Tom- Sick at School
Thought it might be time for some more twin love! This time with Kal taking care of Tom who is taken ill at school. They are both 16 here, in their final year of GCSE’s.
“Wakey wakey asshole!!”
Tom awoke to the unpleasant sensation of Kal shrieking at him at full volume and launching himself at the lower bunk where Tom still slept, despite the fact that both twins were really now far too big for sharing bunk beds. It was anyone’s guess to why Kal was so cheerful this morning, although Tom suspected it had something to do with the fact that he simply wanted to annoy Tom. Nothing new there then.
In contrast, Tom felt quite the opposite. Whilst he was normally the happier twin, today it seemed a tremendous effort even just to open his eyes. Part of it could be put down to the rude awakening he had received, but the other part he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
Groaning, he slowly edged himself up until he was propped on his elbows behind him, and squinted at the bedside clock next to his bed, desperately hoping that this was some unearthly hour that Kal had unnecessarily woken him at, and he could still catch a couple hours more before they went to school. He felt like he hadn’t even slept.
It took him a moment to figure out why he couldn’t seem to make out the numbers on his alarm clock. This threw him for a moment and made him feel quite uneasy.
Glasses. Idiot. He face palmed himself in stupidity, before bitterly regretting it- great, turned out he apparently has a headache as well on top of everything else.
How the hell did he forget he needed glasses to see? And more importantly what the hell was up with him this morning??
Now able to see, he glanced over at the clock and cursed.
7.52. Shit. He had to be at the bus stop in 8 minutes! No wonder Kal had woken him up!
He didn’t even remember snoozing his alarm, or maybe it just didn’t go off at all. But whatever had happened, it was extremely unlike him to sleep in. He was usually up at half 6 prompt every morning in order to have time to have a shower, eat his breakfast, and get a bit of work done before school.
Well the work would have to wait. That wasn’t a big deal. And the mere thought of eating breakfast caused his stomach to turn inside him unpleasantly, so maybe he was better off avoiding the kitchen and all its food smells altogether. But the shower, on the other hand, sounded like bliss… What he’d give to have time for just a quick rinse. He was horribly hot and sweaty, feeling gross and damp, his skin stuck unpleasantly to the sheets. Ugh. He longed for the cooling, soothing water on his skin, more so then any other morning. But there was no time.
Scrambling out of bed, he hazardaphly threw on his school shirt and trousers, grabbed his socks, tie and blazer, rammed his feet in his shoes, snatched his satchel from his desk and ran out of the front door, half tripping on the step as he went, just in time to see Kal standing on the path outside their house as the bus arrived, looking back toward Tom in concern.
He’d made it. Barely. Now the mad rush was over, Tom half staggered toward the bus as Kal paid ahead of him. He felt such a mess, like he couldn’t even keep his feet planted securely on the ground. It wouldnt stop lurching underneath him, a sensation that only worsened when he stepped onto the bus as it drew away.
“What?-” He started, blinking blearily at the driver who had started driving without even a second glance. He hadn’t even paid-
“I paid for you, moron. We couldn’t keep him waiting all morning. You look like the risen dead, I very much doubt you’re up to counting up your bus fare.”
Tom collapsed into the first free seat on the lower deck. He usually sat upstairs, mostly to avoid Kal’s gang of loud mouthed asshat friends who sat at the back of the lower deck, chucking erasers and yelling expletives every few seconds. But not today. He just needed to sit down.
Surprisingly enough, Kal sat down next to him. Tom sighed in exasperation, resting his chin in his hand propped on the window sill. He pretend to become extremely absorbed in watching the houses whizz past. His eyes grew heavy, the whizzing houses messing with his equilibrium and making his head spin and his stomach sway alarmingly. He closed his eyes and leant his head on the window. The window was cool. He shifted so his forehead was pressed flat into the cold glass. Yes- that felt good.
“Dude. You still look half asleep.” Kal commented, raising an eyebrow. Tom cracked open a bleary eye and eyed him warily. “Bugger that, more like
90% asleep. Dude, what is wrong with you?”
Part of Tom was surprised. He’d been expecting to be tormented by his crazy twin, taking the piss because he’d got up so late. But it wasn’t mocking he could see clearly etched all over the almost identical face to his own that was peering at him, eyes narrowed. It was concern.
“Leave me alone…” Tom muttered, turning his face back to the cool, cool window. It was bliss, heavenly. The bus was hot. Way too hot. The AC must have broke or something. It was October. It shouldn’t be this hot in October, he thought wretchedly.
He was fast asleep when they came to James’ stop. James was a mutual friend of both twins, meaning he was actually more of Tom’s friend, but put up with Kal when necessary. He didn’t really mind Kal. Yes he was obnoxious and argumentative and down right rude sometimes, but he was fiercely loyal and actually pretty damn hilarious to be around sometimes.
James plonked himself down on the seat across the aisle from where Tom and Kal were sitting. He eyed Kal, and his sleeping twin next to him in concern. Kal caught his confused eye.
“Yeah. He’s been acting weird ever since he got up. Which was only about 10 minutes ago actually. He’s normally up hours before me. Don’t ask me what the hells going on with him, I don’t fucking know.”
James didn’t reply at first. He looked at Tom again, closer this time.
“He’s not even wearing his socks!”
“Bloody hell, what a mess… Hey Tom!…” Kal shook him roughly, causing Tom to jolt upright, his face pale and blotchy, his eyes half fused together with sleep. He squinted at Kal, looking like he’d give anything to be back at home, asleep in bed. He looked like he was in pain. Kal didn’t notice. James did. Not a lot got past James.
“Man! Put your socks on for fucks sake! What are you, a tramp?” He sniggered, but James frowned. Tom didn’t look well.
Tom sighed, a heavy, bone weary sigh, and leant down to pull his socks out of his bag and on his feet. Halfway through the second sock, he suddenly became unnervingly dizzy. His head was spinning horribly, probably from leaning forward for so long on a moving vehicle. All the blood was rushing to his head, he could hear it pounding in his ears, throbbing behind his eyes.
“Dude!” Kal exclaimed in horror as Tom fell forward and half toppled out of his seat. Kal grabbed at his twin around the chest and hauled him upright. Tom blinked behind his glasses, trying to get the world to focus properly.
“Jeeves, you’re really not yourself today are you?” Kal muttered. “Just how much sleep did you get last night?”
Words were too much effort. Tom just wanted to sleep. He couldn’t sleep at school, so he’d sleep now. He didn’t reply and instead let his head thwack back into the cold window. It hurt, but felt good at the same time. In actual fact, he’d slept all night, deeply too. He’d gone to bed at around 9 after he’d face planted the desk over a chemistry book, and had fell asleep before his head even hit the pillow. He allowed himself to slump back in his chair, and pulled his blazer over his lap like a blanket. It was cold now. Someone must have opened the window behind him. He shivered. He ached. His body felt like lead. But sleep felt soothing…
“Oi! Tom! We’re here!”
Once again, Tom was snapped awake but Kal shaking him. Fuck. He couldn’t believe he’d been asleep the whole half hour bus journey…
“Jeeze man, pull yourself together! You’ve got class in ten minutes!”
Tom hurriedly pulled his blazer on, grabbed his tie and his bag and stumbled off of the bus after his twin.
He had chemistry first. Kal wasn’t in his set, not exactly a great surprise since the last chemistry lesson they’d been in together, Kal had succeeded in not only setting himself alight, but his lab partner too, which happened to be Tom. He had since been confined to revising out of a textbook by himself in the library.
James however, having not set anything alight recently, or ever, and being almost as bright as Kal at chemistry, was in his class.
“Chemistry.” Kal confirmed, consulting his timetable. Unlike Tom, he’d never been able to memorise it. Or maybe he just couldn’t be arsed.
“Sure you can remember how to get there, or do you need me to take you?”
“I’m fine.” Tom muttered grumpily, the sarcasm starting to grate on his nerves.
“Are you sure? Cos it don’t seem like it in your current state. Seems like you don’t even know what planet you’re on…”
“I’m just tired. Now shove off…” Tom snapped back, pushing his twin slightly. However he might as well pushed himself. Kal stood steady as a rock, where’s Tom staggered backwards, off balance.
“Fuck. Whatever. Bye…” and at that, Tom lurched off. Kal looked after him, a scowl on his face. But not in hatred, in concern. Tom was swaying. He didn’t look like he’d be able to stay on his feet very long.
“Wait!” Kal screeched, running up beside him just as he was sure Tom was about to fall over. He didn’t. Instead he turned to look at Kal in surprise, and anger.
“I said I’m fine. I don’t need you mother-henning me! If it wasn’t for your snoring, maybe I’d sleep better!” It was a lie, and they both knew it.
“I don’t snore…” Kal said quietly, regarding Tom with a look of worry on his face. Something clearly wasn’t right.
“I need a new exercise book from Sir. I’ve got to come to the beginning of class to collect it.”
This was also a blatant lie. But Kal couldn’t deny the brotherly, twin thing- the need to look after Tom. He needed to keep an eye on him. He wasn’t sure that he was as ok as he was making out to be.
Kal watched as Tom went to his seat. James sat next to him in the seat where he himself used to sit, before he got himself kicked out.
Tom looked at James in surprise.
“Oh! I didn’t think you were here today! I didn’t see you on the bus this morning…” Tom rambled on, confused.
James laughed, but he was more concerned that amused. “I was there.” He said gently. “You just didn’t see me, you were asleep…Sorry I had to rush off, I had to hand a form to the office.”
“Oh jeeze…” Tom muttered, rubbing his face with his hands, seemingly trying to get a grip of himself. Was he dizzy again? James wondered, but bit his lip. He’d seen the way Tom had nearly fallen out of his seat on the bus, but he didn’t want to attack the poor boy with questions. He looked so tired.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t even see you…” Tom admitted sheepishly, bracing his forehead in his palms, elbows resting on the table so he was staring at the desk.
James couldn’t bite his tongue much longer.
“Dude, you ok?” He blurted out suddenly. Tom raised his head to look at him with red rimmed eyes, squinting painfully although he was indeed now wearing his glasses. “I mean, you look rough…”
Tom chuckled lightly. “Sure, I’m fine. Just didn’t get much sleep is all. That skunk kept me awake half the night…” He laughed, pointing at Kal who frowned and stuck his tongue out at him predictably enough.
“You know, maybe you should go home and get some rest man, you really do look bad.”
“Honestly I’m fine. Wouldn’t want to miss my favourite lesson anyway! Well, apart from music of course, but I have Kal to put up with in that!”
James sighed internally. Deep down, he thought that Tom really was just as stubborn as Kal.
As the lesson progressed, James noticed that Tom was very quiet. He was always studious and focussed, but today he was much, much quieter than usual. He didn’t join in with any of the class discussions, and as soon as their teacher left the room to collect some worksheets from the printer, Tom allowed his head to fall onto the wooden desk with a surprising thwonk.
James, who had been rummaging in his bag for his water bottle to sneak a few sips while their teacher was gone, looked up in shock at the loud hollow sound of Tom’s head on the desk. He assumed he’d fainted and immediately started causing a commotion, resulting in several faces turning their way.
“Wha-” Tom slurred, only able to half form his words. He really didn’t feel right. But he wasn’t going to admit it. He just wanted to be alone away from all the bright lights and loud noises of school.
“Are you ok?” James asked again, panic in his voice. His eyes were wide, and Tom felt bad at the attention he was drawing to himself. They didn’t need to be worried, he was fine…
“I’m ok… sorry…” Tom muttered, his eyelids drooping again. James looked on, his heart skipping a beat. Tom looked dreadful. There was no denying it anymore. He needed to go home. If this is what lack of sleep could do to someone, James was glad he didn’t have to share his room with Tom’s loud obnoxious twin. But James suspected this was more than just not enough sleep. Something really wasn’t right.
“Tom…” He started, putting a gentle hand on his friends shoulder. “I think you need to go home…”
“I’m fine.” Tom murmured hazily, not opening his eyes. James sighed and continued.
“So you keep saying. You look awful. You need to rest. Take the day off, it won’t make any difference to your grade. Everyone has to take sick days.”
“But I’m not sick!” Tom growled, raising his head from where it had drooped, and looking indignantly at James with slightly wild fever bright eyes.
The sudden movement caused his head to spin and he bit back a moan, screwing his eyes shut. James heard the small, miserable noise of discomfort and knew that he’d been right to suggest going home.
“Honestly, you really look dreadful. Stay for the rest of Chemistry if you must, but then please let me take you down to the nurses office at break.”
“You’re not my mother.” Tom scowled, and then went silent. He didn’t say anything else the whole lesson.
By the end of the lesson, Tom was certain there was something wrong with him. His stomach was writhing and twisting like a fish out of water, the painful cramps making him gasp before coughing slightly to try and hide it. Of course, the coughing only made James worry more, but Tom would rather have him think he had a slight cold, rather than have him realise about the dangerous battle Tom was having to keep his stomach where it belonged.
He needed to get out- that much was clear. The only question was how. James was bound to pounce on him and try and drag him to the nurse the second the lesson ended. Tom shivered. Even if he admitted defeat and let James take him, he knew he’d never make it. His stomach was clamouring and flipping. He felt unbearably nauseous, so much that every breath he took made him feel worse. He knew he was now at the point where he was fighting a loosing battle. He just had to get somewhere where he could be as horribly sick as he could feel he was going to be- in private.
An huge surge of sick, acidic air bubbled up his throat, and his cheeks bulged out slightly. He gagged lightly in the back of his throat, swallowing thickly and taking a big, shaky intake of breath in a futile attempt to settle his churning belly. It wasn’t working. He muffled another horrid, airy burp into his fist, glad that James was distracted by packing his bag as the lesson came to an end.
Suddenly certain he was about to loose it there and then, Tom sat very very still, frozen in his seat as all around him the room bustled with students leaving to go to break. No, not here, not now….he couldn’t…They’d all see him…
A shudder ran down Tom’s spine as his stomach clenched again, and he winced in pain, almost not able to hide it any longer. He could feel the small beads of sweat beginning to form on his forehead. Suddenly the room felt hot. So, so hot. Suffocating.
He needed out.
Taking a deep breath and swallowing as hard as he could, he rose shakily from the desk, trying not to bring attention to himself, or the way he was resting one hand over his sore tummy, the other gripping the desk to keep him upright. His head was buzzing, his whole body was on fire. He shoved his pencil case and his book in his bag, and left.
He didn’t care that James would probably find this odd. Didn’t care that it looked rude to leave his friend and not say goodbye. He knew he couldn’t have opened his mouth even if he had wanted to. He knew that what came out would certainly not have been words. He just needed to find a toilet. Fast.
Staggering down the corridor, the only thing he could focus on was just how terrible he was feeling. It was unbearable and he just wanted it to stop. Even more so, he just wanted to be alone. He couldn’t fathom how it had come to this so fast- from waking up late to stumbling down the lurching corridor in a desperate attempt to find somewhere to be sick in private. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe Kal and James were right to be worried.
He made it just in time. At some point he’d managed to take a wrong turn which took him to a small set of toilets which were down a barely used corridor, but in his hardly functioning brain, they were the only ones he could remember the way to. Or maybe it was because they were closer. Or away from all the people that kept giving him odd, questioning looks as he had to stop and lean against the wall for a second to keep control of himself. Whatever.
He crashed in through the stall door just in time to double over and retch into the toilet. He sighed shakily in relief, before an agonising cramp tore through his body and he lurched forward with another deep grating retch. He shuddered, before a gut wrenching heave caused a sudden thick torrent of hot, thick and chunky sick to spill out of him and splash into the toilet with surprising force. It took his breath away, and tears of exhaustion and pain sprung to his eyes, however he wasn’t done.
“Blleeugggghhhh” He was horribly, violently sick again and again, until he was a weak, shaking and shivering mess, clinging to the toilet, panting and groaning in pain. He shut his eyes and waited tensely for the next inevitable wave. He couldn’t understand how he could have been so sick, and yet still be so nauseous. Surely there couldn’t be anything left?
He was retching again as he heard footsteps enter the bathroom. He coughed to try to cover the sounds of the retching- the last thing he needed was to get interrupted- but the coughing led to gagging which led to him heaving up- very loudly- a thin watery trickle of sick that hung from his mouth as he gasped for breath and stared miserably into the toilet bowl, knowing he still wasn’t finished.
The next thing he knew, the roof had collapsed. Or maybe it was someone jumping over the partition from the adjacent stall into his own. That was a more likely scenario… but what? Why?
A hand on his back, rubbing his tense muscles soothingly. The person took a square of toilet paper and tenderly wiped the disgusting tendrils from his mouth as he heaved again.
A hand cupping his forehead. A noise of exasperation.
“Oh Tom… you poor thing, you’re in such a state. I had a feeling I’d find you here…”
“Yeah it’s me buddy. It’s alright, just bear with me for a second. When you’re feeling better we’ll have to find a way of getting you home and to bed. I knew something wasn’t right with you this morning…” James rambled on, before falling silent. The gentle rubbing on his back was gone and Tom wondered if James had gone too, if he’d scared him off. He fought back tears, although the pain he was in just made him want to cry harder. Every bone in his whole body felt bad, it hurt so much. He didn’t know how much longer he could-
“Tom? Oh Tom!…” Kal barged into the stall, in effect pushing James out. He dropped to his knees beside his poorly twin and wrapped an arm around him as the sick boy let out a strangled sob. He looked up at Kal with red eyes brimming with tears and cried as Kal held him close.
“I’m sorry…” he sobbed, and Kal could feel him quivering under his hand.
“Shh, it’s alright, you can’t help it. You did well just got make it this far at all… ” Kal soothed him, stroking his sweat drenched hair off of his forehead.
“He’s running one helluva fever…” James told him worriedly.
“God, yeah he’s roasting…you poor thing…” Kal murmured softly. “Can you grab some paper towels and wet them in the sink for him James?”
James obliged, all the while marvelling at just how caring and gentle Kal was being. He’d never seen this side of him before, but now Tom was ill and suffering, it was clear that Kal loved and cared about his twin very much. When he’d found Tom all alone collapsed over the toilet he knew the only person to call was his twin. However it turned out he needn’t have bothered. Remarkably enough, Kal was already on his way. A twin thing, James supposed.
“There… you’re alright…It’s ok…” Kal whispered as he lay the cool paper towels over the back of Tom’s neck. The sick boy’s stomach suddenly gave a horrible squeeze and he shot back over the toilet with another empty retch.
“Heuurrrkkkk! Heeeurrrrllggghhhh!” All the while he was being violently ill, Kal stayed with him, murmuring gentle encouragement in his ear.
“Just get it out, you’ll feel better soon…”
A particularly nasty retch had Tom almost head butting the toilet.
“Alright…woah…steady there, try to keep your liver inside you at least…” Kal joked gently. Tom gagged weakly again and Kal wrapped his arm around him and pulled him closer, knowing Tom must be well and truly empty by now.
“No… gonna be sick…” Tom moaned, but Kal just wiped his mouth and nose with a small piece of tissue.
Tom lurched out of the embrace with another heave. He spat bile and moaned, his hands over his tummy.
“Oh Tom… your tummy’s really sick, huh?” Kal consoled him, as he started crying again.
“It hurts- so bad…” He wrapped both arms around his stomach and held it protectively, groaning miserably.
“Oohhhhh…” He hung his head and moaned again, effectively curling in on himself.
Suddenly, the school nurse appeared, James right behind her.
“His name’s Tom…” James explained. “He’s really not very well…”
She could see that for herself. The poor boy was clutching his tummy in pain and moaning miserably. He seemed entirely oblivious to her presence, but she spoke softly to him anyway, as her and Kal took him one under each arm and slowly and carefully lifted him off of the floor.
He groaned again, and the lady tskked kindly.
“You poor dear, you’ve really got it bad haven’t you? There’s a lot of this nasty tummy bug going about at the moment…” She soothed him.
She held a emesis bin under his chin as he retched again halfway down the corridor to the nurses room, and rubbed his back firmly. Once he was safely curled up around his aching and cramping abdomen on a cot in the sickbay, she left to ring his mum to tell her to come and pick him up immediately.
Kal stroked his hair again as he whimpered softly, still in pain.
“Guessing we’ll be stopping off to get a hot water bottle and some pepto on the way home…” He smiled. “I’ll get you one of those magazines you like from the shop too, although I’m not sure you’ll be feeling up to reading it just yet… who knows, I might even read it to you. After all, I should of noticed you weren’t feeling well sooner. It’s my job as your twin to look after you.”
“Thanks…” Tom mumbled, smiling slightly still with his eyes closed. For now, he felt absolutely awful, but he knew he could always rely on his twin to look after him.