Pairing: John Nolan/Jesse Lacey [straylight run/brand new]
Rating: R for themes
Disclaimer: not real.
Summary: John saved my life that day.
Author Notes: school shooting, just as a warning for anyone who doesn't want to read that.
Jesse sat down at the wood desk that occupied more space than it should in his tiny dorm room. He pulled his English Composition 110 folder from his grey backpack and slowly opened it.
It was the first day of classes and he already had an assignment. Who knew you actually had to do work in college?
He stared at the half sheet of paper in his hands with a scowl. He was a writer, a lyricist even. But there was nothing he hated more than having to write some bullshit assignment for someone else, who doesn't even know him.
He stared at the list of acceptable topics on the paper trying to figure out how he could possibly write 500 words on any of them. Then the last topic on the list caught his eye.
Tell me about the person you admire most and why.
Jesse opened up a new word document on his computer and, surprisingly, his mind was dictating his story faster than his fingers could type it.
The person I admire most. I guess before I tell you who it is, I should tell you why I admire them.
I admire this person because he is my hero. He saved my life.
Three weeks before I graduated High School I was living the good life. All my classmates had been accepted to the schools of their choice, or had a job lined up for them. We had enough credits to graduate, and the teachers gave up on giving us homework.
It all started in third period Calculus class. I don't think anyone has ever said math was their favorite class, but it was mine. I sat in the very back corner of the room with my best friend John. Most days we could pass notes under the table, or sleep without getting in trouble with Mrs. Dunken.
It had been one of the days I was sleeping soundly when a loud noise pulled me from my slumber. I sat up straight, wondering what the noise was when I heard it again. Gunshots. We heard screaming, and running in the hallways as our teacher instructed us to stay calm.
Our school had been re-wired with panic buttons that transmitted to the local police station after September 11th. Just in case. The school board had said. We were taught in drills to shut and lock the doors and wait it out. Well that's great in a drill, but not when 1000 students are screaming and freaking out. As soon as our teacher hit the panic button located on the PA system, she went to lock the door.
That's when I got my first look at the person doing this horrible thing to our school. He was a short kid with mousy brown hair. I think he was a year or two younger than myself. I learned later, from the news, that his name was Greg. I never really remember talking to the kid, or seeing him around.
He burst into the room and immediately made everyone get on the floor. I heard the sirens of many police cars way off in the distance, but they seemed too far away to help us.
He made Mrs. Dunken and all of the girls in the classroom leave. He then started pointed at some of the remaining boys and telling them to get out of the room as well. John and I remained huddled under our table, scared to death.
By the time he was done, there were only four of us left in the room. He pointed at John, and told him to "Get the fuck out if you want to live." John grabbed my hand and pulled me, sprinting, to the door.
John pushed me in front of him and I reached for the door handle when the gunman sent another shot off into the ceiling. I froze in place, looking out into the hallway at the scattering kids and teachers trying to escape.
"I didn't say he could leave!" He yelled, pointing the gun at me.
"Then I'll stay in his place." John shouted back. "Just let him go!"
John's left hand closed over mine on the doorknob and his right settled in the small of my back.
"Jesse, make sure Michelle gets out safe." John whispered in my ear. Then he flung the door open and pushed me into the hallway, slamming it closed as soon as I was out.
I watched through the small window in horror as the gunman smacked John upside the head with his rifle and kicked him as he lay on the ground.
I quickly remembered what John said to me, and went in search of his younger sister. I found her standing on a picnic table outside looking through the crowd of students for her brother. I grabbed her hand and pulled her off the table and onto one of the yellow school buses ushering students away from the school.
We drove for about ten minutes when we reached the local rec center. We got off the buses and were led into a large gymnasium where our parents could pick us up and take us home. My mother and I spent the rest of the day at the Nolan's with John and Michelle's parents, along with our friends Brian and Adam. I still couldn't believe this was happening.
About 5 p.m. my cell phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out and the screen read,
1 new text message. From: John
I was confused. I didn't think John ever took his phone into class with him. I opened up the message and it said,
Jess, I'm so scared. I love you.
I screamed, and broke down into tears. When everyone looked at me strangely I still couldn't speak. I handed my phone to Michelle.
"Oh my God!" She screamed, "It's from John, he's okay!"
Everyone started crying again, and I took my phone back sending a quick message to John.
I love you too. Come home soon.
That was the last I heard from John that night. The stand-off went on well into the next morning, and as each second passed we got more worried. The police wouldn't tell us anything, and they had pushed the media line back so far, we couldn't see much from the television anymore.
The chaos finally ended around noon that day. Apparently, he had run out of ammunition and decided he'd had enough fun. The gunman had surrendered to the police, but we still didn't know anything about John. The police told us he had been taken to the hospital, and we would have to go there to check on his condition.
John saved my life that day, I'm sure of it. He is who I admire most, because he put the people who he loved before himself that day.
Jesse finished typing and looked over his assignment. Maybe he didn't mind writing essay's so much after all.
Just then, he heard the familiar click of the lock on his dorm room being turn, and the door flew open.
"Can you believe this, I have homework already!" Jesse's roommate yelled, throwing his backpack on his bed.
"Yeah, I did too." Jesse said, getting up and walking over to the other boy.
Jesse took the boy into his arms and pressed his lips to a small, circular scar on his shoulder.
"I love you, Jesse." The boy said.
"I love you too, John."