After the Accident

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 06:30 pm
unstablekitten: (red)
[personal profile] unstablekitten
Title: After the Accident
Characters: Muck (an OC), Chloe (an OC)
Summary: After a hit and run where he is left for dead Muck learns there's more then physical therapy that he'll have to deal with. School is a whole new challenge and there's only one person who seems capable of treating him like nothing's changed.
Notes: Muck is 18 and Chloe is 16. Little bit of backstory that takes place when Muck is 17. This takes place after Glimpse Inside.
Rating: PG

The roar of people outside cheering rang in the seventeen year old's ears as Muck walked across the parking lot towards his truck. There was a smile on his face that he couldn't wipe off. They had made it into the playoffs for high school hockey teams. This was huge and everyone had a reason to celebrate. Rounding the corner of the school, as he had parked at the back, an engine roared towards him. All he saw was a pair of blinding lights and then everything went black.

It was over two weeks later before he stirred and when he did all Muck felt was pain. So much searing pain; everything hurt and he found he couldn't move as expected. A cast, he could feel one on his left arm and left leg. What he couldn't process though was why everything was black as a moonless night. No light anywhere. Not even from the machines he could hear in the room. A ball of fear settled into the pit of his stomach. There should be light, somewhere in the room. Why wasn't there? Attempting to sit up and finding hands instantly keeping him from doing so he was told to stay still and that the doctor would be in shortly. Seconds dragged on forever as he waited and tried to focus on anything, a voice, a noise, anything as he tried to see it. Nothing. It was all still black. What the doctor said when he arrived didn't mean much to Muck. He heard but didn't process it all. An accident, he knew that, extensive damage, internal bleeding and head trauma. The doctor hadn't anticipated the blindness though and ran several tests all coming back with less than positive news for the teen and his parents. There was no way of telling for certain if his sight would return or when. For now he was blind and the doctor suggested they all prepare for the very real possibility that he would be so permanently.

For a week afterwards Muck did little but yell at anyone who entered his hospital room. It wasn't fair. Everything had been taken from him in the blink of an eye. The promising hockey future; the chance of a scholarship to a good college, the very real possibility of playing professionally, it all went down the drain so fast it made his head swim. So it was natural he should grief for this loss, but after a week his mother had had enough and told him it was time to get down to the business of living again and not in the past or thinking about what could have been. It was a harsh slap in the face but not as unwarranted as others might have believed. There was no time for wallowing in self-pity not with the cost of hospital bills mounting and those of physical therapy still to come. Muck knew full well that his parents couldn't afford either and yet they took out a second mortgage on the farm to help cover the costs and Muck's mother went to work at the cafeteria in the high school he attended. If they could make the best of it so could he. He had to.

Over the next few months Muck worked like a dog in physical therapy regaining the full use of his arm and leg. The walking had proven harder, but then his leg and hip had taken a good brunt of the damage. Pins, plates and heaven only knew what else had been used to put the leg back together after the multiple breaks it had received and it hurt like nothing else to put his weight on it those first few times as he tried to steady himself between the bars to walk. There was stumbling, there were falls and a lot of tripping over things he didn't see. Through it all he pushed forward, making himself work hard and determined not to let his lack of sight somehow dictate his every move. At times he moved too quickly and this resulted in a stumble or even a fall. Muck would ignore it, pick himself back up and continue forward. At home it was easy; everything was in one place in the house and stayed there. It took only a week before he could navigate the house without so much as tripping over a rug by the front door. Outside forced him to slow his pace and take his time as nature had a way of throwing things at him. New growth that hadn't been there the year before or even a sapling that was planted last fall before his accident that he'd forgotten about.

Having missed so much of school Muck was unable to graduate with his class and would repeat his senior year. The only question was where? There were no schools he knew of for those with handicaps. Even if there were the now eighteen year old knew those would cost money and money was something his family simply didn't have. Mrs. Winburg though was relentless and petitioned the high school to allow Muck to attend. It took the summer for her to convince them to give it a try. It was something though. At least he knew the school or had once. Not having his sight to rely on he would have to memorize things as he had at home and learn where rooms were, how far apart they were and how far down the halls until he reached the stairs going up or down. It was a daunting thought to have to learn it all and to start over his senior year, now a year older. All without the friends he had grown up with. Sure he knew some of those who would be seniors now; those from the hockey team at any rate. But how often would he interact with them now? No hockey meant a much reduced social life. Not to mention Jade was out of his life as well. He hadn't foreseen the breakup when she'd announced she couldn't do this anymore over the summer. Yet it had come and blindsided him much like the vehicle that had run him over. Alone, completely for perhaps the first time in his life.

Come the first day of school though Muck needn't have worried. Almost instantly there was a hand on his arm for a second and the familiar scent of perfume filled his nose as Chloe walked alongside him up the steps to the high school. She didn't guide, didn't try to steer him around, she simply walked next to him prattling away and telling him of things he missed while away. She was like a breath of fresh air. While she didn't pretend he wasn't blind she didn't focus in on it and try to make him into something weaker than he was. Okay so maybe everyone else was gone but he still had her.

Once inside, before parting ways Chloe said, "By the way I like your sunglasses. They suit you."

"Well you know everyone cool wears them constantly."

A soft chuckle was his reward as she brushed past him saying, "See you later."

Each day brought new challenges. Teachers sometimes forgot he couldn't see and asked him to read out loud or to do a problem on the board. These things caused embarrassment on the teachers' parts and anger on Muck's. Try as he did not to let it get to him it did. Tests and quizzes were another matter entirely. The best solution they could find was to let him take those orally during the study hall he had each day. While not the best solution it was the only way they could find that worked.

Muck seemed to be settling in fine and most of the students seemed content to ignore him. They knew who he was and what he had done at the school; which still held a bit of respect among some of them. Others had tried to get a rise out of him or did their best to make a fool of him. Each time though someone would step in, often times a teacher and perhaps more surprisingly Chloe. There were jokes about her being his seeing eye dog and rumors flew around about what the two did outside of school together. Through it all Chloe brushed it off and did what she believed was right. Of course had Muck been able to see she knew he would have had more than a few choice words to say about her choice in clothes. Last year had begun with tight midriff baring tops and ripped jeans with heels, by the time the year had ended she had switched to short skirts with mesh and tube tops. This year was short, barely covered her, skirts with thigh high boots and shirts that were far too revealing. Last year had been hard on her too and the only thing that seemed to gain her any kind of attention was what she wore or in some cases didn't wear. Not that it got her any attention at home. It seemed things were still the same as always and with rumors going around last year some of her friends just simply stopped being her friends. Why or when the rumors had begun she couldn't say. Chloe just knew with each new rumor she was losing friends. Denying them or ignoring them did nothing so in the end she embraced them. If they were going to call her the school tramp she might as well dress the part. Shouldn't she? It wasn't like it was going to hurt her reputation any further anyway, so no harm. Not really at least none that she could see presently at any rate.

It was almost two months into the school year and while most things were frustrating there was one class Muck looked forward to each day, computer. It was one of the few classes he didn't require someone leaning over his shoulder and no one gave him any kind of special treatment in. Which was something he cherished, it was a glimpse back to a simpler time, a time when he was whole and himself. Today there was a substitute teacher, there had been comments made by others in the halls as he passed. So no surprise when he heard a couple of younger teenage girls in the class whispering about how dreamy their sub was and how they would love to have him teach them some new commands. There was no need to keep the eye roll inward as no one could see his brown eyes behind the dark shades he wore so he openly rolled his eyes at the girls and their comments.

"No sunglasses in class.", the crisp tenor voice stated.

No doubt the substitute who had said it but that didn't stop Muck from replying, "It doesn't matter if I leave them on." With one eyebrow raised he asked, "Weren't you told?"

It often felt like everyone knew. There had been an assembly that first day of school. One telling others to be polite and not stare if someone was different, to be kind if someone needed a helping hand. While they hadn't come out and said it was about him, only a complete idiot would have taken it any other way and Muck knew it. All of the teachers had been briefed and so far any subs had been as well. So the teen had no reason to believe differently about this one. Surely he knew the boy was blind. Why ask him to remove the sunglasses then?

The teacher's voice was firm as he said "I don't care what your regular teacher lets you do, I am the teacher today and there are no sunglasses allowed in this class."

Muck neither replied nor moved to take the glasses off. He sat quietly in his chair with arms crossed and the beginnings of a deep frown upon his face.

"Take them off.", the teacher ordered.

"I told you it doesn't matter if I leave them on." Muck replied his voice clearly annoyed.

"You'll do as your told while in my class mister. Now remove them."

When the teenager still made no move to take the glasses off the substitute strode over to where Muck was sitting. Without a word he reached out to grab the sunglasses. Unlike anyone else, if the teacher had reached to do so they would have moved, this one didn't and the man removed them for him. Chloe had walked into class at that exact moment. Between the surprise and anger on Muck's face and the smug expression on the sub's the girl didn't think just reacted.

"That was a dick move, Morgan." Chloe stated as she grabbed the sunglasses from his hand.

"Chloe." Mr. Morgan replied his face noting a warning as he eyed the outfit she was wearing with an almost appreciative look.

The teenager recalled this particular sub from last year and her feelings towards him hadn't changed, she still disliked him. Which was partly why she didn't tack a mister in front of his last name nor did she take him as seriously as he expected everyone to. Last year had been his first year teaching, even if it was as a substitute. The man was in his mid-twenties and seemed to believe the world was his oyster. Handing the glasses back to Muck she slipped into the chair beside him. The older teen put the glasses back on and gave the girl a lopsided smile of thanks.

"I said no sunglasses." Mr. Morgan stated his voice rising as a hand reached for the glasses again.

"Don't even, Morgan." Chloe warned moving so she was almost blocking the other teen.

Standing so he could move the girl Muck said louder then was needed, making sure the teacher heard, "This ass doesn't quit does he?"

"No, he doesn't." Chloe replied, "Morgan seems to get off on his little power trips."

Not missing a beat Muck added in, "You know there's always at least one power tool in every school."

"Detention, both of you." Mr. Morgan stated before making a point of looking directly at Chloe as he said, "I trust you still remember where the cleaning supplies are."

"And I trust you won't ogle my ass unlike last year."

Several of the boys in the room let out a chortle and attempted to cover it by coughing. Mr. Morgan said nothing as he returned to the front of the class. The hour seemed to drag by. When the bell finally rang everyone booked it out of there in record time, leaving Muck and Chloe alone with the sour faced Mr. Morgan.

"Chloe, I thought you were going to try harder this year?" Mr. Morgan said with a touch of disappointment in his voice, "Clearly you've made further poor choices. Like this friend of yours here who has no respect for authority."

"You haven't got a clue as to who he is do you?" Chloe challenged.

The older man shrugged. What did it matter who this one was? So many of the teenagers seemed to think they were above the rules and frequently tried to test him to see how much they could get away with. As far as Morgan was concerned this one was no different. Chloe crossed her arms and shook her head. How could he not know? He'd been a sub here shortly after the accident last year. It was the talk of the school for weeks after it happened. Only someone who walked around with their head buried in the sand wouldn't have a clue as to who the teenager sitting next to her was.

With an inclination of his head Morgan said, "So enlighten me then."

Standing up his back straight the teenager said, "I'm Muck Winburg. Now are we finished here or is there an actual detention?"

Morgan's face visibly turned red as everything clicked. Oh! Well that explained the sunglasses and why the boy had been so insistent that it didn't matter if he wore them or not. Well fuck.

Not willing to admit his mistake Mr. Morgan said, "I'll be back in an hour and I expect this room to be clean."

Soon as the teacher was out of sight and his footsteps could be heard retreating down the hall both teenagers stated in unison, "What an ass."

With a laugh they got to work cleaning and straightening up the computer room. An hour later Chloe had only just finished getting the manuals back on the shelf before Mr. Morgan returned. Muck had finished the cleaning a good fifteen minutes previously and had been completely helpless, which frustrated him to no end, as he sat by while Chloe had adjusted and readjusted the manuals so many times she was groaning each time another turned up that had to go before others. It had seemed every manual and book that belonged on the four shelf bookcase at the back of the class had been removed and left scattered around the room. Satisfied with the state of the room the teacher dismissed them with a warning to be more respectful in the future. Neither said a word as they left the room.

Having collected their things the two walked towards the wide double front doors of the school. Waiting patiently on a bench at the bottom of the stairs was Mrs. Winburg. Though the woman didn't approve of Chloe's attire she wasn't one to openly chastise the girl either. The older woman had noted how the girl's taste in clothes had grown progressively more proactive as the previous school year had progressed. Over the last year she had seen and heard much, especially about Chloe. The rumors though never quite rang true and she couldn't imagine the girl was capable of a quarter of what was said about her. A bid for attention that's what it had to be. Muck had told his mother once that the younger girl didn't have the most supportive of families. Putting two and two together Mrs. Winburg had quite naturally come to the conclusion that Chloe was starved for attention, any attention. Who knew maybe with the right person in her life she might return more to the girl she had been just a couple of short years ago. Besides she was good for Muck. Like any good mother, Mrs. Winburg, couldn't ignore how the girl brought a smile to her son's face or the fact that she had spent much of those first two weeks Muck had been in a coma at his bedside reading to him or just talking about anything that entered her head. Perhaps her son didn't know what a good friend he had and she wasn't going to tell him just yet; maybe Chloe would tell him herself one day. For now though the older woman was content to let whatever the teenagers' relationship be and let them sort things out for themselves.

Standing once the teens were at the bottom of the stairs Mrs. Winburg asked, "Are you ready to go home?"

"Yes, mom." Muck replied before apologizing, "I'm sorry for keeping you here late."

"From what I heard Mr. Morgan had it coming." Mrs. Winburg stated before adding in almost as an afterthought, "Although really you two should have known better. No more detentions. Clear?"

"Yes, mom."

Looking directly at Chloe the older woman asked, "Am I clear?"

"Yes, Mrs. Winburg."

"Good. Now let's go home."

Turning towards the car parked alongside the sidewalk Mrs. Winburg went around to the driver's side. Muck was at the passenger's door and Chloe stood close by. The older woman smiled at the two, which caused the girl to smile back. There was something about those smiles that always made Chloe smile. Maybe it was because they were given freely, like hugs in the Winburg home. There was a hug for any reason and for no reason at all. They seemed to be a very affectionate family, which was such a change from what the girl was used to.

"Aren't you coming, Chloe?" Mrs. Winburg asked as the teenager turned to walk down the sidewalk.

"Sorry, Mrs. Winburg, I have some things to do. I can't today. Maybe another time."

"So long as you're sure sweetie. Do you need a ride anywhere?"

"No, thank you."

"Hey." Muck called as the younger teen moved another step away, "See you tomorrow, cupcake."

With a chuckle Chloe said, "Later gator."

Giving a little wave Mrs. Winburg pulled the car away from the curb slowly and the teenager was left alone, watching two of the few people in her life who cared about her drive away. Instead of being filled with a sense of loss at being alone again she smiled. Even if they weren't there she still knew they cared about her, genuinely cared and that was a nice feeling to have. The heels of her boots rhythmically hit the cement as she walked towards home. Maybe it was empty like always but her heart wasn't.