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Five days. 

And then he was back to wandering the sensory overloading hallways of high school, desperate to get out. 

Gaige couldn't say he wasn't happy to be out of his prison cell of a hospital room. It genuinely was as if he was back in juvie, expect this time he didn't have outside block, and instead had a tube up his nose. 

He guessed right about no family visiting. Well, the only family that had wanted to visit was all the way down in Florida and had to be deterred by hours of phone calls by Gaige. And, of course, Paige and Neil made Gaige promise he would start eating better. It was an easy promise. If he could lie to their face, why couldn't Gaige lie over the phone?

Leon and Maddie called and facetimed too. But they were much more silent. They had been since Christmas break when Gaige broke the news that Maddie had been right years ago when she accused Gaige of having an eating disorder. Now Leon and Maddie seemed so much more careful around their third like they were scared to break a porcelain doll. But they also offered to drive up to Michigan to visit Gaige and his IV bags.

The only person that visited Gaige more than twice in the five days -with exception of the nurses of course- was Adonis. He brought Gaige books, homework, and his camera. Gaige never said it, never ever will, but it was a relief to have a break from soap operas and hospital gossip to see Adonis's sweaters and nervous smiles. 

But what Gaige would sing from the hilltops was how nice it was to finally get the fuck out of that goddamn hospital bed. Stepping back on a treadmill was like walking on a yellow brick road to visit the wizard. 

He also watched the Wizard of Oz in the hospital.

Although, nothing more disgusting than having a tube pulled out of your nose. Well, actually, being forced feed disgustingly obnoxious amounts of calories without the opportunity to work out was a close second. It left Gaige the only option of sneaking into the bathroom and throwing up. His throat never stopped hurting all five days he had liquids flooding his body. 

Gaige had thought, after five days of almost no human contact, he'd almost crave the hectic hallways of school. He'd been wrong. Very fucking wrong. His head was pounding, his fist and jaw were constantly clenched, and he swore to god he could punch a fucking locker if another person asked where he was for the past five days. He was supposed to be invisible, what was up with that? History with Penny was awful to put it lightly. 

He was on the opposite side of the school from where his class actually was in four minutes. All new faces he never saw this time of day, people avoiding his wide range of crutches as he hobbled through unfamiliar lockers, wasting time and energy. 

And then he hit the jackpot. 

Milton had carefully avoided Gaige, even though he rode in the same car to school earlier to school that day. Nervous looks didn't go unnoticed at dinner last night. 

Gaige pushed the hair off his eyebrows, checked both ways like he was crossing the street, and hopped up to his step-brother and his classmates.

"Hey," It's like they were seeing a ghost or something. Milton and his little crew of two or three nerds eyes widened and heads snapped up to Gaige. He shook off the strangely scared looks and focused on Milton, "Uh, you've got an off hour eighth, right? Let's bounce. Go home or -fuck, I don't know- the movies," Gaige ran a hand through his hair and shook his head so his hair all settled normally again, readjusting his the crutches under his arms. 

None of Milton's friends even bothered to give a verbal goodbye, slipping away silently from the awkward confrontation. Suddenly, it was Milton and Gaige, surrounded by chatter, hundreds of students, and years of strained brotherhood. 

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