Rumble in the Infirmary
How many times in a span of twelve hours did someone have a near-death experience in this world? With an event like the ToKyotchi World Tournament and humans who had unique abilities, perhaps it was a fairly common occurrence. These were the sentiments Che kept repeating to himself as he struggled to regain consciousness, slipping in and out of reality as he felt his body being moved about.
“What were you thinking, using a move like that? What’s wrong with you?”
“Aw, I didn’t think it would be this potent! Besides, he’ll pull through. Why are you all worrying so much?”
“Get him out of here before I-“
“If the three of you can’t keep it down, then leave!”
Based on the voices, Che had a pretty good idea of where he was and who was in the room with him. No doubt Nurse Taffy was standing over him right this moment, grim satisfaction etched across her face now that she had a poisoned specimen to toil over. Nikki and Tyson were about to tear Lorenzo apart, and it sounded like Lorenzo had reverted back to his…normal self.
It was frightening how he could already make sense of it all.
Che eventually opened his eyes, squinting against the white light that flooded the infirmary. The room seemed oddly quiet, with only a few whispers and shuffling going on in the background.
“Oh, you’re already coming to,” Nurse Taffy had moved over towards the sink. She started back over towards him. “Welcome back, Mr. Rowan. How are you feeling?”
Che groaned and sat up in bed, grateful that the pain was already beginning to subside. He took a deep breath and slowly shook his head, feeling relieved yet embarrassed at the same time.
“I could use a good, three-day nap,” he said finally.
Nurse Taffy smiled and nodded in understanding. “Well, you’re lucky that it was just a mild poison. You’ll be on your feet in no time!”
“Heck yeah!” Tyson rushed forward and clapped Che on the shoulder. “That was a close one, bro! Twice in one day? You’ve got the worst luck!”
Che scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, I suppose so.”
“I can’t believe this!” Nikki shook her head. “I told you no more fainting today!”
Che chuckled weakly, a small smile tugging at his lips. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
Nurse Taffy stepped forward and handed him a glass of water. “Here, drink this. It should help.”
Che took the glass and gratefully sipped the cool liquid. It was strangely comforting, filling him with a sense of security he hadn’t felt in a while. He looked around the room and sighed heavily, feeling both embarrassed and grateful.
“Thanks,” he said to the room at large, “for getting me here.”
“OH ROWAN I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE OKAY!”
Lorenzo nearly flew across the room, wrapping Che in a hug before he could even process what was happening.
“Oh, why didn’t you find a way to avoid my Vicious Mist?” Lorenzo rubbed his face against Che’s, completely missing the fact that Che was trying to distance himself.
“Lorenzo, I’m still really dizzy.”
Lorenzo held him at arm’s length, looking him over carefully as though searching for any signs of damage.
“Get away from him.”
Everyone turned to face Tyson, who was glaring at Lorenzo with narrowed eyes.
“Why? I’m just making sure he’s alright,” Lorenzo said with a pout.
“Because you tried to hurt him on purpose,” Tyson took a step toward them both. “You knew exactly what that technique would do to him, you freak!”
Nurse Taffy held up her hands, her expression stern. “That’s enough, Mr. Tyson! I don’t believe Lorenzo meant to-“
“You don’t know him!” Tyson snapped, still glaring at Lorenzo. “You can’t trust him. He’s dangerous.”
“That’s not true!” Nikki stepped in front of Lorenzo and crossed her arms. “He helped us earlier when we got attacked!”
“I certainly did!” Lorenzo wagged his finger, still clutching Che’s arms protectively.
“You did it for yourself,” Tyson said, his voice low and dangerous. “Admit it. You don’t care about anyone else.”
“Oh, you’re just awful!” Lorenzo finally pulled away from Che and theatrically drew himself back in shock. “I don’t deserve this at all!”
“Enough!” Nurse Taffy clapped her hands, and the room fell silent. “If you can’t get yourselves under control, then leave! This is not the place for this!”
“What is all this commotion?”
All heads in the room turned as Professor Avis strode in, a heavy frown on his face.
“Oh, Professor Avis!” Nurse Taffy stood up quickly and bowed her head. “Please forgive us, we were just discussing Mr. Rowan’s condition. I hope you couldn’t hear us out in the hallway.”
Professor Avis shook her head, her expression relaxing somewhat. “I was already on my way here. All faculty received the report of what happened on the practice field today.”
Che felt another wave of embarrassment wash over him as Professor Avis’ gaze turned to him.
“Mr. Rowan,” she said slowly. “You appear to have had quite the eventful afternoon. I believe this is your second visit to the infirmary today?”
Che didn’t know how to answer, so he just nodded. The corner of Professor Avis’ mouth creeped up into a cold smirk. “Well, it appears you’re now well ahead of my lessons for the week. We were going to discuss Status Effects and Marks next, but it appears you already have firsthand experience thanks to Mr. Lorenzo.”
She shifted her gaze toward Lorenzo, who Che noticed was looking a bit sheepish for once. He didn’t think he’d ever figure that boy out.
“You won’t be so reckless next time, will you?” she phrased it as a question, but Che knew it was more of a warning.
“Of course not, Professor,” Lorenzo appeared stricken, though this time it was sincere. “I’ll be more careful.”
Professor Avis closed her eyes for a moment before nodding. “Very well then. Now, I couldn’t help but notice on the report that, when the incident occurred, no medical specialist was on-site. Miss Taffy, would you care to explain why?”
Nurse Taffy’s eyes widened at the question, and she seemed to struggle for an answer.
“Um, well,” she stammered.
“And, as the head nurse this year, does it not fall on you to ensure a medical professional is present at every match, whether it be Sparring class or an official match?”
“And do you acknowledge your failure to do so in this case?”
Nurse Taffy’s face paled. “Failed?”
Professor Avis stepped toward Nurse Taffy, who backed away nervously. “This would normally call for disciplinary action.”
The room fell deathly silent, and Che could almost feel the tension in the air. He glanced nervously around at everyone, especially Lorenzo, who seemed to be trying his best not to look guilty.
Finally, Professor Avis took a deep breath and sighed.
“However, I understand that no one can be expected to predict such an event. All of you,” she fixed her gaze on them, “will ensure it never happens again.”
With that, she turned and strode out of the room, leaving behind an uneasy silence.
Che sighed in relief. He hadn’t expected Professor Avis to be so lenient, but he was thankful nonetheless.
Nurse Taffy cleared her throat, her expression somber and her gaze downcast. “I apologize for my negligence. I will ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
She paused, her voice barely a whisper. “Please go back to your rooms. It’ll be curfew soon.”
The group slowly filed out of the room and into the hallway. Lorenzo started off on his own before turning back to face Che.
“Tomorrow then!” he said with a smile. Che heard Tyson mutter something he assumed was quite sinister under his breath before Lorenzo sauntered away, seemingly oblivious.
Che stretched out his arms and legs, relieved he’d made it out of the situation unscathed. He looked down at his hands and smiled, thankful for whatever luck had kept him safe today. Tomorrow, he was certain there would be more adventures in store.
“Can you please make sure he doesn’t, like, trip and break his skull on the way back to his dorm?” Nikki said, her voice heavy with worry.
Tyson, now seemingly aware of her presence and proximity, had once again turned beet red. “W-well yeah…I mean…we’re roommates and all that.”
“Good!” Nikki sighed. “You can make sure he doesn’t hurt himself INSIDE his dorm room either.”
“Oh, leave me alone!” Che groaned, though he couldn’t help but chuckle.
“O-of course!” Tyson stammered. “I always try to look out for him. It’s roommate code.”
“Roommate code?” Nikki asked, her expression curious.
Che nodded. “Roommate code. Just go with it. I think I’m about ready to head back anyway.”
“Oh, and Mr. Rowan?” Nurse Taffy peeked her head out of the infirmary. “Thank you for allowing me to use the poison in your system to create an antidote. I just knew you’d be able to help me out!”
Che smiled at Nurse Taffy’s words before turning to make his way down the hallway. “No problem.”