Hi folks! Just a quick note: Firstly I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who's reviewed this story. I'm really bad at giving feedback myself so I appreciate it even more when you make the effort to write feedback, so thank you very much. Apologises for not updating this sooner, I fell out of the MD muse and have got distracted by other pieces in other fandoms I got grabbed by, but there is more of this to come and although I won't be able to post anything more for a couple of weeks (I won't be near a PC except at work and that's dodgy) I will be using the time to work on more of this. Sorry its not much but here is the next instalment....

Acceptance Part 8

Adam was sat opposite Charlie in the ambulance, his eyes never leaving the other boy. "Please, Charlie," he whispered. He rubbed quickly at his eyes. The medic spared his a glance, his expression gentle.

Back at Eden Hall, Fulton and Portman had gone in search of Coach Orion. They burst into his office, interrupting a meeting with the Dean. Both men shot impatient and suprised looks at the two boys.

"Portman, Fulton?" Coach Orion's voice was raised, his expression surprised and indignant. "You knock before you come in." His tone left no room for doubt.

"Sorry Coach, but it's important," Fulton panted, out of breath.

"It's Charlie," Portman added, before Orion could ask.

"What's wrong?" Orion's heart fluttered somewhat, his mind skipping back to his conversation with Adam and Charlie a couple of weeks before.

"He's been stabbed," Fulton said.

"Oh good God," breathed Orion. He stood immediately, moving around his desk quickly.

"Coach?" The Dean stared at them.

"I need to get down there." Orion strode towards the door. "Contact Conway's mother, tell her to meet us down at..." he looked at Fulton and Portman.

"St James," Fulton filled in.

"St James hospital." He walked out quickly followed by the Bash brothers.


When Orion walked through the ER doors, it was a very quiet and very still Adam Banks that he found sitting in the waiting area.

"Banks?" Adams' head shot up, eyes rimmed in red. "Are you okay?"

Adam nodded. "They took him into an examination room. Nobody's been out yet." He gazed at the floor for a moment before looking up. "Does his Mom know?"

Looking down into eyes that appeared far too old and troubled in that moment than anyone that age should be.

Orion nodded before sitting next to him. "The Dean is contacting her." Fulton and Portman sat opposite, having persuaded the Coach to let them come.

"Have they said anything?" Orion asked.

Adam shook his head." Not yet. They just whisked him away." His eyes unconsciously flickered to the double doors he'd seen Charlie disappearing through.

"What happened?"

Fulton and Portman exchanged looks with each other and then Adam who was still gazing at the floor.

"We found him," Portman answered," well Connie did. Up by the playing field. He'd just been left there." He frowned, the idea of someone leaving Charlie there like that on his own, making anger rise through him. He felt a hand on his arm and looked to his side to see Fulton looking at him reassuringly. He nodded back, very briefly.

"Does this have anything to do with you and Charlie, Adam?"

Fulton and Portman looked up sharply, not knowing that Charlie and Adam had spoken to the Coach after the incident with the note. Adam just nodded miserably.

Orion let out a long silent breath. He'd dreaded this. It had been his worst nightmare. Something though, he hadn't really thought would happen. Could happen. Even over something like this. A sixteen year old boy in hospital with a stab wound, because he was in a relationship with another boy. He couldn't quite get his head around it.

"You know?" Fulton asked surprised.

"That Charlie and Adam are in a relationship, yes. I found one of the harassment notes they received in the locker room."

"Did you know the other stuff they've had happen?"

Orion frowned at Portman.

"Vandalism, graffiti; 'Faggot' painted on their door," Fulton pulled a face.

Orion hung his head before turning it slightly towards Adam. "I told you to tell me if anything else happened."

"I'm sorry." Adam's voice was quiet. "Charlie didn't want to make a deal of it." He snorted humourlessly.

"But you said your door. What did the Dean say. He never mentioned it to me." Orion frowned. He didn't like that something had happened to two of his players which he hadn't been told about.

"It was the day before yesterday. The Dean just told us to clean it off and tell the caretaker if the door needed redoing." Adams' voice sounded flat. Orion didn't say anything, but his expression spoke volumes.

At that moment Doctor came out and seeing Coach Orion sat by Adam, headed for them both.

"Are you Charlie's father?"

"No. I'm his hockey coach." Orion said standing up." His mother is on her way."

"Okay, I'll have to wait to speak in detail with her, but suffice to say, he's stable. The wound wasn't too deep luckily, so although he lost quite a bit of blood, there were no serious complications."

Orion gave a sigh of relief that was echoed by Fulton and Portman. Adam who had remained seated, said nothing. Orion looked down and saw the boy's whole body slump forward in silent relief. He rested a hand on Adam's shoulder, glad when the boy seemed to accept the comforting gesture.

"Can we see him?" Adam's voice was soft, a slight shake barely discernible.

The Doctor looked down, a friendly expression on his face. "Sure, just give a few minutes to get him settled in. He'll be going up to a ward for a few days observation, just to keep and eye on the stitches and make sure everything's okay."

Adam nodded, looking slightly dazed. Orion thanked the Doctor and they all settled back down on the chairs to wait.

It was just before they went up to see Charlie that his Mom arrived, out of breath and looked frantic.

"Charlie? Where's Charlie?" she asked, recognising the Ducks and moving away from the reception desk she had headed to. Worried eyes flickered from Adam's face to Coach Orion's. "I got a message from the school saying that Charlie's been injured. What's happened? Is he all right?"

"Mrs. Conway, please take a seat," Orion started in a calm voice. She sat tentatively. "Charlie was attacked at school today."

"Oh my God! How? Why?" Her eyes widened even more, looking first at Orion before flicking over to Fulton, Portman and then Adam. As they rested on the blond boy, his head bowed, fingers nervously twisting together, she knew exactly why Charlie had been attacked. Her face hardened slightly. "His relationship," she said quietly." Looking up at Orion again, "Can I see him?"

"Yes, the Doctors said they'd come and get us when Charlie was settled into a ward." Orion rested a hand on her shoulder as she stood up again. Just as he said that one of the nurses came around the corner.

"Are you waiting to see Charlie?"

At the many nods, she gestured with her hand. "This way. He's just a couple of floors up from here."
Adam stood by the side of Charlie's bed, not really knowing quite how he felt. Numb probably would have been a good description. Charlie's Mom had already been in to see him after talking to the Doctor about his injuries. He knew Charlie was awake, or had been, because he had spoken to his Mom, apparently reassuring her that he was fine.

He was so far from fine Adam nearly snorted with humourless laughter. Lying there on that large bed, looking almost as pale as the sheets he was lay on, Charlie was no where near fine. He couldn't see the bandage he knew was plastered around Charlie's side, as the covers were pulled right up to his chin almost, but he could see the small tube that ran underneath his nose, to make sure he got enough oxygen, at least for tonight the Doctor had said when asked. Another tube snaked into the back of his left hand that was attached to an IV.

Slowly he moved closer, quietly sitting in the chair next to the bed. Looking down at Charlie's pale hand resting on the covers he reached out shaking fingers to touch the smooth white skin. Sliding his fingers around Charlie's he took his hand in a loose grip, mindful of the IV tube. He gazed back at Charlie's face just in time to see his eyelids flicker slightly before opening sluggishly.

"Adam?" Charlie's voice was soft and hoarse.

"Hey, Charlie." Adam smiled, moving his other hand to brush an errand curl off his forehead. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I got hit by a tank." Charlie closed his eyes before opening them again. "I didn't get hit by a tank did I?"

Adam snorted softly. "No." He squeezed Charlie's hand gently. "You scared me. I thought you were dead," he whispered softly.

"I know. I'm sorry. Are you all right?" Brown eyes, still slightly glazed with the sedative in his system, gazed at him worriedly.

"I'm fine. Apart from slightly stressed with worry over you, I'm fine." Charlie looked at Adam's face and saw tears welling up in his eyes. "And don't apologise, this wasn't your fault."

Charlie smiled weakly. "Sorry," he mouthed. Adam caught the twinkle in his eyes though and smiled back.

"Get some rest," Adam said gently. "I'll be right here."

"I know," Charlie's eyes were already closing. "Love you," he whispered.

"Love you too." Adam watched as Charlie's breathing swiftly evened out.

From behind Adam, Mrs Conway stepped forward. She'd kept quiet not wanting to disturb them. But now seeing Charlie was asleep she moved forward, bringing another chair with her which she placed on the opposite side of Charlie's bed.

Adam jumped a mile when she came round the end of the bed. She smiled gently. "Sorry."

There was an awkward silence. "The Doctor says he can come home in a couple of days," she said quietly. "They just want to watch over him for a couple of nights, make sure there are no complications, keep an eye on the stitches." She brushed a strand of hair off Charlie's forehead. "Look Adam, I'm sorry about before," she took a small breath, "I was off-hand with you and rude and yes, I was worried frantic about Charlie, but that was no excuse." When they had been taken up to see Charlie she had all but ignored Adam and when she had acknowledged his presence had been curt and sharp. Looking back now, even to her she had been awful.

Adam looked at her worry in his expression. "I...It's okay, Mrs Conway. Please. I hadn't noticed really." He knew Charlie's Mom held Charlie's attack against him. But he knew it wasn't personal, not really. He was the boy her son was involved with. It was only natural she would be wary and in an instance such as this, both angry and upset.

"Adam, I'm upset. I'm worried. As much as I've accepted Charlie's choice here, it's difficult. He's young; you both are. I'm a mother; I might never truly accept this; for a long time at least. But I don't want you to think I don't like you, Adam, because I do. For all the people, boys, he could have become involved with, you are...." She broke off unable to continue.

Adam blinked the ever present moisture away from his eyes.

"You're a good boy Adam. So if I ever seem to blank you or act distant, please don't take it personally."

"Thank you, I won't, Mrs Conway."

"You're young, Adam, and he's still my boy." She brushed Charlie's cheek again as both of them settled back to wait with Charlie together in silence.