was fine, he didn’t care about the scar on his head, but then he started looking closely at his body. A week ago he’d stumbled into Sam’s room, panicking, asking what was wrong with him, pulling his shirt up and clawing at the scars there, the ones that read cunt. He didn’t remember where they’d come from, if he’d done it to himself or someone else had, but he was scared whenever he saw it. Sam had picked up some scar cream to try and ease his worry, but it hadn’t helped yet.
Up till that point Chris had been telling himself all the bad scary things he was remembering were from a bad dream, and Sam had been nodding agreement, but it was bad to let him think that. Even if Sam didn’t want Chris to remember, it was also a bad thing to let him continue to believe they’re all bad dreams. If he convinces himself of that, then what’s to stop him from thinking all of his memories are just a dream? How would he decipher fact from fiction?
Sam had decided with Marin that when the time came, if and when Chris started remembering those pieces and asking questions, Sam wouldn’t lie to him. He’d tell the truth and pray to god it didn’t ruin him.
“Hey, are you okay?” Sam blinked and sat straighter before looking over at Chris.
“Well... we’ve been parked for like... eight minutes, and you look like you’re going to cry,” Chris explained, and Sam looked around, shocked to see they were parked at the school.
“Oh... my bad,” he shut the enjine off and unbuckled, “I got stuck in my thoughts, I’m alright,” Chris hummed before shrugging and unbuckling, jumping out of the car and fast walking for the door with Sam running over behind him, “Hey, slow it down,” he ordered, reaching him and wrapping an arm around his back.
Chris just grumbled and folded his arms, but he let Sam usher him inside. Several eyes stopped to stare at him, looking so shocked they couldn’t move, and a few people dropped their books. Chris inched a bit closer to Sam as he offered shy smiles and waves.
“Why are they staring?”
“Beats me,” Sam muttered. When they got to Casey’s room, the door was locked, so Sam sighed, “Damn. Wait here, he’s probably with Cal.”
“Can’t I go with you?” Chris asked, and Sam just gave him a scolding look.
“I don’t want you walking around too much, it could overwork your legs. Wait here for me, I’ll be back in a little.”
“Alright, alright,” Chris held his hands up in defense, but the second Sam was around the corner, he turned on his heel and folded his hands behind his back, whistling as he strutted in the opposite direction, “Sorry, but you’d never let me explore alone,” he muttered with a shy smile.
He walked down several empty hallways, but the people he did see gaped at him, rubbing their eyes before stumbling and muttering about a ghost, which he found odd, but he brushed that off as he kept turning corner until he finally stopped, frowning. Like Sam had been worried about, Chris’ legs felt store and overused like jelly, and he currently had no idea where he was.
He threw his hands up with a growl, “How big is this damn school?!” he demanded before spinning around, his face smacking against a broad chest.
A high gasp fell from his mouth as he staggered backwards, falling, but a had quickly shot out to wrap around his wrist and catch him, pulling him straight before another hand settled on his shoulder to keep him standing upright, and Chris grumbled a little about how dumb it was to be clumsy before lifting his head to look at the one he’d run into.
He was rather tall, wearing jeans and a black hoodie over a blue t-shirt. A silver whistle hung around his neck, as well as a laminated employee badge, so Chris made a guess that he was probably the coach or the PE teacher. Looking higher, he caught sight of his face, his golden blonde hair and his wide eyes. His eyes were what made Chris confused. They were brown, like copper, filled with fear and complete shock.
He pulled his hands away from Chris sharply, like he had touched acid, and took a step away as he gaped down at him, “Sorry,” Chris apologized awkwardly, raising a hand to rub his head, “I didn’t see you there. That’s my bad.”
The man opened and closed his mouth like a fish several times before blinking furiously and raising a hand to rake his hair out of his face, “Ch-Chris?” his voice came out as a whisper, breaking at the end, and his brown eyes were shiny from tears as he stared down at Chris, who tilted his head to the side.
“Do I know you?”
The man’s mouth copied a fish again before he choked and made a strangled sound, slapping a hand over his mouth and clearing his throat before he could finally speak, “No, n-no, you don’t.”
Chris arched an eyebrow, “But you know my name.”
“I... no, I... guessed.”
“You guessed my name?” Chris scoffed, “Right, whatever man,” he pointed, “You work here, right? You’re the coach?”
The man lifted a hand and fumbled for the whistle, nodding, “Y-yes.”
“Great. Where am I?”
“You... don’t know?”
“I’m lost,” Chris shrugged and looked over his shoulder, “The guy I came here with told me not to move, but I wanted to look around so I ignored him and wandered off,” he looked back at the coach, shrugging, “Now I’m lost.”
The coach opened and closed his mouth again before clearing his throat, “Where are you supposed to be?”
“No clue, and my legs are tired,” Chris sighed and leaned back against the wall, “Lame.”
The coach was quiet a moment before pointing over his shoulder, “I could... take you to the caffeteria.”
“Food?” Chris pushed forward, “Awesome!” he grabbed the coach’s arm and started dragging him down the hall, “Hey, what’s your name anyway?” he asked, picking the little card up from where it hung at the coach’s neck, “Brad Richardson. Brad, huh? Kind of a generic name.”
Brad made another strangled noise, letting Chris drag him down the hall, his eyes wide. This had not been what he expected to come to work to. After swearing to Sam that he’d stay away... of course he was extatic to see Chris... alive... but... shit, Sam was probably there and if he saw Brad with Chris it would not be a pretty homicide. He knew he should probably pull away, but he didn’t want to end up pushing Chris to hard, so he just let him drag him down the hall, probably looking like a fish out of water as he staggered after him.
Chris looked so... different. Older, definitely, his hair was longer, there was more shape to his face, he looked really good for just waking up from a three year coma, but he was so... short and small... it made Brad’s chest hurt, like he was going to cry, but he fended the tears away and stoned his face to the way he usually kept it, emotions hidden. He’d help Chris to the cafeteria and back off, probably hide in his office and cry for a little.
That was his plan till he reached the cafeteria at least. It was completely empty besides the lunch ladies. When they saw Brad and, more importantly, Chris, they dropped what they were holding, eyes wide. Everyone at the school knew the story, students and teachers both, how Chris Mitchelle shot himself in front of Brad Richardson three years ago due to harsh harassment and bullying, so seeing Chris back from the dead chilling out with his main tormentor was a bit... startling.
The women happily gave Chris a full platter of food, much to his delight, shooting Brad glares as Chris dragged him over to one of the empty tables. He sat awkwardly across from Chris, who clapped his hands together, eyes that familiar brilliant blue, and dug into the food. Brad stared for a long time, hypnotized, before he started easing out of the seat.
“Where are you going?” Chris asked, and Brad tensed up.
“Aren’t you gonna show me around?”
“We-well I, um, I can’t.”
“I have to, uh... go.”
“And leave me in this maze? That’s helpful,” Chris flicked a pea at Brad, it hit his face, and he jumped, but didn’t reply, so Chris let out a hum and propped his elbow against the table, setting his chin in his hand, “Everyone is so odd here. They treat me like I’m a ghost or something.”
“You,” Brad stopped, like he decided talking was a bad idea, but continued when Chris looked at him, “Y-you were in a coma, so... for some of them...”
“How’d you know I was in a coma?” Chris asked, looking shocked, “Wait, I do know you, don’t I? I probably do,” he winced, “I’m sorry, I can’t... really remember much of anything.”
Brad shook his head, “That’s fine, I... y-you wouldn’t want to remember me anyway.”
“Hm, that’s your opinion,” Chris poked at the mashed potatoes on his tray, sighing, “I hate amnesia though. I get that my memories are probably really messed, but wouldn’t it be better than not knowing anything?”
“No,” Brad said seriously, and Chris glared at him.
“How would you know?” Brad looked away, biting his lip as Chris set his fork down and leaned back, rubbing his legs and grumbling, “Sucks. Sam is going to be pissed off that I wandered off.”
Brad winced again, “S-Sam is here?”
Chris looked up, “You know him?”
“Oh, you’re friends?”
“No,” Brad looked down, “We don’t get along.”
“It’s not important,” Brad shook his head, his eyes flashing to Chris before moving away.
“If you say so,” Chris sighed, “but you know him?” Brad nodded and Chris propped both elbows against the table, setting his chin in his hands, “I don’t get him... does...,” his eyes flashed to Brad, “Do you know if he has... uh, if he’s in a relationship?”
Brad looked confused at the question, “Yes.”
Chris winced and looked away, “Oh... right, of course he’d be in a relationship... not bad looking, and-.”
“Wait,” Brad held his hand up, “Are you saying you don’t remember him?”
Chris glared at Brad, “I don’t remember anything. I mean... bits and pieces, but that’s it, nothing substantial, and no one’s telling me anything. Why?”
“Chris he’s in a relationship with you,” Brad said numbly, looking confused and pointing at Chris, who looked startled, his cheeks getting red.
“You were dating when you went into your coma, and he’s been waiting for you this entire time,” Brad explained, “Damn, I can’t believe you wouldn’t remember him. Of all the things I expected you to remember, he was the first on the list.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” Chris held his hands out over the table, “You’re saying I’m dating Sam Novak? As in he’s my boyfriend? As in we’re together romantically?”
Brad nodded, “Well, you were when you went into your coma.”
“So,” Chris pointed at himself, “So these feelings... it’s not a silly crush? It’s normal because we’re already dating?”
Brad’s eyebrows furrowed, “I guess.”
“And no one told me?!” Chris held his hands up, “Well shit!” he covered his mouth with both hands, face burning, “Shit... holy shit... then it’s okay if I really, really, really like him?”
“You’re dating him, I think that means you’re supposed to really like him,” Brad said, “Otherwise there’s no point in dating him.”
“Wow,” Chris dropped his hands, “Then that means... I may not remember him, but I remember the feelings of dating him,” he clutched his chest, “I woke up with these intense feelings and I thought they were just from me crushing bad, but... it’s just me liking my boyfriend... seriously?” Brad shrugged, and Chris beamed at him, “I have to see him and tell him!”
“Wha-?” Brad shot up when Chris staggered to his feet and fell on his face, running around and grabbing his arms, heaving him back up.
Chris flailed, “I’m okay, I’m okay, this happens sometimes when I walk too much!” he said, laughing, “Lemme go, I gotta find Sam!”
“You’ll fall on your face again!”
“It’s okay I can make it!” Chris turned and grinned at Brad, who tensed up, “Thank you!”
Brad’s shoulders stooped, and he nodded, “Um... don’t mention my name to him, alright? Just... pretend you remembered on your own.”
“Sure,” Chris laughed and walked around the table, using it as a crutch until he could stand straight, “Oh, I hope I see you again later! Say what you will, I am possitive that I know you, and I’m pretty sure we were friends!”
Brad just shook his head, “Why think that?”
“Why else would you help me?” Chris laughed again at Brad’s expression, then turned and ran from the room, sliding across the hall and hitting the wall, yelling back an, “I’m good!” before starting to bolt down the hall.
He stumbled a lot, ran into walls, but he was smiling like an idiot. The only thing that stopped him was when someone else who was running down the halls rammed into him, grabbing his arms to keep both of them standing. Chris looked up, startled and pleased to see it was Sam, who looked livid and terrified.
“Chris, god damn it!” he shrilled, yanking him into a bone chrushing hug, lifting him off the ground, “Damn it... do you realize how scared I was? How dare you... how dare you run off like that.”
“S-Sam,” Chris wrapped his arms around Sam’s shoulders, burying his face against his neck, “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, but I wanted to look around, and...,” he pulled back and grabbed onto Sam’s face, molding their lips together before Sam could protest.
His arms tightened around Chris, falling into the kiss, one hand cupping the back of his head as his lips parted and his head tipped to the side. When they parted, he kept holding Chris, who had both hands in Sam’s hair, laughing.
“I remember you!” he said, tears in his eyes, “I remember my emotions, these feelings, the fact you’re my boyfriend! I remember it! I like you a lot and I’m dating you!”
Sam’s eyes were wide as saucers as Chris spoke, and tears suddenly filled his eyes, his lips quivering, “Chris... you...,” he buried his face against Chris’ neck, “Do you really remember me?” his voice was broken like a man who’d just about given up everything, and Chris threaded his fingers through his hair, kissing his neck.
“I remember enough, chéri,” he said softly, and Sam gave a whimpering noise as he held Chris even tighter.
“I love you... I love you so much Chris, I missed you so damn much.”
Chris shut his eyes and hid his face in Sam’s neck, his heart thundering in his chest as memories rushed through his head, making him clutch onto Sam. Beautiful memories that just sealed in stone the fact he was really dating Sam Novak, and that he was head over heels in love with him, and had been for a while.
“I’ve been in love with him since freshman year... I am not going to lose him.”
“Sam... do... do you love me?”
Just flashes, but they were enough.
“Want me to make breakfast, chéri?”
“What does that mean?”
“Ah, chéri you mean. It’s French, it means darling.”
Enough for him to know for sure that they were real.
“Would you be my boyfriend?”
And now that he remembered...
“I love you... I love you.”
“Je te aime, ma chéri.”
... he’d never let himself forget again.