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Peter's condition only worsened over the next few days.

Ned was constantly sending worried glances at Peter during his classes – or what he remembered of them, and as soon as Peter would get home, his phone would 'ding' non-stop with his best friend spamming him millions of texts about 'are you OK' and 'did you get home safely?' and 'do you want to watch Star Wars?'. Although, the Star Wars one was a pretty normal one.

Liz seemed a bit torn, though. It was like she was unsure of whether she should be worried about Peter, try to help him or avoid him completely, in fear that she would also catch his disease.

His condition was so bad that even Michelle Jones seemed to give a damn. In her own, strange and sarcastic way, but Ned would still tease her endlessly for actually proving she has feelings. Though, then again, she had only ever talked to Peter about how he was feeling once – all the other times she had just talked behind his back to Ned.

And it was with his two friends that he now sat.

". . . or we could play Mitosis?" Ned was saying, and Peter snapped back to present. God, he hated this. He hated being so distant all the time, and seeming rude and never listening and always feeling tired and . . . and . . . ugh!

"Peter, buddy, you good?" Ned asked, his face appearing a few inches away from Peter's. Peter jumped, and nodded hastily.

"Yeah, fine." Hell, that sounded rude. He closed his eyes in guilt.

"Yeah, what's been going on with you lately, Parker?" MJ asked, staring at him suspiciously.

Peter didn't answer, just glared at his shaking fingers angrily. Why were they shaking? He wasn't cold, or scared. He could feel MJ's cold stare and Ned's concerned one trained on his face. He couldn't look into their eyes, he couldn't tell them how he was feeling – mostly because he didn't know himself.

"You know, you can be an asshole sometimes, Parker." Michelle said simply, and Peter felt her gaze turn away. He now looked up, frowning.

"What do you mean?" He asked innocently. She scoffed.

"You know what I mean. There's obviously something wrong, but you won't tell us, and now you're causing poor baby Ned here to freak out, and from what I know about mental abuse, that's selfish." Just Ned? Peter found himself wondering. MJ was purposefully avoiding eye-contact with him, and Peter couldn't help but wonder why.

"Peter, I don't know what's happening right now, or how you're feeling, but remember you have friends – "

"Friend." MJ emphasized. "I don't have friends."

"– shut up, MJ. Peter, you can talk to us. You don't have to tell us everything, just let us in on what you're feeling." Ned said quietly, and Peter looked at him with a pained expression. He didn't know what to do. He didn't know how he would explain how he was feeling at all, and about his black-outs and constant fear and pain and confusion and dream-like state and – maybe he shouldn't tell them.

"I don't know what's happening to me." Peter found himself blurting out in a shaky voice. He saw out the corner of his eyes – that were still trained upon his wringing hands – Michelle's stiffened state slowly soften, and her shoulders sagged slightly. Both his friends were silent.

"I'm always tired. I can't seem to concentrate on anything. I have these . . . moments, where I can't remember anything I'd said or done. Like, nothing happened and all that happened was black. Like, time-jumps, I guess. And, not being able to see anything properly makes it all seem – I don't know – not real? I think I have sleep paralyses too, because I can never tell whether I'm awake, or in another one of those horrible nightmares. I don't even know if this is real . . . is this real? I don't – I can't . . . I don't wanna-!" Peter stuttered, feeling his breaths quicken, not knowing what to say and head being stuffed with cotton. He was scared, he didn't know what to do. He didn't want to be weak or scared or sick. He didn't like this. He didn't like this.

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