Oakleaf Academy For Boys (BxB)

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nineteen

Mr Cooper was lying unconscious on the floor, a trickle of blood spilling from the corner of his mouth. Lucky grinned, looking up at his Mum, “I can barely throw a punch and you can knock out a grown man with one hit?”

Lucky loved both his Mums equally and unconditionally, but the one stood beside him was a lot tougher. She preferred studded leather and piercings over her wife’s silky summer dresses and glowing smiles. Lucky liked to think he was a little bit of both. But they were besotted with each other nonetheless, despite their differences. Lucky had brought his Mama because he knew she’d be the best one for the job; and he was right, she knocked him out the second they barged through the door.

“Go get your friend, Fe. I’ll stay down here and make sure he doesn’t get up.”

Lucky nodded and bolted up the stairs in desperation. He pushed through every door he passed, until he reached the one at the very end of the hall. He took a deep, reluctant breath and turned the handle.

Benji was laying in bed, his eyes closed, his phone still clutched loosely in his hand. He would look almost peaceful if it weren’t for the bruises and cuts that tainted his pale skin and stained every inch of his body. Lucky fell to the floor beside the bed, gently nudging his only real friend. “C’mon, Pup, it’s me.” He whispered. “Wake up, Benji. We need to get you outta here.”

Nothing.

“Bollocks.” Lucky hissed, starting to shove him harder, “Wake the fuck up, Benji.” He said, his voice growing more and more alarmed. He placed two cold fingertips against Benji’s warm neck and felt for a pulse. “Oh god, what has he done to you, Pup?” He groaned. “Why didn’t you fucking listen to me?”

Benji was still breathing, his blood was still flowing, and the boy was still alive. But Lucky just couldn’t wake him up, no matter what. So, down to his last hope, he grabbed Benji’s backpack discarded on the floor and flung it onto his shoulders, before scooping the fragile boy up into his arms.

Benji wasn’t heavy in the slightest, but Lucky didn’t possess much strength, so struggled all the way down the stairs, his eyes fixed on his friend’s tranquil face, searching for any sign of life whatsoever. “He’s not waking up.” He murmured to his Mother, “Let’s get him in the car.”

She glanced at the boy sleeping in her son’s arms and bit her lip with concern. “Is he alright?”

“Yeah. I think he just passed out from the drugs. He might wake up on the way back.” He said, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible, trying not to worry his Mother.

She was staring at Benji, tears clouding her dark brown eyes, her lip caught between her teeth. As tough as she was, she was still a Mother and the sight of the helpless boy made her heart clench painfully.

That couldn’t been my Felix, she thought sadly. When they adopted him, his parents were neglecting and starving him. Thankfully, Lucky was too young to remember any of it, but the thoughts still scarred her to this day. And seeing her son’s friend looking so broken and defeated made her want to adopt him into her own family and save the poor love from any more torture.

Lucky carefully placed Benji into the back seat, strapped him in and fetched the blanket from the boot to wrap around his shoulders. His Mother watched with a pulsating heart as she called her wife, pushing down the unquenchable urge for a cigarette — she promised she wouldn’t do that anymore.

“This boy looks pretty rough, Rose.” She murmured into the phone, “Can you make him up a bed?”

“Oh, god, is he okay? Does he need a hospital? Did you end up calling the police—?”

“Woah, babe, steady on. He’s alright, I think he’ll be okay. I’m sure the psychological damage is a shit ton worse.”

“Harriet, you need to call the police! This guys has to go to prison, he can’t get away with hurting kids—!”

“Babe, it’s alright. Let’s focus on getting this kid back safely and we’ll talk to him about it when he’s ready. This creep’s out stone cold, he’s not going anywhere.”

“Wait, Harry, just—”

“We’ll see you in a couple of hours, ’kay? Alright, bye, love you.”

“Was that Mum?” Lucky questioned as he slipped into the passenger seat beside her.

“Yeah.” She sighed. “You ready?”

“Wait.” Lucky blurted out. “I’ve got something to tell you.”

She paused, her finger lingering over the keys sitting in the ignition. “Yeah? Can it wait?”

“I don’t wanna wait.”

“Make it quick.”

“I’m gay.”

She examined her nails nonchalantly, “Done?”

His cheeks flushed red, “There’s a boy. He’s called Sebastian.”

“What’s he doing at Oakleaf? He hasn’t killed anyone, has he? ’Cause I think I’d have to draw the line there.”

“No. He’s in for drugs.”

She shrugged, “As long as you don’t get into that stuff, that’s fine with me.” She shrugged, “You done now?”

“Yeah, I think so.” Lucky smiled softly to himself, nodding sheepishly.

“Great, we need to leave before the motorway gets too busy. We’re reaching rush hour.”

Lucky spared longing looks over his shoulder throughout the journey, glancing miserably at his friend in search of any signs of life. Benji could feel the motion of the vehicle beneath him, bouncing along uneven roads and brutal speed bumps. But his subconscious self didn’t want to wake up; if he did, he’d be subject to reality and he’d have no choice but to face the world and his unfortunate life.

Eventually, his eyes fluttered open, his lashes brushing along his cold, bruised skin. His head was pounding and he squeezed his eyes shut again, groaning in hazy pain.

“Pup?” Lucky swivelled around frantically, almost choking himself on his seatbelt.

Benji shuffled in his seat and tried to pry his heavy eyelids open, regaining a sense of his surroundings. And he was completely lost, “Wh-What’s happening?” He moaned, rubbing his eyes from exhaustion. His voice was husky and scratchy as if his drained energy had effected his speech.

“Do you remember calling me?” Lucky urged gently. “We went to pick you up and you were passed out. This is my Mum.”

“Harriet.” She supplied, peeking into her rear view mirror.

“Y-You need to pull over.” He clutched his head, feeling dizzier by the second.

“Benji, we’re not taking you back—”

“P-Please.” He whispered. “I’m gonna throw up.”

Harriet immediately swerved into the next lane, quickly twisting the steering wheel and pulling into the hard shoulder. Benji fumbled with his seatbelt and stumbled out of the car, his entire body still fuzzy and uncertain. He shakily clung onto the nearest tree for support, doubled over and emptied his stomach involuntarily.

“Stay here.” Lucky murmured, following Benji from the car and shutting the door behind him. The motorway was loud and obnoxious behind them, but grassy meadows and dying trees lined the side of the road, the jarring contrast marking life among the polluted world. “You okay?”

Benji panted and slid down the trunk of the tree, heaving as tears welled in his eyes. He pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them, shaking uncontrollably. “She ran away.” He whispered.

Lucky hesitantly sat beside him, his back to his Mother’s stationary car. “I’m sorry.”

“She left me alone with him.” Benji whimpered, his chin resting between his knees, his hair dipping into his icy blue eyes, cold but wide with fear.

“She’ll come back.” Lucky scooted closer and snaked an arm around his friend’s shoulders, pulling his body onto his.

“What if she doesn’t?” Benji uttered, his voice almost lost by the buzz of traffic. His head fell onto Lucky’s shoulder as his body shivered in the cold.

“Then you have me; you can stay with us. Every Christmas, every Easter, every summer, I don’t want you going back to him.”

Benji smiled as best he could, his face aching with the simple action, “Thank you.” He nuzzled further into Lucky’s side, reluctant to leave the warmth his body provided. “I’m happy for you and Steel.”

Lucky stiffened uncomfortably, “You heard that?”

“I don’t think I was fully unconscious.” He said softly. “It was like I was underwater but I couldn’t move. I didn’t mean to hear, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Lucky sighed. How could he possibly be angry at a time like this, especially when it wasn’t Benji’s fault?

“You should’ve told me.” He continued quietly. “But I understand why you didn’t. I just hope you two are happy together.”

“Thanks, Pup.” Lucky smiled, revealing shallow dimples and white teeth. “We should go.”

The pair trekked back to the car and took their places side by side in the back seat. Harriet twisted around to face them, wearing a comforting smile, “Everything okay?”

Benji nodded politely, “Y-Yeah. Thank you for everything. I don’t know how I can ever repay you.” He said sincerely. His words were still slurred and his body begged for sleep, but he fought it the best he could.

She just waved him off nonchalantly, “It’s no trouble, honestly.” She replied. “I’ve just been doing some research while you two were outside.” She continued, gesturing to her phone in her hand. “Apparently throwing up is pretty common. It might happen again, but mostly you’ll just be really sleepy for the next day or two.”

“We don’t have a spare room, so you can take my bed.” Lucky offered mindlessly. “I’ll sleep on the floor.”

Benji shook his head defiantly, but he had little strength to really fight for anything, “N-No, I can take the floor.” His last word was cut off by a yawn as he tugged the blanket back over his body.

Lucky just rolled his eyes, “Go to sleep, Benji. We’ll wake you when we arrive.”

So that’s what he did, falling into a deep slumber, his head resting on Lucky’s shoulder as the drugs still coursed through his system.

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