If you're still taking prompts. What if Neil gets a concussion and starts mixing up his languages? I love your writing!
(thank you so much! I had so much fun writing this honestly also HEY apparently language based confusion post head trauma like.. doesn’t happen lmao but lets suspend our disbelief y'all)
It’s USC’s new “problem player” who does it.
There’s a scrimmage for the ball in the last quarter, and Neil ends up bodychecked into plexiglass head-first. His helmet goes loose and bounces away before he hits the floor.
Neil’s 5’3” against the backliner’s 6’5” is like pitting an axe against the base of a tree. Neil’s legs quiver like wind through leaves, and then he’s cut down.
Andrew watches the whole thing unravel, the wind-up and the swing and the bounce. Neil topples onto his back with the brutality of a drop from a moving car, and he doesn’t get back up. There’s an awkward minute of shouting and buzzers and repetitive shrugging from the backliner. Andrew leaves goal just as Jeremy crosses the court to jab a finger in his teammate’s chest.
“We do not fight dirty like that! Jesus Christ Trent, If we’d taken that point from them the win would mean what?”
“Nothing,” the backliner replies glumly, eyes down. Andrew takes it as a prime opportunity to punch him across the jaw with his whole weight behind it.
The guy goes reeling, holding his face and looking down at Andrew with slack jawed disbelief — doubtless surprised to find someone half his size had just loosened a few teeth.
Andrew feels Kevin at his back, and Jeremy steadies Trent by the shoulder as he levels eyes at him. “Can’t we be civil for one game?”
Kevin shrugs, sickeningly sheepish. “You’re in fox territory.”
“How could I forget,” Jeremy says, eyes rolling. He says something else but Andrew’s already turning to find Neil, his unchecked injury like an oven left on - the niggling, panicking doubt of it.
Jean’s crouched at Neil’s side, speaking quietly and firmly with his eyebrows yanked together like pursestrings.
“Get away from him,” Andrew says, dizzy with anger. All the times Neil has defended Jean and the things he’d let Riko do surface and clash in Andrew’s head.
Jean looks up, unconcerned with Andrew’s warning. “Something is wrong.”
Andrew puts himself between Jean and Neil, stepping right where Jean’s hands are splayed out on the floor so that he recoils. He leans over Neil and watches his open eyes, the frost of confusion on them.
Neil finds him, like he’s squinting through smoke. “Je ne peux pas.”
Andrew grabs his shoulders, unamused. “Try again.”
“It was something else a minute ago. Something slavic?” Jean says. Andrew ignores him.
“Andrew,” Neil says urgently, eyes bloodshot and unfixed. “Je suis fatigué.”
“Don’t sleep,” Andrew warns. He pulls Neil to his chest and drags him upright by his armpits.
“Look, I’m sorry,” Trent calls from a few feet away, his team congregating behind him like disappointed parents.
“We’re benching him for the next couple of games,” Jeremy adds seriously. “You deserve better.”
“You touch what’s mine again and you lose a hand,” Andrew says airily.